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Statutes of Limitations in Illinois Wrongful Death Cases

When a death occurs as a result of the negligence of another, any potential cause of action will be governed by an applicable statute of limitations. In this article, we will explore select issues concerning the application of a statute of limitations to wrongful death actions in Illinois. The wrongful death lawyers at Morici Figlioli & Associates spend a substantial amount of their time analyzing the applicable statute of limitations applicable to each individual case.

Calculating the applicable statute of limitations in a wrongful death case is more complex than in situations where the lawsuit is brought pursuit to general negligence. Not only is it necessary to analyze the limitations from the date of the injury and death, but consideration must also be given to the agreed family members and next of kin.

740 ILCS 189/2 is the Illinois statute that governs the limitations periods applicable to wrongful death lawsuits. James J. Morici, Jr., managing partner of the firm stated, “Computing the applicable limitations in a wrongful death matter goes beyond simply looking at the date of death, it requires an analysis of the potential beneficiaries of the litigation, the next of kin and those dependent upon the decedent and the ages of each.” Generally, the statute provides for a two-year limitation. This can be extended, however, in certain circumstances. For instance, where the death is caused as a result of medical negligence, it may take some time for the nexus between the negligent care and the death to be discovered. This can result in an extension of the limitations.

Illinois has rightly, through decisions of our Appellate and Supreme Courts, extended recovery under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act to siblings of the decedent. In situations where those siblings are minors at the time of the death, the time in which to bring a suit may be extended to a period of up to two years after the minor sibling turns 18 years of age. Our Supreme Court notes as much in Wilbon v. D. F. Best Co. 73 Ill. 2d 58 (1978).

If you have lost a spouse, parent, sibling, or child as a result of the negligence of another in a motor vehicle collision, on a construction site, from a dangerous product, or other accident, call the injury lawyers at Morici, Longo & Associates at (312) 779-0366 for a free consultation.