Positive Ruling for Plaintiffs’ Estates Filing Wrongful Death Suits in Illinois

Posted: April 6, 2016

Wrongful death is sadly one of the worst outcomes of an incident resulting from someone else’s negligence or intentional act. Any and all of the circumstances that apply to personal injury claims also apply to wrongful death if the incident results in the victim’s death; for example, they can arise from motor vehicle accidentsmedical malpracticeconstruction injuries, etc.

At MLG, we have handled hundreds of wrongful death and/or survival suits. Currently, our firm is working on a wrongful death and survival case involving a 47-year-old wife and mother of two children, who underwent a routine orthopedic procedure and died a month later from an infection of her knee, septicemia, and septic shock. We appointed her husband as the administrator of her estate and then made claims under the Illinois Survival Statute, 755 ILCS 5/27-6, and the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, 740 ILCS 180/1, et seq. The point of the Illinois Wrongful Death Act is to provide a claim under the law for the decedent’s family members, who were dependent upon the decedent’s services, and lost the decedent’s support, society, companionship, love and affection.

We currently handle several other wrongful death and survival cases, many of which stem from medical malpractice and/or nursing home abuse and neglect.

Interestingly enough, some plaintiffs end up surviving for quite some time after medical malpractice occurs, and their attorneys will file suit while they’re still alive. However, while the suit is pending, the plaintiff could pass away after the four-year statute of repose for his/her medical malpractice claim expires.

Recently, the Appellate Court recently ruled that the relation-back doctrine applied to wrongful-death claims filed after the statute of repose expires. This means that the plaintiff’s estate was allowed to add new wrongful-death claims to the timely filed medical malpractice suit the plaintiff filed while she was still alive. The court’s reasoned that the new claims related back to the facts in the original lawsuit.

“Defendants have not shown how they will be prejudiced by the allowance of Lawler’s (plaintiff’s) amended complaint, especially considering their attention was directed, within the statutory time prescribed to the facts that form the basis of the claims asserted against them,” Justice Mathias W. Delort wrote in the court’s opinion. So, this is a positive news for plaintiffs’ estates filing wrongful death suits.

If you feel that you or a loved one has a wrongful death case, it is important that you contact a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  Contact the Law Office of Martin L. Glink today at 847-394-4900.