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Illinois Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

doctor holding a stethoscope with words wrongful death printed

The Illinois wrongful death statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. Exceptions may apply, however. Your best defense against missing a deadline is to talk to an experienced wrongful death attorney. They can help you understand the deadlines that apply to your case and whether you have a valid claim.

When a loved one dies, a wrongful death lawsuit may be the last thing on a person’s mind. The surviving family members are more likely dealing with the emotional aftermath of the death. But while dealing with the grieving process is of critical importance, surviving family members should consider whether to take legal action sooner rather than later. Like any personal injury claim, there are strict time limitations – or statutes of limitation – on when a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. The statute of limitations varies depending on the underlying cause of action and applicable state law. 

How to Comply with the Illinois Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

To comply with the Illinois wrongful death statute of limitations, you need to bring your wrongful death legal claim within a certain amount of time. In most cases, the deadline for you to bring the case is within two years of your loved one’s death. Exceptions apply, and the best way to determine the deadline that applies to your situation is speaking with an attorney. Contacting a skilled Chicago wrongful death lawyer early on can also help you preserve evidence and meet the statutory deadline.

The Illinois wrongful death attorneys at Ankin Law can help protect your legal rights and ensure that you obtain full and fair financial recovery. 

Common Sources of Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful death lawsuits can arise in many situations, including:

  • Medical errors
  • Car accidents
  • Trucking accidents
  • Airplane accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances
  • Birth injuries

What Do You Need to Prove to Win Your Wrongful Death Case?

What is a wrongful death lawsuit? It’s a way for surviving family members to pursue justice, potentially receiving compensation for their losses and hold the responsible party accountable.

To bring a successful wrongful death cause of action, the plaintiff must prove that:

  • A loved one died,
  • Another’s negligence caused your loved one’s death,
  • The plaintiff suffered a loss as a result of the death, and
  • Illinois law entitles the plaintiff to sue.

Seeking the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney greatly increases your chance of winning your wrongful death case. A wrongful death lawyer can help you gather evidence, research the applicable law, and file the lawsuit or claim on your behalf. They can also help you comply with the Illinois wrongful death statute of limitations.

Compensation You May Receive in a Wrongful Death Action

If you bring your claim within the wrongful death statute of limitations, Illinois law may entitle you to compensation. No amount of money can bring back a loved one. But a wrongful death lawsuit can help to alleviate the financial burdens that follow an untimely death and to hold the responsible party accountable for his or her actions.

If a plaintiff is successful in a wrongful death action, he or she may be eligible to receive compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of future income and benefits
  • Loss of future inheritance
  • Loss of parental guidance (if decedent has minor children)
  • Loss of spousal companionship, protection, and care
  • Grief, sorrow and mental suffering of surviving spouse and next of kin
  • Pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death
  • Punitive damages (if defendant’s actions were intentional)

Plaintiffs may receive this compensation from trial verdicts following litigation or through wrongful death settlements outside of court.


The Chicago wrongful death attorneys at Ankin Law have considerable skill and legal knowledge to advise you through this difficult and confusing time.  If you have lost a loved one due to negligent or intentional misconduct, contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate Chicago wrongful death lawyers.

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