Wrongful death lawsuits in Illinois typically arise when family members bring a case against someone who caused the death of their loved one through negligence or misconduct. Common causes for wrongful death claims are medical malpractice, car accidents, product liability and nursing home abuse.
If you file a wrongful death lawsuit in DuPage County, your case will generally always be heard at the DuPage County Judicial Center, located at 505 N. County Farm Road, in Wheaton, Illinois. Wrongful death cases are filed in DuPage County when the negligence that led to the harm took place there or if a defendant that caused the death is based there (typically a corporation). Often attorneys will look to get a case out of this county as western suburb juries are known for being very conservative and favorable to defendants.
Lawsuits require a number of proceedings in court before there is a resolution. First, both sides meet for case management conferences, where the parties update the court on how the case is going. Next there will likely be pre-trial hearings where each side lays the “ground rules” for trial. Many cases will reach a settlement around this time, meaning that the parties will decide on a monetary amount that satisfies both sides and then alert the judge by scheduling a settlement conference. If there is no settlement, the case proceeds to trial. All of these conferences, hearings and trial should occur at the DuPage County Judicial Center. You are welcome to attend all of the proceedings, however, most people do not attend the hearings and are only present when it is required – for instance, during a settlement conference or trial. The rest of the time, your lawyer can attend on your behalf.
It is important to speak to a lawyer in a timely manner to consider your options in a wrongful death suit because there is a limited period during which you may bring a claim. Generally you have two years from the date of the accident or death to file a lawsuit. Sometimes this period is reduced if you are suing certain government entities like the police department or public hospital.
All of the DuPage County lawyers we work with work on a contingency fee basis. This means the lawyer will not charge any fee unless he or she wins or settles your case. How much the attorney is paid at the end depends on the amount that you recover and the fee agreement you form with the attorney. Be sure to get the fee arrangement laid out in writing before the lawyer begins working on your case.
It is also crucial to find a lawyer that has experience and a successful track record with your type of wrongful death situation. For instance, an attorney experienced with wrongful death due to doctor error during surgery, will most likely not be the right person to take a case against a large corporation whose defective product caused a death.