Wrongful death is a particular type of legal action in Illinois that is similar to personal injury, but damages are classified differently. The proceeds are not typically being provided for the estate of the deceased victim, but rather for the surviving family. There are specific rules that apply to wrongful death claims in Illinois when the family is granted standing to sue. It is important to understand that not all auto accident deaths are wrongful, and it takes solid evidence to even establish a wrongful death claim may exist. This restriction reduces the commonality of wrongful death accident claims except under certain conditions. Most wrongful death claims actually arise from truck accidents and drunk driving crashes.
Truck accidents are commonly complicated cases that are strongly defended for a variety of reasons. One of those is the fact that truckers are insured at a much higher liability level than standard personal vehicle owners and the employing shipping company could be liable as well. Details of the original accident case are crucial to establishing the potential for wrongful death just as in any other car accidents.
Drunk driving accidents
The fact that an opposing driver involved in an accident was drinking does not automatically establish grounds for a wrongful death action. The typical drunk driver who is possibly liable for a wrongful death action following a motor vehicle accident is when they register 0.08% BAC or above. However, reckless driving standards violations could provide the same liability because Illinois recognizes “wet” reckless driving at 0.05% BAC.
These are also not the only situations when wrongful death claims could arise following a car crash fatality. Willful intent to cause injury in an accident is rare, but it can justify a wrongful death claim. Additionally, driving at excessive speeds and wanton endangerment can also result in a wrongful death claim in certain situations.