In a recent case arising out of allegedly negligent medical care provided by the defendants, the court dismissed three wrongful death claims that were filed during the pendency of another wrongful death claim. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff had filed a medical malpractice claim against her father’s doctor in one lawsuit, against another doctor in a second lawsuit, and against a medical center in third and fourth lawsuits. All of the claims were based on the same event: the death of her father.
The court looked at an older case and explained that when two lawsuits involve the same parties and the same wrongful death claim, the court that first acquires jurisdiction retains jurisdiction over the case, and subsequent lawsuits are prohibited. The court explained that the first state court that has jurisdiction over a wrongful death claim then has exclusive jurisdiction over the case, and other subsequently filed claims should be dismissed. Thus, as long as a wrongful death claim is pending, other subsequently filed claims have “no effect.”
In this case, the plaintiff first filed a wrongful death claim for the alleged wrongful death of her father. After that claim was filed, she then filed three more wrongful death claims involving the same events. The court looked at the previously decided line of cases and determined that the subsequently filed cases were properly dismissed. The court explained the rule applied both in cases with multiple plaintiffs and in cases with multiple defendants. As a result, the subsequent cases were dismissed, and the only option the woman had to bring claims against the other defendants was try to amend her original complaint.
Wrongful Death Claims in Illinois
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to allow the surviving family members of the deceased person to recover compensation after the loss of a loved one. In Illinois, to establish a wrongful death claim under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, a plaintiff must show that the defendant committed a tort that proximately caused the decedent’s death and resulted in damages to the decedent’s spouse or next of kin.
A wrongful death claim in Illinois normally can be filed in the county of residence of any defendant or in the county where the tort occurred. However, in some circumstances, the case may be moved to another court that may be more convenient for the parties. Generally, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the death of the person on whom the lawsuit is based. However, there are a number of exceptions, and the statute of limitations may be shorter in many cases. For example, lawsuits brought against local public entities, such as counties, cities, or schools, must be brought within one year of the person’s death.
Contact a Chicago Lawyer for a Wrongful Death Claim
No amount of money can make up for the untimely death of a loved one. However, compensation can help a struggling family get back on its feet financially, particularly when they have lost someone who contributed wages or support. If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim, the Chicago wrongful death attorneys at Moll Law Group are available to help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us via our online form or call us at 312-462-1800 for a free consultation.
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Illinois Woman Fails to Show Store Was Negligent After She Falls on Rocks in Parking Lot, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2017.
Chrysler Hit with $40 Million Verdict Due to Exploding Gas Tank in Jeep Grand Cherokee, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 23, 2017.
Court Reinstates Case After Attorney Admits Fault in Failing to Pay Court Fees, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 14, 2016.