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Illinois May Change Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Illinois May Change Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Like every state, Illinois allows family members to pursue wrongful death lawsuits if their loved ones were killed by another person. The circumstances around that death may have been an accident, medical malpractice, or even criminal in nature. Regardless of how exactly the death occurred, the hard statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Illinois has long been two years. But now a case out of Carbondale may result in a change to the law that would allow wrongful death lawsuits to be filed for up to five years following the death of a loved one in certain circumstances.

The Illinois Legislature Considers “Molly’s Law”

House Bill 6083, also known as “Molly’s Law” is named after a young woman who was found dead of a gunshot wound in 2012 in the apartment of her former boyfriend, who was a police dispatcher in Carbondale at the time.

The death was originally ruled a suicide, but the woman’s family struggled for years to obtain information from the city under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act that would allow them to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. By the time they had the information that they needed to take their case to court, the two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death cases had passed and their case was dismissed. The family now lobbies for Molly’s Law in the hopes that other families in Illinois will not have to go through the same ordeal they did.

As originally introduced, Molly’s Law would have allowed families to pursue wrongful death actions for up to two years after the discovery of evidence indicating that a wrongful death may have occurred. After going through the House Committee, the bill was amended to allow families up to five years to file wrongful death actions in cases where a death is the result of “violent intentional conduct.” The bill also allows for a wrongful death action to be brought within one year of the disposition of criminal charges involving homicide or manslaughter. As it can often take law enforcement years to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding someone’s death, Molly’s Law should ensure that no family runs out of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Molly’s Law passed the Illinois House unanimously in April. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Wrongful Death Attorney Today

The death of a loved one is always difficult, and it is only harder if that death is the result of the negligent or reckless conduct of another. There may be criminal penalties imposed if someone is responsible for the death of your family member, but pursuing a civil lawsuit may be the correct cause of action as well. If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, contact Susan A. Marks at SAM Law Office, LLC today for a consultation.

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