Many people know that an injured person has the right to bring a lawsuit against a driver who causes a crash. The ability of family members to bring a survival suit against someone who causes the deadly collision through a wrongful death action is also well known. However, fewer people may know about their rights to bring a civil action against another person after an incapacitating collision.
Crashes can leave someone with severe injuries that aren't deadly. In some cases, those injuries could result in permanent incapacitation. Many times, the victims of severe brain and head injuries can become unable to care for themselves or make legal decisions on their own behalf. They could also wind up in a coma.
In that scenario, their close family members or dependents need to familiarize themselves with their rights under Illinois law.
The courts will need to recognize the incapacitation for you to bring suit
Typically, under Illinois personal injury law, only the person who suffers the injuries has the legal right to bring an action against the responsible party. Family members and loved ones cannot take action on behalf of someone else who will not do so themselves.
However, in a situation with permanent or long-term incapacitation, the courts may appoint someone to make legal decisions on behalf of the victim. This is called a conservatorship. That appointed person may have the authority to make medical, financial and legal decisions. Those legal decisions could include whether or not to bring a civil lawsuit.
In the event that the individual who wound up incapacitated had taken the step of creating a durable power of attorney prior to their injury, the individual named in that document will have the legal authority to bring a lawsuit against the person who caused the crash. In other words, the victim themselves or the courts can appoint someone who has the right to seek compensation.
Documentation is key in cases involving incapacitated victims
You will need a lot of official documentation in order to bring a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of a loved one. First, the courts will need to acknowledge someone's incapacitation formally. Then, you will also need to demonstrate how the injuries and incapacitation of the individual relate directly to the actions of the responsible party.
Police records, traffic camera footage, witness testimony and medical documentation can all play important roles in a civil action against someone who caused a horrific collision that harmed your loved one. Because there are so many intricacies involved in the lawsuit filed on behalf of another person, it is probably in your best interest to sit down and talk with an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney before you take any action.