Neuberger, Griggs, Sweet & Froehle, LLP

5 Facts Your Watertown Attorneys Want You to Know About Wrongful Death in Wisconsin

Losing a loved one is hard. Losing someone due to another person’s carelessness carries an extra burden. Surviving family members will have to deal with the financial difficulties and emotional anguish of their loved one’s death.

Let’s say someone close to you passed away as a result of someone else’s or a business’s negligence. You should consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in that situation. In Wisconsin, Watertown attorneys can assist you with a wrongful death lawsuit.

Even if the death was unintentional, the emotional turmoil is the same.

Money can’t bring back the person you’ve lost. However, a wrongful death claim could help address the financial setbacks caused by the incident.

Have you lost a loved one due to wrongful death? Check out these five facts you need to know about wrongful death lawsuits in Wisconsin.

1. Watertown Attorneys Can Explain Eligibility

In Wisconsin, family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members are defined as:

  • surviving spouse
  • domestic partner
  • child
  • guardian of the deceased
  • the estate’s personal representative

If the deceased had no lineal heirs (parents, grandparents, or grandchildren), the brothers and sisters of the deceased might be entitled to damages in a wrongful death lawsuit under Wisconsin Statute 895.04.

Beneficiaries of wrongful death lawsuits receive a wrongful death settlement based on their relationship with the deceased. The primary beneficiary is usually the surviving spouse or domestic partner. The deceased person’s children may be eligible for up to half of the financial compensation.

The order moves on to lineal heirs, followed by siblings, if no surviving spouse, domestic partner, or minor children are present.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the nature of the damages also determines who receives financial compensation. Compensation for the loss of consortium, also known as fellowship and intimacy, is one example.

Typically, it is only available to the surviving spouse, but a parent may also be eligible.

2. Are There Statutes of Limitations?

Within three years, wrongful death lawsuits in Wisconsin must be filed. If you file your claim with the state within three years of the death in question, it will be valid.

For wrongful deaths resulting from a motor vehicle accident, survivors only have two years to file a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful death lawsuits are not limited to vehicle accidents. The following entities can also become parties to a lawsuit:

  • Hospitals and medical professionals
  • Nursing homes
  • Manufacturers
  • Schools, daycares, and childcare workers

Other reasons for wrongful death can include assaults by animals, workplace accidents, railroad accidents, and more. Several situations apply.

Talk about the details with a wrongful death lawyer to see if you have a case due to someone’s carelessness or negligence.

3. How Much Can I Sue For?

Is there a limit on how much you can sue for wrongful death in Wisconsin?

The short answer is NO. You can file a Wisconsin wrongful death statutory claim as the decedent’s representative. In a wrongful death case, special damages are unlimited under Wisconsin law.

The amount is to recover financial losses caused by the negligent death.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, monetary damages may include reimbursement for:

  • funeral and burial expenses
  • medical bills
  • damages for social and companionship loss

Damages for the decedent’s loss of social interaction and companionship may be awarded to the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, or siblings. (As long as the siblings were minors at the time of the decedent’s death).

Damages for loss of society and companionship do have caps:

  • Maximum $500,000 per deceased minor
  • Maximum $350,000 per deceased adult

In a wrongful death claim, damages must include interest calculated from the victim’s death date.

In Wisconsin, wrongful death cases are not eligible for punitive damages. Punitive damages are amounts that go above and beyond the standard amount of compensation for pain and suffering to punish a defendant. In the courts of Wisconsin, such actions are against the law.

It’s a good idea to also ask your Watertown attorneys about survival action. A survival action is a lawsuit separate from a wrongful death case, as it is filed on behalf of the deceased person’s estate.

4. How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid?

The responsible party’s insurance company typically pays for wrongful death settlements. The at-fault party is personally liable for the settlement or jury award if the amount exceeds the insurance provider’s policy limit. Personal financial liability also includes those underinsured or uninsured.

Your chances of receiving compensation increase when the at-fault party has insurance. Otherwise, your wrongful death lawyer will need to seek remedies to recover damages from the private party. The action could include forfeiture of assets and wage garnishments.

5. What You Need to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Finding a seasoned wrongful death attorney is the first step. Hiring a wrongful death lawyer will allow you to concentrate on grieving. They can deal with all the legalities of filing the lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit involves additional steps after establishing a claim for wrongful death. You will need to file a summons. This summons is in addition to the initial complaint. It informs the defendant of the lawsuit and the legal grounds for the case.

There are basic elements you’ll need to provide.

  • eyewitness statements
  • police reports
  • photos/video from the accident
  • expert testimony
  • medical records

In addition, you’ll need to justify damages. Be prepared to offer the following:

  • medical bills
  • funeral expenses
  • employment records
  • financial statements
  • tax returns

The insurance company has the attorneys and resources to fight your claim. Whatever the attorney needs, be prepared to provide it.

Choose the Best Attorney for Your Lawsuit

Proving the value of your losses can be difficult, especially since the insurance company responsible for paying will pull out all the stops to limit or deny your claim.

It’s essential to have the best Watertown attorneys representing your case.

At Neuberger, Griggs, Sweet & Froehlet, we’ve represented clients for nearly 100 years. Our attorneys specialize in wrongful death lawsuits in Watertown and Lake Mills.

Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.


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