If your loved one died unexpectedly because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may have the legal right to pursue justice on their behalf. Although no amount of money will ever replace your loved one, you have the legal right to hold someone accountable for actions that led to your family member’s death. You have suffered greatly as a result of their careless actions and may have remaining funeral costs, medical bills, or property damage with which to deal. Additionally, you have now lost a treasured family member, leading to a loss of consortium and other non-economic losses. Consider visiting with our legal team to help you through this difficult time and help you understand your legal rights. Our Milwaukee wrongful death lawyers at Ben Crump Law, PLLC handle cases for families that have lost loved ones because of the negligence of another. Speak with a team member today at (800) 593-3443.
Understanding Wrongful Death Cases
A wrongful death is one that is the result of the wrongful act, negligent act, or omission of another person or entity. Wrongful death cases are a way for the family of the loved one that died to receive compensation following the accident or injury. Examples of cases that may result in the need to file a wrongful death case can include medical malpractice, car accidents, slip and fall accidents, dog bite injuries, trucking accidents, or even murder. Every wrongful death case will have unique facts and circumstances, but the goal is to receive justice for the family member that died as well as help reimburse and compensate the surviving family members for their loss.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Milwaukee, call (800) 593-3443
Parties That Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
Under Wisconsin Statutes § 895.04, the following family members have a legal right to file a wrongful death claim with an insurance company or with a court of law on behalf of their loved one:
- Spouse or domestic partner
- Lineal heirs
- Guardian of the deceased
- Personal representative of the estate, if applicable
- Brother or sister (if none of the above exist, and no other lineal heirs exist).
The determination regarding which family members may have the right to receive the settlement distribution goes directly in order of their close relationship, and dependence upon the deceased. For example, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or child would have the primary ability to receive compensation in a wrongful death claim. If none of these parties exist, then the parent, lineal heirs, or others related to the deceased may have the legal right to pursue the settlement distribution.
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Statute of Limitations
In many cases, an insurance company may not provide a satisfactory settlement offer to the family members of a victim of negligence in a wrongful death claim. As a result, the family has the legal right to pursue justice through a lawsuit in a court of law in the state of Wisconsin. However, it is important to understand that according to Wisconsin Statute § 893.54, a family member only has three years following the death of their family member to file a claim in a court of law. There is one exception to this deadline, and that is that a victim’s family only has two years to file a wrongful death claim if their loved one died in a car accident.
Amount of Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases
Every wrongful death case will have specific facts that will determine exactly how much compensation a family may have the legal right to pursue. However, in most cases, a family member in a wrongful death case can attempt to receive reimbursement and compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of wages and financial contributions as a result of their loved one’s death
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of consortium.
Caps on Compensation in Wisconsin Wrongful Death Cases
Under Wisconsin law, there are no limits to the special damages that may be awarded in wrongful death cases. Special damages are the economic losses that a family member can easily quantify and count, such as medical expenses and lost wages. However, Wisconsin has a cap on other types of damages that are non-economic losses. The maximum amount of compensation for non-economic losses regarding the wrongful death of a minor is $500,000 and $350,000 for an adult.
Wrongful Death Cases and Punitive Damages
Wisconsin does not allow punitive damages in wrongful death cases. Punitive damages are compensation that intends to punish the negligent party for their egregious actions.
Comparative Negligence Law and Wrongful Death Cases
Additionally, if the deceased person had any kind of responsibility for the situation that led to his or her death, or behaved in a negligent way, the amount of compensation may decrease under Wisconsin’s comparative fault laws. A family should always attempt to receive compensation under a wrongful death claim, even if they suspect that their deceased loved one may have contributed to their own death in an accident. Find out more about how much compensation you may have the legal right to pursue by contacting a Milwaukee wrongful death lawyer team member at Ben Crump Law, PLLC.
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How a Milwaukee Wrongful Death Lawyer Helps Families
If your loved one died as a result of someone else’s careless or negligent actions, or from the failure or omission of an action (such as in a medical malpractice case), you may have the legal right as a family member to pursue justice and receive compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. Filing claims with insurance companies following a wrongful death can prove challenging and complicated. Speaking with a member of our Milwaukee wrongful death lawyer team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 593-3443 can help you better understand what your legal options are, and how best to ensure you receive justice.