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Wisconsin Wrongful Death Lawyer

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Wisconsin Wrongful Death Lawyer

Wisconsin Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a family member is devastating, especially when negligence is involved. If your loved one has been killed in a serious accident due to another person’s negligence, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim.

In Wisconsin, for a successful wrongful death claim, you need to show that the at-fault party was negligent, their negligence caused your loved one’s death, and the death harmed surviving family members. A wrongful death claim can be filed against doctors, motor vehicle drivers, pedestrians, nursing homes, product manufacturers, and construction employers, among others. 

Typically, in Wisconsin, the financial compensation in a wrongful death settlement is awarded to the primary beneficiary like a surviving spouse or child. Schedule a free case evaluation with our experienced wrongful death attorneys and begin your journey to justice. 

Contact our Wisconsin wrongful death lawyers to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information shared with your Wisconsin wrongful death lawyer remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

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Facts and Statistics on Wisconsin Wrongful Death Cases 

In the United States, falls are the primary cause of injury-related deaths among adults aged 65 and older, as per a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC report says that unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans aged 1-44, citing unintentional poisoning, motor vehicle accidents, drowning, and falls among the primary causes of unintentional injury-related deaths.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a total of 125 fatal work injuries were reported in 2022 for Wisconsin, up from the previous year. Exposure to harmful objects and environments contributed to these fatal incidents in the state. 

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Wisconsin records 3.4 drunken driving fatalities per 100,000 residents, comprising 32% of all car crash fatalities.

A study by the Wisconsin Association for Justice says medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States, recording over 250,000 deaths annually. 

In the year 2022, over 595 people involved in car accidents have died on Wisconsin roads. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a total of 105 work-related deaths happened in Wisconsin. 

Definition of a “Wrongful Death” in Wisconsin 

In Wisconsin, a “wrongful death” occurs due to another party’s “wrongful act, neglect, or default,” where the deceased would have had grounds for a personal injury lawsuit had they survived (Wis. Stat. § 895.03). 

Wrongful deaths happen because of various reasons such as medical malpractice, slip and fall incidents, nursing home neglect, motor vehicle accidents, and criminal offenses leading to harm or fatality. 

As the deceased person cannot pursue a claim, certain relatives allowed by the Wisconsin law including parents, children, siblings, or grandparents can initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, a wrongful death claim compensates families for various losses, including medical expenses and funeral costs, lost income, emotional suffering, and the loss of companionship and support from the deceased. 

Seeking the legal services of an experienced Wisconsin wrongful death lawyer is crucial when navigating the complexities of such claims. 

Difference Between a Wrongful Death Case and a Criminal Case

Wrongful death cases and criminal cases have a major difference in their goals and legal processes. Wrongful death cases are civil suits where the deceased’s family works with a wrongful death lawyer to seek financial compensation from the responsible party for damages such as funeral expenses, lost wages, and emotional suffering. 

On the other hand, criminal cases aim to penalize individuals for their criminal actions through imprisonment, fines, or other sanctions. A negligent party may face both types of cases if their actions involve both a civil wrong and a criminal offense, depending on the circumstances. These cases are separate legal proceedings and have different burdens of proof.

Why Wrongful Deaths Occur in Wisconsin? 

Fatal injuries or even wrongful death occur due to negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing, leading to devastating consequences for the victim’s family. 

According to the Wrongful Death Statute of Wisconsin, family members of the deceased person have the right to file a wrongful death claim. If you have a loved one who has died due to another person’s actions, seek the expertise of a wrongful death lawyer for legal representation. 

Some of the most common causes of a wrongful death in Wisconsin include: 

  • Medical negligence
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Pedestrian or other motor vehicle accidents
  • Workplace accidents 
  • Animal bites or abuse
  • Defective products 
  • Accidents due to unsafe premises
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Whether a family member died in a motor vehicle accident or hospital negligence incident, family members have the right to file wrongful death lawsuits and get compensated for losses. 

Who Has the Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Wisconsin? 

Unlike many states, Wisconsin allows either the personal representative or a family member to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wisconsin law allows more than one individual who can bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent party.

In a wrongful death claim, if the deceased left a spouse or domestic partner and children under 18, the Wisconsin court must reserve part of the damages award for the children’s care. The court considers factors such as the children’s ages and the spouse or partner’s ability to provide care. However, the reserved amount cannot exceed 50% of the total damages award. This rule is outlined in Wisconsin Statute § 895.04.

Here are the close family members of the deceased who can file wrongful death lawsuits and seek compensation: 

  • Surviving spouse/domestic partner 
  • Surviving children 
  • Surviving grandchildren 
  • Surviving parents or guardians 
  • Surviving grandparents 
  • Surviving siblings 
  • Personal representative of the deceased’s estate 

Wisconsin Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases 

Every state establishes a time limit for individuals to file a personal injury claim, including a wrongful death lawsuit, after which they lose their right to sue. Typically, the statute of limitations in Wisconsin requires that a family member must file a wrongful death claim within three years, or two years if the death involved a motor vehicle accident. 

The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims starts when the injury leading to death occurs or when it’s reasonably discovered. Failure to file within this timeframe can lead to case dismissal. 

Hiring a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible is crucial so that you can recover compensation for your loved one’s death.

What if the Deceased was Partially At-Fault for the Wrongful Death? 

Wisconsin adopts the modified comparative negligence standard (Wisconsin Statute 895.045) in all personal injury cases. This means that the deceased’s fault, if any, is considered when calculating damages in a wrongful death claim. If the deceased was partially at fault for the accident, damages are reduced by their percentage of fault. 

For example, if the deceased was found to be 10% at fault, their damages would be reduced by 10%. If the deceased was proven more than 50% at fault, their family cannot recover damages. Thus, the modified comparative negligence system is known as the 51% bar rule. 

Determining fault requires careful assessment of evidence so seek the assistance of an experienced wrongful death attorney to represent the interests of the deceased’s family.

Funeral costs for Wrongful Death

What Types of Damages Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim? 

Losing a loved one brings emotional and financial burdens. Wisconsin law offers family members multiple options to pursue compensation in wrongful death claims. Wisconsin wrongful death attorneys will have the necessary knowledge of personal injury law to guide you through this legal process. 

In Wisconsin, compensatory damages are divided into economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages 

Economic damages are monetary expenses incurred from the injury and eventual death of the deceased. They are easily calculated in specific amounts, such as: 

  • Medical expenses incurred by the deceased’s injury or illness when they were alive 
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Lost wages the deceased person would have earned 
  • Lost income and earning capacity if the deceased had lived 
  • Other out-of-the-pocket costs 

Non-Economic Damages 

Noneconomic damages are often complicated to quantify in monetary terms and are subjective. They include: 

  • Pain and suffering before the death of the deceased 
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium 
  • Loss of affection
  • Loss of parental guidance 
  • Loss of caregiving services offered by the deceased to a minor or disabled person 
  • Emotional distress experienced by surviving family members 

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Damage Caps in Wrongful Death Lawsuits 

Under Wisconsin Statutes section 895.04(4), there are limits on the noneconomic damages recoverable in a wrongful death claim. Today, this limit stands at $500,000 per incident for deceased minors and $350,000 per incident for deceased adults. Note that these damage caps solely apply to wrongful death claims and not to other forms of personal injury claims.  

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Wisconsin Wrongful Death Lawyer 

Have you lost a parent, child, spouse, sibling, or other family member because of someone else’s negligent actions in Wisconsin? Do you want to pursue financial compensation and rightful justice for your lost loved one?

Our wrongful death attorney, at the Injury Lawyer Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, understands the trauma of bereaved families and strives to hold the responsible parties accountable for their wrongful acts. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.

Our law firm accepts every wrongful death case in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on a contingent fee basis. This arrangement ensures you will not pay upfront fees for legal services until your personal injury lawyer wins your wrongful death case through a negotiated settlement or jury award.