A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that is brought when the negligence or the intentional act of a person or entity causes someone’s death. Wrongful deaths can occur from many types of accidents. For example, if an individual dies in a car accident caused by another driver, a poorly maintained highway, or a defective vehicle, the family may have a claim. Other examples of viable civil suits could involve:
- Construction or workplace accidents,
- Nursing home negligence,
- Pedestrian accidents, or
- A slip and fall.
After the loss of a loved one, it can be very difficult to reach out and receive the assistance you deserve. But the events that caused the death of your loved one may have the right to bring a cause of action on the behalf of that person. If someone you love has recently died after an accident, call the experienced Kenosha wrongful death lawyers at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today for a free consultation.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
States generally set specific rules governing who may file a wrongful death claim. In Wisconsin, the following parties may file a civil lawsuit:
- the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate;
- the surviving spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, or guardian of the deceased person.
In other words, the estate will seek to hold the other party responsible for the decedent’s injuries. A decedent is the legal term for the deceased person. They will seek to recover the compensation the decedent would have deserved had they lived. If you have any questions regarding who the personal representative would be or if you are confused about the wrongful death claims process, contacting an experienced attorney in Kenosha could help you navigate through these hard times.
Additionally, if a deceased person left behind a spouse, domestic partner, or adult child, the court must set aside a portion of any damages for the care of the deceased person’s dependents.
What’s more, it is important to understand that claims of actions have statutes of limitations. You must file a claim before that date. In this case, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years.
What Are Recoverable Damages for Fatal Accidents?
Damages available in a wrongful death claim might include monetary compensation for:
- Medical expenses incurred as a result of the negligent act that caused death,
- Funeral and burial expenses,
- Financial losses, (i.e. lost wages and income the deceased person would have earned), and
- Damages tied to loss of society and companionship.
Damages for loss of society and companionship may be awarded to a spouse, children, siblings, or parents of the deceased. Those damages are limited to $500,000 per person in the loss of a child and $350,000 per person in the loss of an adult. If a jury finds damages in excess of these limits, a court will reduce the damages to these amounts. Additionally, damages can be reduced if the deceased person was found negligent. This would be known as contributory negligence.
Contact Our Kenosha Wrongful Death Attorneys Today
If you lost a loved one because of someone else’s actions, then you may have the right to seek compensation for you, their estate, and your other family members. The skilled attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. could meet with you for a free consultation and they work on a contingency fee basis. Contact a Kenosha wrongful death lawyer whenever you feel ready.