Any person who has lost a family member through an accident can tell you there is no financial sum large enough to fill the hole in their life that their loved one’s untimely and unjust loss has left behind. In light of that, you may understandably have questions about whether it is in your best interests to pursue financial restitution through a wrongful death lawsuit while still coming to terms with your grief. A compassionate attorney could explain the process of filing a claim.
The purpose of damages in Kenosha wrongful death cases is not to directly replace the value of a lost life. Instead, this kind of litigative effort is meant to ensure that the financial costs of such an immense loss are not yours to bear but rather fall on the shoulders of the party responsible for your loved one’s accident.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages for Family Members
Through a successful wrongful death action, a decedent’s personal representative may obtain compensation for both financial and personal losses sustained by the decedent’s immediate family, such as lost future income and financial support from the decedent, funeral and burial costs, and non-economic damages like lost society and companionship. Those family members may simultaneously pursue damages by filing their own survival action claim to recover the losses their deceased loved one suffered prior to their wrongful death, including medical expenses and lost income for time out of work, and pain and suffering experienced before their passing.
These claims may be filed separately, but a local judge may consolidate the cases into one motion that benefits all parties, according to Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations §895.04(3). Notably, there are caps on recovery for non-economic losses – $350,000 if the decedent was an adult at the time of their death, and $500,000 if they were a minor.
Are Punitive Damages Available after a Wrongful Death?
In certain types of civil claims, state law allows Wisconsin courts to award what are known as “punitive damages.” While compensatory damages are meant to reimburse plaintiffs for specific losses they sustained as a direct consequence of someone else’s negligence, punitive damages are expressly meant to punish the defendant for egregiously negligent or intentionally malicious conduct and deter others from acting similarly in the future. Unfortunately, punitive damages are not available in Kenosha wrongful death cases under current state law and legal precedent.
Ask a Kenosha Attorney about Recoverable Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
“Recovering” from a wrongful death in financial terms is not an altogether accurate way of describing this process. Unfortunately, all the money in the world is not enough to restore the life of a person taken away from their family before their time, and the process of emotionally recovering from that loss must proceed at its own pace for each person affected by such an unfortunate incident.
That being said, damages in Kenosha wrongful death cases can play a crucial role in a family’s grieving process by stabilizing their lives after their loved one’s fatal accident. Call our legal team at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today to discuss your legal options during a private consultation.