Every premature death caused by another party’s negligence is a tragedy, but an accident that leads to the death of a child is a particularly devastating event. If you are a parent who recently lost a child under such circumstances, the prospect of pursuing civil litigation may seem too burdensome after such a tremendous loss.
As with all forms of wrongful death litigation, though, the purpose of filing suit for the untimely passing of a minor in Kenosha is not to replace a young life with a monetary sum, but rather to ensure you do not bear the financial consequences of someone else’s misconduct. An experienced wrongful death attorney at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd could discuss your options in a private setting and offer guidance about what steps may be appropriate in your situation.
Establishing a Parent’s Legal Standing to File Suit
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim, meaning successful recovery generally depends on the filing party’s ability to prove negligence by the defendant(s) named in their suit. This generally entails demonstrating the following elements:
- The existence of an implicit or explicit duty of care on the defendant’s part
- A subsequent breach of said duty
- Causation of an accident through that breach
- Causation of fatal injuries directly from that accident
When an adult loses their life because of someone else’s reckless or careless behavior, the right to pursue a wrongful death action in their name generally falls to their estate’s personal representative, whom the decedent generally nominates in their will or estate plan. However, since minors cannot legally draft an enforceable will in Wisconsin, the right to file suit in the event of their wrongful death would pass to their surviving parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
Meeting the Statutory Filing Deadline
According to Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations §893.54, these parties maintain standing to pursue legal action over a minor’s wrongful death in Kenosha until three years after the cause of action, which could be either the date of the minor’s death or the date of the accident that ultimately caused their passing. A notable exception applies when a child’s wrongful death results from a motor vehicle collision, in which case the applicable deadline is two years after the accident.
Potentially Recoverable Damages
Following the wrongful death of a minor in Kenosha, the minor’s surviving parent(s) or guardian(s) may seek financial restitution for past and future economic and non-economic losses. Recoverable economic damages may include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses for care administered prior to the minor’s death
- Loss of future earnings the child would have likely obtained
While there is no limit on recovery for a family’s economic losses, recovery for non-economic damages related to “companionship and society” are capped at $500,000 in wrongful death cases where the decedent was a minor. Furthermore, punitive damages are not available in Kenosha wrongful death claims, regardless of the age of the decedent.
Let a Kenosha Attorney Help File Suit over a Minor’s Wrongful Death
There is no tragedy greater than the loss of a child’s life, nor can there be a monetary award big enough to replace what they leave behind. However, comprehensive recovery through a successful wrongful death action could be key to protecting your family’s future financial security and navigating the grieving process without monetary concerns.
Compassionate legal counsel could serve as a steadfast ally and source of support after the wrongful death of a minor in Kenosha. Call today to confidentially discuss your legal options.