As a spouse or child, losing someone unexpectedly has financial as well as emotional ramifications. The loss of a primary bread winner or caretaker significantly alters your future. This is one of the strongest reasons to consider survival and wrongful death actions following the loss of a loved one in a fatal car accident. By pursuing compensation, you have the potential to mitigate the financial ramifications of your loss and move forward with your life.
At Studinski Law, LLC, we can review your situation and explain your legal options. We are here to help you manage the consequences of a deadly car crash and obtain as much compensation as possible. With offices in Plover and Marshfield, Studinski Law, LLC serves clients throughout Wisconsin, including Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, and Waupaca. Call us today at (715) 343-2850 to find out how we can help you.
Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents
In 2016, 524 fatal auto accidents occurred in Wisconsin, which led to 588 deaths. The average number of fatal road accidents in the state between 2011 and 2015 was 501 deadly accidents that led to an average of 549 fatalities each year. These fatal crashes were the result of a variety of causes. Some of the most common causes of deadly accidents include:
- Intoxication due to alcohol or drugs
- Reckless driving
- Failure to yield to a right of way
- Improper turns
- Failure to stay in the proper lane
- A driver overcorrecting an error
- Failure to slow down and properly navigate a construction zone
Legal Claims in Fatal Car Crashes
If a car accident caused your loved one injuries, then you would be in a situation that required your family member or friend to seek compensation themselves either through a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit. It would have been up to them to prove that the other driver or their employer was negligent and they had a right to compensation for their injuries. However, since your loved one was killed in the crash, the task to recover compensation is left to you.
You or your loved one’s estate may have two options to pursue a financial recovery after a crash. Under Wisconsin law, your loved one’s estate may be able to bring a survival action, which is a legal claim that seeks the compensation to which your loved one would have had a right if he or she had survived the wreck. It is called a survival action because your loved one’s cause of action survived their death. You may also have the right to file a wrongful death claim. The compensation you can pursue a wrongful death claim is for your losses, such as loss of society and companionship.
To learn more about each of these types of legal actions, including their similarities and differences, contact us at Studinski Law, LLC. We are experienced in pursuing survival actions and wrongful death claims in the case of fatal auto accidents and are ready to represent you in an insurance claim or lawsuit.
A Survival Action Following a Fatal Car Accident
In some situations, Wisconsin entitles a decedent’s estate to bring a survival action for the financial recovery the decedent would have been entitled to before their death. This type of recovery may be particularly important if your loved one did not pass away immediately after the accident. If your loved one was seriously injured and survived for days, weeks, or months after the crash before passing away, then they would have accrued a significant amount of economic and non-economic damages, including
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of earning capacity
If the estate wishes to bring a survival claim on behalf of your loved one, then the estate representative has three years from the date of injury to do so.
A Wrongful Death Action Following a Fatal Collision
While a survival action is brought by your loved one’s estate to pursue compensation on the decedent’s behalf, a wrongful death action can be filed by a spouse, parent, child, or potentially others. If you were immediately related to the decedent, then you may be able to bring this type of action in court within three years of the date of the accident.
You may be able to recover the following through a wrongful death action:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of your loved one’s financial contributions
- Loss of future inheritance from your loved one
- Loss of your loved one’s society and companionship
It is important to note that Wisconsin caps the amount of recovery you can obtain for loss of society and companionship at $350,000 per deceased adult or $500,000 per deceased minor.
Contact Our Wisconsin Fatal Car Accident Lawyers for Help
If you suddenly lost a loved one in a car accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. At Studinski Law, LLC, we are ready to discuss your situation, investigate the cause of the crash, and advise you on the next best steps. We understand you need both guidance and compassion during this time, which is why we are here to take on the legal and administrative burdens. We will fight for you and your family to obtain the maximum compensation possible.
We serve clients in Wood County, Portage County, Waupaca County, Marathon County, and surrounding areas. Contact our wrongful death attorneys today at (715) 343-2850 to schedule a time to discuss your situation.