In the wake of an unexpected and tragic loss, such as the wrongful death of a family member, you are faced with many tasks. The financial impact of these types of situations are often overwhelming. You are forced to deal with medical expenses, funeral costs, and burial costs – all without your relative’s income or assistance. A Marshfield personal injury attorney at Studinski Law, LLC knows the emotional and financial devastation of fatal accidents. We are here to advise you on whether you and your family have the right to file a wrongful death claim. If you have a valid legal claim and you wish to proceed, we will represent you against the insurers and in court.
We know that money cannot bring your relative back. However, it can provide you with some peace of mind and the ability to picture a new future. To discuss your legal options after a loved one’s death in an accident, call a Marshfield wrongful death attorney from our firm at (715) 898-2300, or use our online form to request a free consultation.
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal matter. It does not necessarily allege that someone committed homicide in relation to your loved one’s death. However, it does allege that an individual is responsible for your loved one’s death in some way. When you file a civil wrongful death claim, you accuse another person of causing your relative’s death due to their careless, reckless, or intentional conduct. You must prove that if another person didn’t act negligently, your loved one would not have died. If your loved one passed away in or shortly after an accident, call an attorney to discuss your right to pursue compensation in a wrongful death claim.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Action?
Under Wisconsin Statute Section 895.04, either a family member of the decedent or the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death claim. Typically, a surviving spouse files a wrongful death action. If your loved one did not leave behind a spouse, then their parent or adult children may file. If the decedent did not leave behind any of these relatives, then the right passes on to the decedent’s lineal heirs and then their siblings. It is also possible for the family and personal representative to file separate lawsuits. However, these may be consolidated by the court. If you are unsure of whether or not you have the right to file a wrongful death suit, call a Marshfield wrongful death lawyer at Studinski Law, LLC right away.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Claims
Your loved one’s death could be the result of any type of accident or wrongful conduct. There is no one type of incident that creates a wrongful death cause of action. A Marshfield wrongful death attorney at our firm has experience representing individuals and families in wrongful death cases arising from:
- Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Other Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Work Accidents
All types of accidents can occur when someone else is careless or reckless. If a person’s negligence caused an accident that resulted in your loved one’s death, call a Marshfield wrongful death attorney at Studinski Law, LLC.
Wrongful Death Damages
After losing a loved one, you may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation for several types of damages. If your or another relative took on the financial responsibility of your loved one’s final medical bills, funeral, and burial, then you or that individual can pursue compensation for these expenses. If you were financially dependent on your loved one, you can pursue compensation for the loss of their financial contributions. This goes beyond your loved one’s regular income. If you reasonably expected to inherit from your loved one in the future, you may pursue compensation for the loss of inheritance.
Beyond your financial injuries, you can seek compensation for the loss of society and companionship. Under the Wisconsin wrongful death statute, compensation for this emotional injury is limited to $500,000 for a deceased minor, and $350,000 for a deceased adult.
The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for a legal claim is like a clock that counts down to the day when you no longer have the right to file the lawsuit in court. In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim depends on the underlying basis of the suit. If your loved one died in a motor vehicle crash, then you have two years to file. If your loved one passed away in another type of accident, you have up to three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You should contact a Marshfield wrongful death lawyer as soon as you can after your loved one’s passing to discuss your right to file and the applicable statute of limitations.
In some cases, when the statute of limitations begins can be a contentious issue. It may begin on the day of the accident, or the date your loved one passed away. If your loved one died days, weeks, or months after an accident, speak with a lawyer about when the statute of limitations runs out. Also, the start of the timeframe may be delayed if you could not have known you had a cause of action when your loved one died. In this situation, the statute of limitations begins when you reasonably could have discovered your right to file suit.
A Survival Claim Differs From Wrongful Death
You may hear about survival claims in conjunction with wrongful death suits. It is true that these two types of lawsuits are similar in nature. However, they are fundamentally different. You, a relative, or the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a survival claim to pursue the damages your loved one would have been entitled to before their death. This type of claim can be important if your loved one survived for a time after the accident, yet had significant injuries. A survival claim is about the decedent’s financial, physical, and psychological injuries. A wrongful death claim is about the survivors’ injuries.
If you believe your family or decedent’s estate has the right to file a survival claim in addition to a wrongful death claim, do not hesitate to speak with a Marshfield wrongful death attorney. We are here to investigate the situation and advise you of all your legal options.
Call a Marshfield Wrongful Death Attorney at Studinski Law, LLC Today
After losing your loved one in an accident, it can be difficult to tell if you truly have the right to file a lawsuit or if you a simply looking for someone to blame. This confusion and your emotions are why it is important to involve a Marshfield wrongful death attorney. At Studinski Law, LLC, we are here to look into what happened and offer you an honest, objective evaluation of your situation. We will advise you on whether you have a valid wrongful death or survival claim, and the strength of these claims. If you have a legal claim and wish to seek damages, we will make obtaining the maximum compensation our highest priority.