The unexpected loss of a loved one can be a traumatic experience for family members, especially if the incident was preventable. At the law office of Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham, our Appleton wrongful death lawyers are ready to help protect your legal rights. We have been helping residents throughout Wisconsin for nearly 100 years and have the experience and resources to fully investigate your claim.
To speak with a member of our legal team, call us today at (877) 888-5201. There are no upfront fees and your initial consultation is free.
Free Consultation. Ph: (877) 888-5201.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
According to Wisconsin Statute §895.04, there are specific rules that govern who may or may not be able to file a wrongful death claim on the deceased person’s behalf. A claim may be filed by the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased or, by any person who has a right to recover damages. This may be the surviving spouse, domestic partner, child, parent or guardian of the deceased person.
It is important to note that regardless of who files the wrongful death claim, the court must set aside a portion of any damages awarded for the care of the deceased person’s dependents. Dependents may include the deceased person’s spouse, domestic partner or one or more children under the age of 18. These dependents cannot receive more than 50 percent of the total damages awarded.
If you are unsure if you are eligible to file a claim, contact an Appleton wrongful death attorney from our law firm today. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you, and to review the merits of your claim.
What is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is commonly defined as the death of a person that may have been caused by the negligence of another individual or as a result of a product malfunction.
Some examples of negligence may include:
- Automotive accidents – Negligent drivers - including those that may speed, drive distracted, or drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol - can also be a contributing factor to a wrongful death.
- Work-related accidents – Occupations that have a higher risk of workplace fatalities often include dangerous manual labor and construction jobs. For example - a construction worker that is pressured to work multiple overtime shifts. He or she could end up in a fatal accident driving the company vehicle while on the way to a job site due to exhaustion.
- Slip and fall incidents – A preventable slip and fall may also be a cause of injuries, including death. Negligence can be associated with a hazardous condition on the property that the owner knew about or should have known about but failed to take reasonable steps to correct.
- Medical Malpractice - Mistakes in hospitals, emergency rooms and other medical-treatment centers can have dire consequences on patients. Those responsible for such errors may be held accountable in a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident due to the negligent actions of another individual, contact an Appleton wrongful death attorney to review your claim and determine if you have a valid case. We can discuss the legal options available to you and determine whether or not you are entitled to financial compensation.
Complete our Free Case Evaluation form today.
Elements of a Valid Wrongful Death Claim
In order to have a valid wrongful death claim, you must prove that the other party was negligent in causing your loved one’s death. There are four basic elements of negligence. These include:
- Duty of care – It must be established that the other party owed the deceased a duty of care. This essentially means a duty to keep another person safe or refraining from doing something that would harm another person. For instance, in a wrongful death case caused by a car accident, it must be proven that the other party had an obligation to obey traffic laws and to drive in a careful and safe manner.
- Breach of duty – It must also be proven that the other party breached the duty of care owed to the deceased. For example, the plaintiff would need to show the other party failed to drive responsibly by speeding, running a stop sign or signal, or driving while intoxicated. Doing these things is not something a reasonable person would do under the same circumstances, and in doing so, breached the duty of care, causing your loved one harm.
- Causation – It must be established that there is a direct link between the other party’s breach of duty and the death of your loved one. In other words, you need to show that if the other party did not act negligently, your loved one would more than likely not have died. Issues of causation can be quite complex without the aid of a lawyer.
- Damages – It must be proven that the death of the loved one resulted in damages to the plaintiff - these losses may include medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income and loss of companionship.
Being able to prove these elements may require a qualified Appleton wrongful death attorney who can gather all the necessary evidence needed to build a strong case on your behalf.
Have a question? Call (877) 888-5201.
Time Limits for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
When filing a wrongful death claim, there may be time limits associated with your claim. Wisconsin abides by a statute of limitations, which is the time limit you or another family member must abide by when filing a wrongful death claim. Waiting longer than this time limit can mean the dismissal of your case and the inability to recover damages.
In most instances, wrongful death claims in Wisconsin may only be filed within two to three years of the date of the accident that resulted in death. The exact time limit depends on the cause of the person’s death.
Additionally, there may be circumstances that are unique to your claim that shorten - or extend - this filing deadline.
If you are unsure about your wrongful death claim, contact us today and allow our legal professionals to review the details of the incident.
Free initial consultation. Ph: (877) 888-5201.
Damages Available in Wrongful Death Cases
Damages in wrongful death case are issued to compensate the deceased person’s estate and surviving family members for losses related to the deceased person’s injury and death. This can include the following economic and non-economic damages:
- Medical costs the deceased person incurred as a result of the injury prior to death
- Funeral and burial costs, including cemetery lot and care expenses
- Lost wages and income the deceased person would have earned if still alive
- Pain and suffering the deceased person endured from the moment of injury until death
- Loss of companionship suffered by the surviving family members due to the untimely loss of their loved one; up to $350,000 in damages for a deceased adult and $500,000 for a deceased minor
Contact an Appleton Wrongful Death Attorney Today
It can be difficult to know what to do after a loved one’s death, especially when it was unexpected and the result of negligence. The Appleton wrongful death attorneys at Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham are prepared to stand up for your loved one’s rights and work to recover the damages you and your family may be eligible to receive. We can also answer any questions you may have about your potential wrongful death damages lawsuit.
Contact us to schedule a free, initial consultation at no risk or obligation to you. There are no upfront fees or costs. Our firm does not get paid unless we obtain a recovery on your behalf, through a settlement or courtroom decision.
Contact our team by calling (877) 888-5201.