Losing a loved one in an unexpected accident can be very difficult for many families to accept - especially if the accident was caused by the negligence of another individual. The legal team at Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham has nearly 100 years of litigation experience in Wisconsin and have successfully recovered millions in compensation for our injury clients - including a large financial recovery for the surviving parents of a 25-year-old that was fatally injured while riding as a passenger in a vehicle.
If you are ready to begin looking at your legal options, contact an Oshkosh wrongful death lawyer at our law firm today. There are no upfront fees and the initial consultation is free.
Call our office at (877) 888-5201.
How the Law Defines Wrongful Death
Under state law, a wrongful death occurs as a result of the wrongful act, neglect or default of another (Wisconsin Statutes 895.03).
There are many examples where negligent behavior may have led to the death of a loved one, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents (cars, motorcycles) – Drivers can cause fatal accidents through various types of negligence, including distracted driving, impaired driving, disobeying traffic laws and driving too fast.
- Workplace accidents – Some jobs are more hazardous than others, especially jobs on construction sites. Workers may suffer a fatal injury from a fall, fire, trench collapse or equipment malfunction, among other causes.
- Slip and fall accidents – If someone slips and falls on another’s property and suffers a fatal injury, the owner of the property may potentially be held liable for the dangerous condition that caused the fall if the owner was aware of it and failed to take reasonable steps to resolve or correct the issue.
- Truck accidents – Some fatal truck accidents are due to the truck driver’s negligence, including drowsy driving, speeding in poor weather conditions, driving aggressively or carrying too much cargo.
- Medical malpractice - Errors in medical facilities may also be the cause of a wrongful death. These may include surgical errors, misdiagnosis, medication errors, anesthesia errors and more.
If you believe you loved one’s death may have been caused by negligence, contact our attorneys today. You may be able to pursue wrongful death compensation.
Free consultation. Call (877) 888-5201.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Certain people have the right to file a wrongful death claim in Wisconsin, according to Wisconsin Statute §895.04. The law states that the deceased’s personal representative can file a claim, along with anyone else who may have a right to damages. Others who may have a right to damages could include surviving spouses or domestic partners, children of the deceased, or the deceased’s parent or guardian.
When the deceased individual has dependents, courts are required to put aside part of the damages for them. A dependent could be a spouse, domestic partner or child under the age of 18. The law says they cannot get more than 50 percent of the total award of damages.
If you lost a loved one, contact our Oshkosh wrongful death attorneys so we can help determine if you may be able to file a lawsuit.
We are here to help in this difficult time.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim
The legal team at Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham have many years of experience handling damages cases. If we determine that you have a case, we obtain all of the information that we require to help build a robust argument to prove the claim on your behalf. This can be a very detailed, comprehensive process that takes a great amount of time and effort to complete.
There are four basic elements of negligence that must be established to validate a wrongful death claim:
- Duty of care – This means another party had a duty to your loved one to act in a reasonable manner to prevent others from suffering harm. Another way of saying this is that the other party needed to act the way a reasonable person would act in a similar kind of situation. For example, it is reasonable to expect drivers to be cautious and avoid dangerous behaviors like drowsy driving or texting while driving.
- Breach of duty of care – Once it has been established that there was a duty of care owed to your loved one, it them must be proven how the other party breached that legal duty. In the case of a car accident, speeding, driving aggressively or running a traffic light may be considered a breach of the duty of care.
- Link to the injuries – You need proof your loved one would likely be alive if not for the other party’s negligence. This is a direct link between the at-fault party’s actions and your loved one dying.
- Existence of damages – Damages include things like medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages and loss of companionship that you and your family suffered because of the loss of your loved one. Your attorney can explain how to document these damages and pursue their full value if you have a valid claim.
Deadlines for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
There are certain deadlines to be aware of if you are considering a wrongful death claim. Generally, Wisconsin’s statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is three years from the date of the accident. If, however, the death was the result of a motor vehicle accident, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations passes, your case will likely be dismissed.
Determining exactly when the statute of limitations for your lawsuit begins and ends can be confusing. Our Oshkosh wrongful death attorneys can carefully review your situation to determine how much time you may have to file a lawsuit.
It is very important to take action on your potential case as soon as possible. Building a strong case takes time and waiting could hurt your claim.
If you have a case, our attorneys can help to ensure it is filed before the deadline passes.
What Damages are Covered in a Wrongful Death Claim?
If you have a valid case and decide to pursue it, our Oshkosh wrongful death lawyers can work to obtain the maximum amount of compensation available for your specific case. These may include:
- Burial expenses
- Cost of having a funeral
- Cost of cremation
- Medical costs resulting from the injury that caused your loved one’s death
- Income your loved one would have earned if not for death
- Lost companionship and society
- Pain and suffering your loved one endured before his or her untimely death
Wisconsin placed a cap on compensation for loss of society and companionship: $500,000 if the deceased was a child and $350,000 if the person who died was an adult.
Our attorneys understand how to thoroughly investigate your loved one’s death and the effect it has had on your family to determine an accurate value of damages.
Contact an Oshkosh Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one in a preventable accident can be a traumatic experience, where having the assistance of an experienced legal can be very helpful to help ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions.
Contact a member of the Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham legal team today at (877) 888-5201. Your consultation is free and there are no upfront fees. We only get paid if we collect compensation by a settlement or court victory.
Call our office today at (877) 888-5201.