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A loved one’s death is a traumatic experience. The pain and suffering of losing a loved one are worse when their death is caused by the carelessness or wrongdoing of someone. The surviving family members also have to bear the burden of the financial impact of the wrongful death. While you can’t bring your loved one back, you have the right to bring a lawsuit against the party responsible for your loved one’s wrongful death.

At Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs, LLP, we have extensive experience in wrongful death cases, helping clients recover compensatory damages for their suffering. Our wrongful death attorneys in Eau Claire, WI, can assess your case to guide you on the best legal options.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If a person dies because of someone else’s negligence, wrongdoing, or criminal act the surviving family members or the estate can bring a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party. For example, it could be a wrongful death case if a person dies as a result of medical malpractice or in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver.

Who May Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wisconsin law dictates who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is the one who files a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the surviving family members. Wisconsin statute 895.04 states that “the action may be brought by the personal representative of the deceased.” The personal representative is sometimes named in the deceased’s will. However, if there is no will, then the personal representative is appointed by the court. The person is typically a close family member of the deceased.

Based on the wrongful death statutes in Wisconsin, the deceased person’s surviving spouse, parents, children, and siblings (if they were under the age of 18 at the time of the wrongful death) are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In some circumstances parents of adult children can assert a claim. It can often be complex to determine who can bring a lawsuit, so it is best to consult with wrongful death attorneys in Eau Claire, WI.

Recoverable Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Different categories of damages are awarded to the wrongful death victim’s estate and family members. The estate is owed fair and reasonable compensation for the pain and suffering the deceased experienced from the moment of the accident until their passing. The estate is also owed an amount that will compensate the estate for medical and hospital expenses that were incurred at the time of the wrongful death victim’s death because of injuries sustained in the accident. The estate can also receive compensation for the funeral and burial expenses of the wrongful death victim.

Spouses, domestic partners and children of a wrongful death victim are entitled to be compensated for any financial loss they sustain as a result of their loved one’s death. Factors that are considered for spouses or domestic partners include their loved one’s age, condition of health prior to the accident, earning capacity and future earning capacity at the time of death.

Factors for determining the damages for children of the wrongful death victim include how many more years the parent might have lived if they hadn’t been injured in the accident; how the parent’s wealth and possessions would have grown and how much the children could have expected to gain financially in the future by inheriting part of these assets and also the financial support or benefits the children could have received from the deceased parent if the parent had lived without being injured.

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Worth of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Several factors go into determining the worth of a wrongful death case. This includes the deceased person’s age, income, life expectancy, and the nature of your relationship with the deceased. Dependents of the deceased might be able to recover a higher settlement compared to other individuals who were not financially dependent on the deceased. A detailed evaluation of the damages, applicable state laws, and case-specific factors is necessary to determine the worth of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Wisconsin

The statute of limitations defines the maximum time allowed for parties involved in a dispute to initiate legal action. For wrongful death claims in Wisconsin, the statute of limitation is generally three years from the date of the deceased’s death. However, wrongful deaths due to auto accidents have a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the accident. If the deadline passes, then you may lose the right to file a claim.

Establishing Liability in a Wrongful Death Case

A wrongful death claim can be filed against an individual, business, government entity, or any other party responsible for the death. While you can bring a lawsuit against anyone, you must have evidence to prove that they were responsible for the death.

Wrongful death claims are complex, and one of the most challenging aspects of the case is establishing liability. You need to prove that the misconduct, carelessness, or wrongdoing of another party was the cause of the death.

Establishing liability depends on the specifics of your case. For example, if the death occurred due to a car crash, then you would need to prove that the defendant negligently operated his or her vehicle which caused the death of your loved one. Proving that the defendant owed a duty of care toward the deceased and that the breach of this duty led to the death is important in a wrongful death suit.

Consult with an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing a loved one is never easy, and dealing with the financial burden and legal proceedings in the aftermath of the death makes things worse. However, with the help of our wrongful death lawyers in Eau Claire, WI, you can pursue a wrongful death claim to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions or negligence. We can guide you on how to recover maximum compensation for your suffering. If your loved one was harmed but survived, they can pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

Allow our team to provide you with the much-needed support and guidance through this difficult time. Time is of the essence in these cases, so you need to take prompt action. The earlier you involve us in the process, the greater the impact we have in helping you get justice. Contact us at Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs, LLP to schedule a free consultation with our wrongful death lawyers. Also, don’t forget to check out our Eau Claire personal injury attorney page for further details on our legal services.

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