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Who can be compensated for a wrongful death claim in Wisconsin?

When a Wisconsin wrongful death claim is filed, the law decides the order of beneficiaries eligible to collect the damages won in the lawsuit.  Wisconsin Statute § 895.04(4) determines the order in which any wrongful death damages will be distributed. The order is determined by the beneficiary's level of dependence on the deceased and the type of damages.

Damages from a Wisconsin wrongful death action may include loss of consortium, society and companionship; medical, funeral, cemetery, grave marker, burial and upkeep expenses; and pecuniary damages, including loss of support to the survivors, loss of the value of household services, and loss of inheritance.

Damages for loss of consortium (loss of marital relations) are, of course, limited to the surviving spouse or domestic partner. The surviving spouse, children, parents (if the deceased is a minor), and heirs of the deceased may be able to collect other damages.

In Wisconsin, the spouse or domestic partner of the deceased is first to be considered for compensation in a wrongful death claim. If there are minor children, the children may receive up to 50 percent of the damages awarded. If there is no spouse or children, the parents, siblings, and grandparents of the deceased are next in the order of beneficiaries. If the wrongful death action involves a medical malpractice claim, only the spouse and minor children or parents (if the victim was a minor) may collect damages.

Do you have additional questions? The Milwaukee wrongful death attorneys at Hupy and Abraham fight to help the families of Wisconsin wrongful death victims to get the accountability they deserve. Contact Hupy & Abraham at 800-800-5678.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham