Family surrounding urn of loved one killed in an accident

Children of all ages may suffer significant financial and emotional losses when their parent dies in a wrongful death accident. Wisconsin law allows children to recover damages, and it provides special protections for children who are under the age of 18.

Minor Children Receive a Portion of Wrongful Death Damages

According to Wisconsin Statute §895.04, the court determines the amount of total damages to be set aside for the protection of children under the age of 18. The court will consider the following factors in making this determination:

  • The age of the children
  • The amount of money involved
  • The capacity and integrity of the surviving spouse
  • Any other factors that the court has or receives and deems relevant

However, the percentage of wrongful death damages awarded to minor children may not be more than 50% of the total award after liens are paid.

Adult Children May Recover Damages, in Some Cases

Adult children may miss their parents just as much as younger children do, and in some cases, children 18 and over may have been financially dependent on their parent. The law, however, is different for adult children than it is for minor children.

If a person dies with no minor children, then the surviving spouse may recover wrongful death damages. However, if the person was not married, then wrongful death damages go to lineal heirs. Typically, adult children will receive wrongful death damages if their parent dies without a surviving spouse or domestic partner.

Learn More About Your Rights or Your Children’s Rights After a Parent’s Wrongful Death

Wrongful death cases are often complicated, but financial recoveries are critical for children. Damages in a wrongful death case may include, but are not limited to:

  • Healthcare costs, if your spouse or parent had any accident-related medical care before death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost income from the time of the accident until the time that your spouse or parent likely would have retired
  • Any physical pain and emotional suffering your spouse or parent endured because of the accident before death
  • Your family’s loss of society, love, and companionship from your spouse or parent

As you mourn, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced Wisconsin wrongful death lawyers for a free consultation. If you hire us, we will make sure that your family’s wrongful death claim is protected, and we will fight to get you the fair recovery you deserve. Call us or complete our contact form any time to schedule a convenient no-obligation initial consultation.


Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.