A wrongful death case begins by filing a complaint with the court

You certainly don’t need any more stress in your life. You are living with the stress of losing someone you love. Right now your focus must be on reducing the stress. It may seem surprising, but a wrongful death case may help you do just that.

The recovery from a wrongful death case can help reduce stress in your life and in your family’s lives by:

  • Helping you recover for your financial loss. A wrongful death claim may allow you to recover for your financial losses so that you don’t have to worry about how to pay the bills.
  • Holding the person who killed your loved one accountable. You may have peace of mind if you know that you held the person who killed your loved one legally accountable for his or her actions.
  • Allowing you to honor your loved one. You may be able to recover money that allows you to do something special in memory of your loved one.

These are good reasons to file a wrongful death lawsuit, but how do you do it?

Things to Know Before Beginning a Wrongful Death Case

Before you file your claim, it is important to know…

  • Your time for filing a lawsuit is limited. The Wisconsin Statute of Limitations provides you with a limited amount of time to file your lawsuit. If your loved one died in a motor vehicle accident, then the statute of limitations is two years. If your loved one died in another type of accident, then the statute of limitations may be three years. If you fail to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, then the defense will file a motion to dismiss your claim, and the court will grant that motion without providing you a recovery.
  • Whether you have the right to file a case. This is known as legal standing to sue. You have standing if you are the administrator of the person’s estate or if you have a specific relationship to the person who died, as described in Wisconsin statutes. This may include the spouse, children, parents, and siblings of the person who died.
  • If you need expert witnesses. Expert witnesses can be expensive, but may be important to proving the facts of your loved one’s death, establishing liability for your loved one’s death, or quantifying damages. It is important to carefully consider different types of experts to determine whether you need expert testimony as part of your wrongful death case.
  • Why you need a wrongful death lawyer. A wrongful death lawyer can help you gather evidence, prove your case, and recover damages in court or reach a fair settlement. Your attorney can make sure that all of your rights are protected and can remove the stress of handling your own claim from your shoulders.
  • How settlements work. Settlements typically require skilled negotiations. The insurance company wants to settle for as little money as possible so that it can maximize its profits. It is up to you or your lawyer to use evidence and convincing arguments to get the insurance company to provide a fair settlement.

Additionally, if your unborn child has died in an accident, then you need to understand whether you have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim for the death of your unborn child. In Wisconsin, you may have the right to bring a wrongful death claim if your child would have been able to survive outside of the womb at the time of the crash.

Then You Need to Know How to Start Your Case

A Wisconsin wrongful death case starts when a complaint is filed in court. The complaint must set forth your cause of action (why you have a lawsuit) and damages (the compensation you are seeking in the lawsuit), and the complaint must meet all of the technical requirements of the court.

After the complaint has been filed, the defendants will file an answer. After that pleading has been received by the court, you and the defendants have the right to engage in the discovery of evidence. This could include, but isn’t limited to, interrogatories, depositions, and requests for production of documents.

At any time, either party may file motions with the court seeking rulings on evidence or a resolution of the case. If the case is not resolved through a motion (such as a summary judgment motion or motion to dismiss) or through a settlement, then the case will be heard by the court and a judgment will be made.

It is important to protect your rights and every step of the wrongful death case process. We encourage you to get started today by contacting our experienced wrongful death lawyers via this website or by phone to schedule your own free, no-obligation consultation.

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