Wisconsin, like many states, has a specific statute that addresses the surviving relatives’ rights after a wrongful death. This statute, found in Chapter 895 of the Wisconsin Statutes, explains who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit and why such a case may be filed.
Important Sections of the Statute to Know
If your loved one has recently died because of someone else’s negligent or intentional actions, then it is important to be aware of the Wisconsin Wrongful Death Statute. Some of the provisions that you should be aware of include:
- If a person’s actions, inactions, or negligence would have resulted in a personal injury lawsuit had the victim lived, then that person may be liable for the wrongful death of the victim. (Section 895.03)
- The personal representative of the victim’s estate or someone who is entitled to recover damages in a wrongful death case may bring a wrongful death lawsuit in court. (Section 895.04(1)). The order of who may recover damages (and bring a lawsuit) is covered in Section 895.04(2).
- Damages for the loss of society and companionship may be awarded to a surviving spouse, children, parents, or minor siblings of the victim. These damages may not exceed $500,000 for the death of a child or $300,000 for the death of an adult.
- Damages for loss of society and companionship are in addition to other damages that may be recovered in a lawsuit. Other damages include medical expenses and funeral expenses. (Section 895.04(4)).
Of course, the statute also contains more detailed rules about certain types of wrongful death cases.
Don’t Interpret the Statute Alone
The wrongful death statute is important to your rights after your loved one’s death, but it isn’t easy to apply to your own situation. The statute has been interpreted by Wisconsin state courts and those decisions may also impact your recovery. Accordingly, it is important to discuss your claim with an experienced wrongful death lawyer and to talk to an attorney about tips for protecting your rights and potential recovery. To learn more or to schedule your own free consultation, please start a live chat with us at your earliest convenience.