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Wrongful Death

Q: What is Wrongful Death?

A: Wrongful Death in Wisconsin refers to the accidental death of someone usually occurring because of Negligence, Product Liability, Police Brutality and Excessive Force, Premises Liability, Medical Malpractice, Automobile or Truck Accidents, Pool Drowning, Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse, Slip & Fall, Trip & Fall, Train or Plane Accidents, Car and Pedestrian Crashes and Accidents or other negligent conduct resulting in the death of a loved one.

Q: How many different types of damages are permitted for Wrongful Death cases?

A: The following are the various categories of damages : Funeral and Burial Expenses, Loss of Society & Companionship, Loss of Consortium, Loss of Inheritance, Expenses for Care of the Lot and Loss of the Value of Household Services.

Q: Why and what limitations are there on the loss of Society and Companionship?

A: Due to the fear that juries would award excessive damages given the emotional nature of the loss, the legislature in Wisconsin has imposed limits or caps on damages for the grief of survivors.

Currently, there is a maximum of $350,000.00 for the death of an adult and $500,000.00 for the death of a minor child.

Depending upon the current political climate in the State of Wisconsin, the legislature will, from time to time, amend these caps. Thus, how you vote, whether you vote and when you vote significantly determines what recovery there will be, should something tragic like the death of a loved one, occur.

Q: Who gets to collect the Loss of Society and Companionship recovery in a Wrongful Death case and who does it belong to?

A: The Personal Representative of the Estate of a decedent is the appropriate plaintiff in a Wrongful Death case in Wisconsin. Further, Wisconsin Statute § 895.04(4) provides the order or hierarchy that controls who has priority when collecting the damages.

The following is the order of priority:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents or minor siblings of the decedent.

The statute prescribes an order of claimants. The individual at the top of the ladder gets to make the claim to the exclusion of all other potential claimants. However, this is only with respect to the Society and Companionship category of damages.

Q: Who gets to collect the Pecuniary Damages recovery in a Wrongful Death case?

A: The following are the individuals in the order of priority regarding pecuniary damages:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings or other lineal heirs as determined by the intestacy statute, Wis. Stats. §852.01.

The classes are prioritized and mutually exclusive. The person at the top of the ladder is supreme.

Q: Can anyone other than a spouse in a wrongful death case allowed to sue for the loss of someone?

A: Apart from losses arising from Medical Malpractice cases, if the victim is married, the spouse is the only person allowed to sue is the surviving spouse of the decedent.

Q: What if the loss arises from a Medical Malpractice case?

A: If the victim is an adult, only a spouse or minor child may sue. An adult child may not sue.

Q: Do adult children and adult siblings have any claims?

A: The classification of claimants entitled to sue for loss of society and companionship damages resulting from the wrongful death of a medical malpractice victim is limited to spouse, parent, minor sibling or minor child.

Adult children have no standing to sue. Wisconsin Stats §655.007, provides a listing of who may sue which includes only a spouse, parent, minor sibling or minor child.

If you or a loved one was injured or lost as a result of negligence please call right away The Milwaukee Accident & Personal Injuries Law Firm of Emmanuel L. Muwonge & Associates, LLC., at (414) 933-4144 for your Free No Obligation Telephone Consultation.

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