The sudden loss of a loved one is one of the most shocking and heartbreaking events a person can experience. In addition to confronting the sudden emotional reality of your bereavement, you are completely unprepared for the practical and financial consequences of their death. When the event that took your loved one’s life was the result of another party’s negligent or deliberate actions, you may also feel a profound sense of anger and injustice. Filing a wrongful death claim can allow you to hold the wrongdoers accountable for what they have done and recover compensation for your losses.

At LawtonCates, we understand the emotional and legal difficulties grieving family members face when beginning a wrongful death case. When you enlist our services, you gain access to nearly 70 years of experience. Our seasoned legal team will use their wealth of knowledge and skills to maximize your compensation and help you get the justice and accountability you deserve.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a wrongful death lawyer in Wisconsin.

How a Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You

The simple act of considering a wrongful death case in Wisconsin can present significant challenges. Facing the logistical, administrative, and legal obstacles that often emerge in these claims can feel particularly overwhelming when you are still reeling from your sudden loss.

By working with an experienced Wisconsin wrongful death lawyer, you will have the confidence of knowing that a dedicated legal professional is handling your claim, leaving you room and time to process your grief.

An attorney can handle every aspect of your case, including:

  • Investigating the Incident – A successful wrongful death claim depends on your capacity to provide the insurance company or court with solid evidence of how your loved one lost their life. An attorney can conduct a thorough investigation to determine how and why the incident occurred, as well as who was responsible.
  • Calculating Your Losses – The amount of wrongful death compensation your case is worth will be determined by assessing the value of all economic and non-economic losses resulting from your loved one’s untimely passing. A skilled lawyer can help you identify hidden losses and calculate their value so they can fight for what you deserve.
  • Negotiating with the Insurer – Even when liability for and the value of your wrongful death claim is clear, insurance adjusters often employ tactics to delay, undervalue, or deny your claim. Our attorneys know how to protect claimants against greedy insurance companies, and we will handle all negotiations on your behalf.
  • Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit – If an insurance company is unwilling to offer you the compensation you deserve, the only alternative may be to file a wrongful death lawsuit. As with any legal action, going to court for a wrongful death case is a complex and time-consuming process. Working with an experienced Wisconsin wrongful death litigator is essential.

What Compensation Is Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?

The types of compensation that can be recovered in a Wisconsin wrongful death claim include:

  • Medical Expenses – These are the expenses the deceased incurred for treatment of their injuries prior to their death.
  • Loss of Companionship and Society – This covers the loss of the relationship, guidance, care, and consortium the survivors suffered due to the death. It is meant to compensate for the destruction of the family unit.
  • Loss of Financial Contributions – This includes the financial contributions the deceased would have made to the survivors. It factors in expected earnings and services like childcare.
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses – Reasonable costs for the funeral, burial plot, headstone, and related losses can be claimed.

The total settlement or award will depend on what specific losses can be proven and their calculated dollar values. An experienced Wisconsin wrongful death law firm can help you understand how much compensation may be available in your claim.

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

Once you have secured a wrongful death settlement, the insurance company or the at-fault party themselves will send the funds to your attorney, who will pass them along to you after deducting their legal fees. The settlement can either be distributed to the beneficiaries as a single lump-sum payment or a series of structured payments over time. Because the money you receive in a wrongful death claim is compensatory, you will not be responsible for paying taxes on your award.

It is worth noting that any beneficiaries under the age of 18 must have their portion of the settlement placed into a trust that oversees the funds until they reach legal adulthood.

What Do You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case?

To prove fault in a wrongful death case, you must demonstrate that the at-fault did something that directly contributed to your loved one’s death. To qualify for compensation, you must also prove that their death caused you to suffer quantifiable losses.

The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to establish these elements by a preponderance of the evidence. This means showing it is more likely than not that the defendant’s negligence or misconduct caused the death.

With the help of a skilled Wisconsin wrongful death lawyer, families can develop a solid case by collecting evidence like medical records, accident reports, expert testimony, and financial documents. Using this evidence, your attorney can present a robust case that can meet the burden of proof and lead to a substantial financial recovery for you.

According to the Wisconsin wrongful death statute, the personal representative of the decedent can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf the people who will receive the compensation. These people are usually family members.

The following are the wrongful death beneficiaries Wisconsin recognizes, in order of priority:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse or children
  • The decedent’s surviving parents
  • The decedent’s surviving siblings
  • The decedent’s surviving grandchildren

Reach out to us at LawtonCates if you are unsure whether you have a valid claim for compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.

According to the Wisconsin wrongful death statute of limitations, a deceased individual’s personal representative generally has a maximum of three years from the date of death to file a lawsuit for damages. The deadline is different if the death was caused by a motor vehicle accident. In that event, the statutory deadline is usually two years from the date of death. Failing to meet this deadline may result in the forfeiture of your right to recover compensation in court.

It is essential that you contact a Wisconsin wrongful death attorney from LawtonCates as soon as possible to get the filing date specific to your case and to protect your claim. Taking swift action can also help your lawyer collect evidence before it disappears and interview any eyewitnesses before their memories fade.

While no two wrongful death cases are exactly alike, situations that can lead to a wrongful death claim in Wisconsin include:

  • Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Accidents – When reckless, drunk, or negligent drivers cause fatal crashes, their victims’ families can sue for wrongful death. Surviving family members may be able to recover compensation from the driver or owner of the at-fault vehicle.
  • Medical Malpractice – If a healthcare professional’s negligence, misdiagnosis, surgical error, erroneous dosage, or delay in treatment leads to a patient’s death, the patient’s family can bring a wrongful death suit against the caregiver and the hospital.
  • Workplace Accidents – When an employer’s negligence regarding safety hazards, defective equipment, or failure to provide proper training leads to a workplace fatality, they may be liable.
  • Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect – When substandard care at a nursing home results in a resident’s death, the victim’s family can sue the nursing home for wrongful death compensation.
  • Dangerous Premises – Property owners who fail to maintain safe premises can be held liable if someone is killed due to hazards on the property, like poor lighting, unsecured balconies, or construction debris.
  • Defective Products – If a defective product like a car, medical device, or children’s toy leads to fatalities, the victims’ families can bring product liability wrongful death lawsuits against the manufacturer.