Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The sudden death of a loved one is a heartbreaking event.  However, if their death was caused by another person’s negligent or irresponsible actions, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation.

Filing a wrongful death claim is probably the farthest thing from your mind, but it may be absolutely financially necessary depending on your situation.

But a wrongful death claim can be a confusing and time-consuming process. We’ve put together a quick guide on filing wrongful death claims in Wisconsin below. 

If you already know you want to file a wrongful death claim or if you’d like some advice from one of our wrongful death lawyers, you can schedule a free consultation at our Madison office by calling 608-268-0268.

Who Can File on Behalf of a Departed Loved One?

A wrongful death claim may be filed by “the personal representative of the deceased person or by the person to whom the amount recovered belongs,” according to Wisconsin state legislature. Those parties may include a surviving spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, or guardian of the deceased.

Regardless of who files the claim, the court must allocate a portion of any damages awarded to the deceased’s dependents, which includes a spouse, domestic partner, and child or children under age 18.

The amount of these damages is determined by the court after considering factors like the age and abilities of the dependents, but it can’t exceed 50 percent of the total damages awarded.

However, just because the other party was negligent in their behavior, there are some situations where you won’t be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. We covered that in a previous blog post, but every situation is different.

The quickest way to you can get answers about your specific situation is to call our law firm at (608) 268-0268 for a free consultation.

When Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim?

There is a three-year statute of limitations on filing a wrongful death claim in Wisconsin. The statute of limitations begins when the injury initially occurred, or when the deceased should have reasonably known of the injury.

For example, if your loved one died instantly in a car accident, the statute of limitations begins on the date of the accident. If they were injured severely but survived for several weeks before passing away, the three-year time limit may begin on the date of the accident, not their date of death.

What Compensation Is Available?

In Wisconsin, monetary compensation may cover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Financial losses, such as income and loss wages the deceased would have earned if not for their death
  • Loss of society and companionship up to $500,000 for a deceased minor and up to $350,000 for a deceased adult

Additionally, your wrongful death lawsuit may include a separate “survivorship claim,” which seeks compensation for pain and suffering that the deceased endured from the moment of injury until their time of death. In Wisconsin, there’s no cap, or limit, to the monetary amount that can be recovered in a survivorship claim.

Our Wisconsin Wrongful Death Attorneys Are Here to Help

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be an overwhelming burden when you’re also dealing with the death of a loved one. Furthermore, the at-fault party may offer you an initial settlement that isn’t enough to meet your needs.

The wrongful death lawyers at Boller & Vaughan in Madison, Wisconsin, can help you recover the monetary compensation you and your family deserve. Call Boller & Vaughan at 608-268-0268 to schedule a free consultation today. You can also follow our Facebook page for updates.


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Disclaimer: The personal injury, wrongful death, negligence, automobile accident and/or other legal information offered herein by Boller & Vaughan L.L.C., Madison Personal Injury Lawyers, is not formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based only upon the facts of that particular case and offer no promise or guarantee on the outcome of any case. This site is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Wisconsin.
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