Under Wisconsin law, any person who has the right to recover damages recovered in a wrongful death suit also has the right to file a wrongful death suit. Typically, these people include a spouse, child, or parent of the deceased individual, but it depends on the situation. For example, if the deceased individual was married with minor children, up to half of any damages belong to the children, with the remainder belonging to the spouse. On the other hand, if the deceased individual wasn’t married and has no minor children, then the deceased individual’s heirs are entitled to the damages, which could include parents, adult children, siblings, or other relatives, depending on the situation. In most cases, only one individual files a wrongful death suit. It is possible for more than one party to file a wrongful death suit. However, the court can consolidate multiple wrongful death actions into one case. Available damages in a wrongful death case include both pecuniary or financial damages and damages for emotional losses, such as for loss of society and companionship.
A wrongful death claim is not the same as a survival action, which is filed by the executor or administrator of the deceased individual’s estate. The point of a survival action is to seek damages that the deceased individual suffered prior to his or her death. More specifically, a survival action allows the estate to recover expenses such as medical bills, lost income as a result of the decedent’s injuries, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering. A survival action is the same claim that the decedent could have filed had he or she not passed away. In some cases, a survival action is simply the continuation of a personal injury claim that the deceased individual had prior to his or her death.
Wrongful death claims can be complex, and, consequently, difficult for injury victims to understand and process. Having a skilled and experienced injury lawyer on your side to help you navigate the legal system is an essential piece of obtaining compensation for your losses. For more information about how to properly handle your personal injury claim, contact the Wisconsin wrongful death lawyers of Boller & Vaughan today.