When is a Death a ‘Wrongful Death’?

A death becomes “wrongful” within the meaning of Wisconsin’s wrongful death statute when another person or persons acts in a negligent manner so as to cause the fatal accident. In most cases, if the injuries had not been fatal, the person would have a personal injury claim against the other party, rather than a wrongful death claim. Negligence occurs when an individual fails to exercise reasonable care in a particular situation. In other words, when an individual fails to act in a manner that a reasonable person in that same situation would act, negligence has occurred. Negligence is not intentional or even reckless behavior; it simply refers to a carelessness that a reasonable person normally would avoid.

You should keep in mind that even if a death was caused by negligent or wrongful behavior, there are circumstances in which you cannot pursue a wrongful death claim with regard to your loved one. For instance, if the deceased individual was more than 50% at fault for the accident that led to his or her death, you are not entitled to compensation through a wrongful death suit. Furthermore, if the deceased individual was partially at fault for the accident, but less than 50% at fault, you can still maintain a wrongful death claim. However, the principle of contributory negligence will reduce your damages in accordance with the percentage of the decedent’s fault. For instance, if the individual was 20% at fault for the accident, then you only can recover 80% of the total damages relating to the individual’s death.

Whether the death of your loved one results from a drugged driving crash, drunk driving accident, or an incident caused by another type of wrongful behavior by another driver, the Madison wrongful death lawyers of Boller & Vaughan know how to effectively represent your interests. We will determine whether a wrongful death claim is available to you, and help you choose the best course of action for you and your family to get compensation for your losses. Call our office today and get a better understanding about how our attorneys can help ensure that you obtain the maximum compensation that is possible in your case.