Losing a loved one is an immensely painful experience, but that hurt is only exacerbated when the circumstances of their loss could have been prevented. If you think another party could be responsible for the death of your loved one, you might consider pursuing a wrongful death claim. To help you navigate this topic during a difficult time, here are the answers to some common questions about this type of lawsuit.
5 Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Wrongful Death Claims
What is a wrongful death claim?
This type of lawsuit is filed when an individual or business could be held liable for causing a death. The act that caused the death could be an assault, a reckless act such as drunk driving, or negligence, as seen in the case of medical malpractice suits. A defective product could also be grounds for one of these cases.
Who can file one?
Typically, only individuals who were financially or emotionally dependent on the deceased can file a claim on their behalf. Laws vary by state, but in general, children and spouses are commonly the plaintiffs in wrongful death suits. In Wisconsin, a child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, or guardian of the deceased may file, depending on circumstances.
How long does the process take?
The trajectory for these types of cases is hard to predict, as time frames can vary significantly. Lawsuits can take several years in some cases, but in others, settlements may be reached within a matter of months. In general, most cases are resolved within one to four years.
What determines the amount of damages?
The damages paid to the plaintiff will depend on several factors. Funeral and medical costs will likely be factored in, along with the loss of financial support the deceased individual would have otherwise provided. Damages may also be considered for loss of companionship.
What is the statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations is the amount of time after the event during which a lawsuit can be filed. While deadlines vary by state, many areas impose a two- to three-year time limit. Wisconsin has a three-year statute of limitations for these types of claims unless the death involved a motor vehicle, in which case it is two years.
If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim, turn to Lein Law Offices. Serving the Winter and Hayward, WI, communities, this law firm has been trusted among locals since 1983 and works hard to pursue optimal legal outcomes on behalf of their clients. Explore their practice areas online or call (715) 403-5045 to schedule a consultation with a compassionate attorney today.