Wisconsin Wrongful Death Guide
The Wisconsin Wrongful Death Guide was created by Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg, LLP to help residents who have been injured in an accident obtain maximum compensation for their claim.
When you lose someone due to the careless and negligent acts of another, it can cause indescribable grief. We understand how you may be feeling, and we want to help you receive compensation for your family’s damages in this difficult time. If you have lost someone you love and are seeking compensation, our Washington County wrongful death attorneys want to help.
After you read about how wrongful death cases work in Wisconsin, please get in contact with our office as soon as you can so that we can begin to help you work your way towards full and fair compensation for your family. Call us today to set up a free initial consultation where we will further equip you with the knowledge you need to get the results you deserve. We will not let the liable party’s insurance company scuttle your case and we are dedicated to making sure your rights are protected during this tragic time.
Your Rights in a Washington County Wrongful Death Case
When you lose someone you love, one of the most important steps you need to take with your attorney is finding out who the liable party is in your loved one’s case. It could be a single person, a company or even a government entity. What makes a party liable is either an action or inaction that directly caused the fatal accident. They will have to answer to your wrongful death claim.
The law states that only a specific designated person can bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one. Typically that means family. The first person that is typically given rights to bring a wrongful death claim is the spouse. If they do not have one, it would then be their minor children, and if they are childless, it is the victim’s parents who can receive the compensation. Sometimes a financially dependent sibling can bring a case. These issues are something to discuss with your attorney.
The plaintiff will be seeking compensation for:
- Medical bills from life-saving treatment for your loved one
- Final expenses; funeral and burial
- Lost wages and earning capacity your loved one would have provided to their family
- Loss of consortium
It is extremely difficult to determine right away how much a wrongful death case will be worth in compensation because there are the economic damages as well as non-economic damages to consider. Your loved one’s life expectancy will be calculated to determine how many years they would have been working and how much they would have earned during that time. That will be a huge factor in the amount of compensation that you are awarded. Our Washington County wrongful death attorneys are going to be right by your side to help you through this part of the case.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases Our Attorneys Handle
When someone is killed in an accident that is caused by negligence, it is considered a wrongful death for which you can seek compensation. That might be the case if someone acted in a way that was harmful or if they failed to act to protect the victim against that which caused the fatality. Either way, they are considered the liable party and a direct cause of your loved one’s death. The types of cases we handle include wrongful death from the following:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Pedestrian accidents
- Construction accidents
Any of these accidents have the potential to lead to a fatality. If your loved one was killed in an accident like these, please call our office to learn more about your case. Our Washington County wrongful death attorneys want to help.
How a Washington County Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help Your Family
A wrongful death case is likely to be confusing to deal with on your own, especially because you most likely have not had to go through something like this before. Our Washington County wrongful death attorneys know how to deal with these cases. Having someone by your side who has gone through these cases before can really ease the stress of the situation and help you get the results you deserve for your family.
Beneficiaries in a Wrongful Death Claim
In a wrongful death case, who are the surviving beneficiaries in order? This is statutory. The first is the spouse. The second are the children. The third are the parents. Finally, the fourth, are the siblings. If you have a wrongful death case and have more questions, we can help you. Give us a call.
Determining the Value of a Wrongful Death Claim
What is the value in Wisconsin for wrongful death cases? At the point of time when I first meet the client, the honest answer is, “I don’t know.” The reason is because we’ve got to do our due diligence. We have to get all the facts. There are a lot of factors that go into valuing a wrongful death case – your occupation, your age, etc. There will come a point in time where I will have all the information; at that point, I can give you a range. Ultimately, though, you’re going to know and you’re going to tell me that I have authorization to ask for “x” from the insurance company. My job is to get you full and fair compensation, so you will have that number when I have all the facts. Until then, really, we can’t talk about money because we don’t know enough about the case. If you have this type of a case, we’re very successful, and we’re incredibly experienced in this type of case. Give us a call. We can help.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you’re looking for a wrongful death lawyer to help your family, you have my condolences. Often, after the first or second meeting, the client will call in this type of a case and ask how long it’s going to take. It’s a difficult answer to give them because we really don’t have a crystal ball, but there are several things we do as an office to move these things along as quickly as possible.
Number one, we investigate everything. Number two, we get all the facts. Number three, we get all the law. When we go to the insurance companies and say, “Look, this is what happened. Here is what this case is worth,” they have two options – they can pay you or they can say typically what insurance companies do, “We’re not paying that.” Because you hired a trial lawyer, that’s exactly what we will do in that situation— try the case. Frequently, in the middle of the case, the insurance company will realize they made a mistake. Sometimes we settle these things during trial, and sometimes it goes to a verdict. On many occasions, the insurance company pays way more to you than they would have if they had listened to us from the beginning.
Selecting a Wrongful Death Attorney
If you’re reading this, it’s possible that you’re looking for a wrongful death attorney, and it’s possible you’re doing so because you’ve lost a loved one. We treat these cases very differently, I think, because we understand, going in, that the family is going to be suffering. That’s the nature of this type of case. What we do, apart from respecting you and apart from knowing that the family is suffering, is take care of everything. If that means that someone is being prosecuted for the death of a loved one, we take care of that, if need be. Court is a difficult thing; we’re there with you.
The bottom line is that we understand, because we’ve handled so many of these cases, that they have to be handled in a much different way than a typical case. You’re going to have one, two or three good lawyers working for you to try to get someone held accountable for what they did to your loved one.
Steps to Take in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you’ve been placed in the unfortunate position of having someone close to you pass away as a result of negligence, what is the first thing you should be doing? It’s probably one of the last things you’re thinking about — you need to find the best trial lawyer, meet with them, and get the process moving immediately. Why is that? Because it has to be investigated immediately. Typically, it’s going to involve a wreck of some kind, and we need to get investigators out immediately to secure the evidence. If we don’t, it disappears. The defense industry, including the insurance folks, make sure that happens.
When you contact a good trial lawyer who knows what they’re doing, ask them this: How many of these cases have you tried? How many of these cases have you won? Most importantly, when you sit down with that person, ask yourself this: Do I trust him? With my clients in these cases, they’re going through the most difficult period of their life, typically. They’re grieving. When we can have and build mutual trust, it allows me to make the process – it’s not going to be painless, but it’s going to be as smooth as possible.
Will a Wrongful Death Case Go to Trial?
In Wisconsin, in a wrongful death case, how do you know that you’re going to have to go to trial? The answer is you already know because at the end of the case, when it’s time to make that decision, that decision is yours. A lot of our clients early on are afraid of that. They don’t want to be put in a goldfish bowl and have people look at them. Trials are stressful, but we always prep them so they’re ready.
At the deposition, we’re going to bulletproof you. We’re going to spend as many days as it takes to get you where you’re comfortable with answering questions. Same thing at trial. We’ll prep you again because it’s very important that you are comfortable, because that’s how you tell your story. Even if after that happens, and even if you feel that you’re getting less compensation than you should, you could still decide that you don’t want to go to trial. We may give you a different opinion, but, at the end of the day, this is your case so this is your decision. If you’ve got a case like this, give us a call. We can help.
Wrongful Death Comparative Negligence
In a wrongful death case with reason to believe that the deceased may have been partially responsible for their own injury, do you still have a case? The answer is yes. Wisconsin is a contributory negligence state. For instance, if it’s another vehicle involved, if that person was 51% negligent, then you can recover 51% of the damages caused, in this case a wrongful death. The answer to the question is yes. If you have a horrible case like this, we have a lot of experience in it and we can help you. Give us a call.
Please Call Our Experienced Attorneys Today
We know that there is nothing we can do to reverse the situation that you are in, but we want to help you and your family seek compensation for the damages you have experienced. The grief cannot be taken away from you with this compensation award, but it can help you and your family financially cope with this unexpected loss. Please give our office a call as soon as you can to set up a free consultation with our Washington County wrongful death attorneys. We want to help you in this difficult time.
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