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Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by a surviving family member of the deceased. This typically includes a spouse, child or parent. In some cases, multiple parties may join the lawsuit together.
A wrongful death claim arises when a death is caused by the negligence, wrongful act or neglect of a person or an organization. This may include accidents, such as a car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident or pedestrian accident. Wrongful death claims may also be caused by defective products, unsafe workplace conditions, criminal acts or neglect of necessary care.
There is a period of time in which a person can file a wrongful death lawsuit called the statute of limitations. In Wisconsin, family members have between two to three years from the date of incident to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The exact amount of time depends on the cause of death. Once this time has passed, you will lose the ability to seek compensation from your loss.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, you can seek both economic and non-economic damages for your loss.
Economic damages are based on financial losses caused by the death of your loved one. This form of damages may include compensation for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and the loss of future income, benefits and services that you would have realized had your loved one lived. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, include compensation for things such as loss of companionship, love and affection.
A third type of damages that is available under certain circumstances is punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in wrongful death lawsuits when the court or jury determines that the responsible party should be punished for their actions. Punitive damages are also awarded as a deterrent to ensure that the behavior causing death never happens again.