After a fatal car crash, the surviving family members of the person who died might seek compensation for their losses from an insurance company. Liability insurance coverage in Wisconsin and some types of supplemental coverage carried by individual drivers can help defray the costs generated when someone dies in a collision.
At least liability coverage is mandatory, which should mean that everyone who loses a loved one in a crash theoretically has the option of making an insurance claim to recover their losses. Some families will take an additional step and pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in the Wisconsin civil courts after losing someone they love.
Why do people go to court instead of just settling the matter using insurance?
Lawsuits don’t have policy limits
While Wisconsin does mandate insurance coverage, there is a very significant gap between what the state requires in insurance coverage and the true financial impact of someone’s premature passing. The policy limits of the driver at fault for the wreck typically determine the absolute maximum amount of compensation available. For many families, the policy limits will be too low based on medical and funeral expenses and lost wages that the family will have to cover. A wrongful death lawsuit can help people recover the full economic impact of someone’s recent death.
The family members want closure
Losing a loved one unexpectedly causes grief, anger and often depression. Unfortunately, the state isn’t always in a position to give people the kind of justice or closure they need after a tragic death on the road. There may not be enough evidence to pursue criminal charges, or the prosecutor may accept a plea to a misdemeanor that doesn’t result in any significant penalties for the person who caused the crash. When family members feel like their loved one has not received justice, a wrongful death lawsuit can help. By effectively declaring one party liable for the death, the courts can provide families with closure and a sense of justice after a successful wrongful death lawsuit.
Seeking legal guidance to better understand why people often go to court after losing a family member can help grieving families evaluate whether a wrongful death lawsuit might be a good option for their situation.