If a loved one dies in an accident that could have been prevented or as a result of another party or entity’s wrongful actions, their death would be classified as “wrongful.” Consequently, you may pursue the liable party for the resulting economic and non-economic damages.
But while a loved one’s death does impact many people, each state’s wrongful death laws limit who can bring the lawsuit.
Understanding wrongful death
Per Wisconsin wrongful death laws, death is defined as wrongful when it is caused by another person or entity’s wrongful or negligent actions. Were the victim to survive their injuries, they would have brought a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant.
Wrongful death can result from a car crash where the defendant was drunk, distracted or violated traffic laws resulting in a fatal accident. It can also result from medical malpractice, a slip-and-fall or criminal actions like manslaughter, murder or other actions.
Suing for wrongful death
A loved one’s sudden death can throw your life into disarray. Unfortunately, the law restricts who can sue for wrongful death. Here are the parties that can bring this type of lawsuit:
- The victim’s spouse or domestic partner
- The victim’s children or grandchildren
- The victim’s parents or grandparents
- The victim’s siblings
In the absence of parties, the victim’s estate representative may bring the lawsuit.
So how long do you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Per the state’s statute of limitations, you have up to three years after your loved one’s death to file the lawsuit. This time limit applies to wrongful deaths that arise from actions that do not involve car accidents. If the death is caused by actions other than a car crash, however, then you have up to two years to file your claim.
Wrongful death laws can be confusing, to say the least. Understanding how the state’s wrongful death laws work can help you safeguard your rights while holding the defendant liable.