An accident that causes an unexpected death is devastating to the entire family. An unexpected accident throws you into planning a funeral you did not want to plan and planning for life without the emotional and financial support of a loved one.
While contacting an attorney is probably the last thing on your mind, make it the first thing. Not only can the attorney help you with a wrongful death case, but by doing so they can give you time to do what you need to do in the initial days after the accident, including making funeral arrangements.
If you lost a loved one because of another’s negligence, contact a Green Bay wrongful death lawyer at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation.
- What Can a Green Bay Wrongful Death Lawyer Do for You?
- Wisconsin's Wrongful Death Laws
- How Long Do I Have to Take Legal Action if I Lost a Loved One in a Wrongful Death Accident?
- Common Causes of Wrongful Death
- Recovering Damages After a Wrongful Death
- Wrongful Death FAQ
- Contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers
What Can a Green Bay Wrongful Death Lawyer Do for You?
After an accident that caused a wrongful death, an attorney can help you through the steps you need to take immediately after the accident. He can also help you determine who the responsible parties are if there is more than one obvious person.
We also ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. While money does not bring back your loved one, it significantly reduces the financial stress, worrying about medical expenses, funeral expenses, probate expenses, paying the bills, and putting food on the table for your family.
Additionally, you won’t have to fight with the insurance company while grieving. We will do that for you. You won’t have to worry about getting a low-ball amount from some uncaring insurance company that only cares how much money it will lose.
Wisconsin's Wrongful Death Laws
If the actions or inactions of someone caused the death of a loved one, Wisconsin law allows you to file a “wrongful death” lawsuit against the at-fault person. If the action was criminal, the defendant could face criminal charges in addition to the civil lawsuit you could file. Our attorneys team up with investigators and other professionals to investigate the incident to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Wisconsin?
Not everyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wisconsin law states that the personal representative of the decedent’s estate must bring the lawsuit. If the decedent did not leave a will or otherwise name a personal representative, the decedent’s estate enters probate. The probate court will appoint a personal representative.
The spouse, parent, or child can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in some cases. If you are unsure as to whether you can take legal action or the personal representative has to take action, contact a Green Bay wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
How Long Do I Have to Take Legal Action if I Lost a Loved One in a Wrongful Death Accident?
The statute of limitations for wrongful death is three years. However, if a car accident caused the wrongful death, the plaintiff has two years to take legal action.
The statute starts running when:
- The injury that caused the death happened; or
- When the plaintiff discovered or could have reasonably discovered the injury.
Because the statute of limitations could start running before you expect, it is prudent to contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the death of your loved one.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death could happen any time, anywhere. A car accident, surgery-gone-wrong, or anything could take a loved one’s life. These situations are always unexpected. We can help you with a plan to move forward so that you have the finances to get back on your feet.
Common causes of wrongful death include:
- Car and truck accidents.
- Motorcycle accidents.
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
- Workplace accidents.
- Hospital negligence.
- Trip or slip and fall accidents.
- Accidents on another’s property.
- Nursing home neglect and/or negligence.
- Birth injuries leading to the death of the mother and/or child.
Recovering Damages After a Wrongful Death
The unexpected death of a loved one brings emotional turmoil, and the death can leave you with financial difficulties. You will have the immediate expenses of a funeral and burial, any medical expenses your loved one incurred from the accident and before death, pending household bills, and more.
You also may have worries about financial security when your loved one’s income no longer comes in. You might wonder how you will pay the mortgage and put food on the table. Your Green Bay wrongful death attorneys know to help you get through the process of recovering damages. At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Attorneys, we can help you through this difficult time and get through the process of recovering the compensation you deserve.
You can recover compensatory damages and, in some cases, punitive damages. The court orders compensatory damages as an attempt to make you whole again. It orders punitive damages if the defendant’s actions or inactions that caused your loved one’s wrongful death were grossly negligent or intentional. Compensatory damages consist of economic and non-economic damages.
The estate could recover economic damages after a wrongful death. Sometimes, death does not happen immediately. Instead, the injuries your loved one suffered in the accident took their life hours, days, or even months later. Your loved one most likely has extensive medical expenses that you wonder how to pay. When you take legal action against the person or entity that caused your loved one's death, you can recover those medical expenses and other damages.
Economic damages include:
Your settlement or trial award could include medical expenses incurred by your loved one from the time of the accident through the time of their death. Medical expenses include doctors' appointments, surgeries, prescriptions, ambulatory aids, physical therapy sessions, psychological therapy sessions, occupational therapy sessions, and cognitive therapy sessions.
If your loved one was working at the time of the accident, you could recover lost wages from the time of the accident until your loved one's death. You could also recover the loss of future earning capacity through the time they would have retired.
Suppose a car accident caused your loved one’s wrongful death. In that case, you could recover compensation to cover destroyed or damaged personal property, including the vehicle and anything of value in the vehicle.
You can also recover several death-related expenses, including funeral and burial expenses, cremation expenses, and certain probate court fees, including filing fees. If you retain a probate court attorney, you could recover the attorneys’ fees.
While non-economic damages do not have a readily assignable dollar value, the court orders the defendant to pay them in an attempt to make you whole again. We know that money does not bring back a loved one. However, the money significantly reduces the financial stress you are going through.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, which includes emotional distress
- Loss of companionship and/or consortium.
- Inconvenience, if you have to hire someone to do the chores your loved one did, including grocery shopping, house cleaning, lawn maintenance, and home repair and maintenance.
Wrongful Death FAQ
Do I Have a Wrongful Death Case or a Survival Action?
If the accident caused your loved one's death, you have a wrongful death case. A survival action is when you seek damages on behalf of a loved one that passed before they could take action on a claim for damages. You might have two cases: a wrongful death case and a survival action in some cases.
If My Loved One Suffered Before Dying of Accident Injuries, Can Their Estate Recover Pain and Suffering?
Yes. If the injuries cause extensive pain and suffering, because of your loved one's death, you can recover compensation for it.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
You must show that the defendant's actions were negligent, grossly negligent, or intentional and that those actions caused your loved one's death. You must also show that the surviving relatives suffered financial damages due to their loved one's death.
Who Gets the Money in a Wrongful Death Action?
The estate receives the settlement or trial award, and the estate then disburses the award according to the instructions and/or implied instructions left in the loved one's estate plan.
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Case Take?
There is no true answer. If the insurance company immediately settles for a fair and reasonable amount, it might take a few months, and it might take a year or more if the insurance company refuses to settle, and you have to go to court.
Why Do I Need a Green Bay Wrongful Death Lawyer?
After a wrongful death accident, an insurance company will most likely cover the defendant's liabilities. Insurance companies are in business to make money, and every claim they pay decreases their bottom lines. Thus, an insurance company will find any reason to deny your claim or try to get a discount on what they should pay, including blaming your loved one for their death.
Barring that, the insurance company will try to convince"you to take a pittance that would never cover all of your expenses. It does not care about you or your losses. It only cares about the money it will lose by paying your claim.
The experienced wrongful death attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers know the insurance companies’ tricks, and the lawyers for the insurance companies know this. Their lawyers are less likely to try to trick your attorney.
Additionally, wrongful death cases are complex, and one mistake could cause you to lose the compensation you deserve. With a Green Bay wrongful death attorney, you do not have to worry about filing documents in the proper format or missing a due date. You do not have to worry about going back and forth with the defendant’s insurance company or responding to pleadings the defendant might file, such as motions to dismiss. You can spend your time with your family.
How Much Does a Green Bay Wrongful Death Lawyer Cost?
Your initial case evaluation is free and without obligation. If you decide to retain us, we work on a contingency basis. Thus, if we do not win your case for you, you do not pay us.
How Long Does it Take to Get My Money After I Win a Settlement?
It could take a few weeks to get paid once you win. Once you and the defendant's insurance company agree to settle, one of the attorneys will draft a settlement agreement. You then review the settlement to ensure that everything is as you agreed. If not, your requested changes go back to the attorneys.
Once you and the defendant agree on the wording in the settlement agreement, you both sign the agreement. The insurance company then processes the agreement and cuts a check, and it forwards the check to your attorney, who then deposits it in an escrow account.
The attorney must wait until the check clears before taking the next step. This could take up to 14 days for large checks.
Once the check clears the bank, the attorney:
- Pays any outstanding medical expenses your loved one incurred before death
- Pays outstanding death-related expenses
- Reimburses your loved one’s health and vehicle insurance companies if applicable.
- Deducts his fees and costs
- Cuts you a check for the balance
Once the attorney hands or mails you the check, you are free to deposit it and use it as you wish.
Contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers
It is a stressful time for the family after the wrongful death of a loved one. You need the compensation you deserve but cannot bear to take on another chore.
You do not have to: We’ll do it for you. If you lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence, contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers in Green Bay at (920) 504-3655 as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.
Nicolet Law - Green Bay Office
2300 Riverside Dr,
Green Bay, WI 54301
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