La Crosse Wrongful Death Attorneys
The tragic death of a loved one in a preventable accident in La Crosse takes a heavy toll. Motor vehicle collisions on I-90, aviation mishaps at the La Crosse Regional Airport, pedestrian accidents near the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse campus, and countless other circumstances that cut short a life, leave behind a void that can’t be filled in the lives of families and communities.
In the aftermath of a senseless loss caused by the careless actions of someone other than the victim, grieving spouses and families can trust the experienced wrongful death attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers to see justice done. We fight to hold at-fault parties financially accountable when their actions take the life of a La Crosse resident, worker, or visitor.
Money damages cannot heal the loss of a loved one, but they can provide essential financial support during a difficult time. Contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for your free consultation with our compassionate, knowledgeable La Crosse wrongful death attorneys.
About Our Law Firm
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers is a personal injury law firm serving clients in La Crosse and throughout Wisconsin. Since our founding in 2007, we have earned a reputation as a team of client-focused, community-oriented trial lawyers who know how to get results.
We have achieved a total of more than $38 million in financial recoveries for clients who have suffered injuries and losses in a wide array of preventable accidents, incidents, and scenarios.
Our historic success as a law firm does not guarantee how future cases we handle will turn out. It does, however, show that our clients can trust us to guide them through the difficult time following a devastating loss and secure them the financial compensation their family needs.
Wrongful Death Matters We Handle
A wide range of La Crosse-area accidents and mishaps can lead to a victim suffering fatal injuries.
The team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help spouses and families seek justice and compensation when their loved ones perish in:
- Motor vehicle accidents, which every year take an average of seven lives in La Crosse County, and around 580 lives statewide, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation;
- Incidents involving defective products ranging from dangerous drugs to faulty appliances to poorly-designed industrial machinery;
- Aviation accidents in the skies around LaCrosse and on the ground at La Crosse Regional Airport;
- Falls from heights, which can happen at construction sites, at homes, in hotels, and around any other multi-story building;
- Boating accidents on the Mississippi River, the Black River, Lake Onalaska, and other La Crosse-area water bodies;
- Toxic exposures, including acute poisoning that sickens a victim immediately, and a long-term exposure that leads to fatal illness; and
- Building fires in which victims perish because property owners failed to follow proper safety practices.
These are just some of the incidents that can result in a tragic loss of life in La Crosse. No matter what circumstances cut short your loved one’s life, we invite you to contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to learn about your rights.
Suing for Wrongful Death in La Crosse
A wrongful death is a death caused by someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions that, had they not resulted in the victim’s death, would have entitled the victim to sue the wrongdoer for damages.
Wisconsin law authorizes a spouse, family member, and/or a personal representative of a deceased person to file a lawsuit called a wrongful death action whenever a wrongful death occurs, provided the death was caused in Wisconsin.
A wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for the harm caused to the people closest to the deceased person by the death itself, such as the loss of the deceased person’s companionship, guidance, or consortium. Since death can harm multiple people at once—spouses, children, and other dependents, for example—a wrongful death action effectively belongs to all of them, and the law generally entitles them to share any money recovered through the lawsuit.
Separately, Wisconsin law also authorizes the personal representative of a deceased individual to file a lawsuit called a survival action. This lawsuit seeks compensation for the harm the deceased individual suffered before death. The lawsuit belongs to the deceased individual’s estate, rather than to a surviving spouse or family member.
Accordingly, any money recovered in a survival typically goes first to pay any debts the deceased individual left, then gets distributed from the estate according to the deceased individual’s will (if one exists) or as required by Wisconsin law (when no will exists).
As a legal matter, a wrongful death action and a survival action constitute two separate lawsuits. As a practical matter, however, most of the time wrongful death and survival actions get combined in a single lawsuit. For simplicity, lawyers frequently use the term “wrongful death” to refer to this combined legal action.
How We Help Families Confront a Wrongful Death in La Crosse
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers represents family members and personal representatives in taking legal action after a wrongful death. The steps we may take on our clients’ behalf in those actions may vary, depending on the circumstances and their needs.
In general, however, our team possesses the know-how and resources to:
- Investigate the accident or incident that led to a wrongful death. We frequently work with forensic, medical, and other experts to help us dig deep into the facts of what happened.
- Determine which individuals, businesses, organizations, or other parties played a role in causing the accident or incident leading to death, such that they should bear legal and financial responsibility for it;
- Plan a strategy for securing wrongful death compensation through insurance claims, lawsuits, or other measures;
- Communicate our recommendations to our clients, answer their questions, and guide them through any choices they must make about how to proceed;
- Execute on the strategy we have selected in consultation with our clients, such as by filing lawsuits or demanding compensation from insurers;
- Negotiate settlements that fairly compensate our clients whenever possible;
- Litigate wrongful death cases in Wisconsin courts when necessary to achieve a fair outcome; and
- Collect monies due to our clients from insurance companies and at-fault parties.
As we mentioned above, we cannot guarantee results for our clients. However, our compassionate, experienced can promise to provide personalized, thoughtful, and accurate guidance to every client mourning the loss of a loved one, and to fight tirelessly to achieve the most favorable outcome possible in every case.
Frequently Asked Questions About La Crosse Wrongful Death Cases
People who seek our help after a loved one tragically dies in La Crosse tend to have lots of questions about how we can help them, and what they can expect from the process of seeking justice and accountability for a wrongful death. We answer some of the most common of those questions below. To speak with a La Crosse legal professional who can answer specific questions about your circumstances, contact us today.
Who am I allowed to sue for causing a wrongful death?
Wisconsin law generally entitles spouses and close family members to sue anyone who causes a wrongful death to a loved one, including individuals, businesses, and government and public entities. What matters is that the evidence shows that the person sued, or an employee or representative of a business or organization you sue, acted in a wrongful manner that caused your loved one’s death.
- A motorist who causes a fatal accident while texting-and-driving;
- The employer of a commercial driver who crashes a work vehicle while recklessly speeding;
- A bar or restaurant that serves alcohol to a minor who then causes a fatal drunk driving accident;
- A property owner who fails to keep a building up to fire code, leading to fatalities in a fire; and
- A manufacturer of a dangerously defective product that fails, causing someone’s death.
These are just a few examples. Contact the team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers today to begin exploring who may have liability to you and your family for your loved one’s wrongful death.
What compensation can I recover for my spouse’s wrongful death in La Crosse?
Recall that two types of lawsuit can arise from your spouse’s death: a wrongful death action and a survival action.
In the wrongful death action, you may have the right to recover:
- Pecuniary damages that compensate you for expenses and financial losses flowing from your loved one’s death, such as medical costs related to emergency care, the cost of a funeral and burial, and loss of income, financial support, or the value of your spouse’s household labors.
- Non-pecuniary damages that you suffered because of the death, such as the loss of your spouse’s guidance, companionship, or consortium.
- Sometimes, punitive damages that punish the wrongful acts that led to your spouse’s death.
In the survival action, on behalf of your spouse’s estate, you may also have the right to seek payment for:
- Expenses incurred by your spouse before death due to someone’s wrongful actions, such as medical care for injuries that your spouse initially survived, but which ultimately caused your spouse’s death;
- Wages and income your spouse lost before death because of someone wrongful actions;
- Your spouse’s pain and suffering before death; and
- Sometimes, punitive damages.
It is difficult to predict which of these damages you may recover, and in what amounts, without knowing the specifics of your case. To learn more, contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers today.
My loved one died in a work accident. What are my rights?
You may have the right to receive workers’ compensation death benefits from the workers’ compensation insurance policy carried by your loved one’s employer. Most La Crosse employers have a legal duty to purchase this insurance for their employees, which covers them for medical costs and lost income resulting from a work-related injury or illness.
These policies must include coverage for a work-related death, which will typically result in payment of death benefits that replace a portion of your loved one’s wages, as well as funeral and burial expenses. Importantly, the law may entitle you to workers’ compensation death benefits even if your loved one caused the accident that resulted in his or her death.
You may also file a wrongful death and survival action for additional damages if your loved one’s death resulted from the wrongful actions of someone other than an employer or coworker.
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers in La Crosse can help grieving spouses and families pursue both types of compensation after the work-related death of a loved one.
How much will it cost to hire a lawyer for a La Crosse wrongful death case?
Usually nothing, unless the lawyer gets you results.
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, for example, we offer a free consultation to anyone who wants to learn more about their rights to compensation after the death of a loved one in a preventable accident. In a consultation, the lawyer can learn about what happened to your loved one, and give you an initial read on whether you have a case.
Lawyers who represent spouses and families in La Crosse wrongful death actions also virtually always take the cases on contingency. This means that the lawyers charge no money upfront or as a case proceeds. Instead, they do their work in exchange for receiving a percentage of any money their efforts succeed in securing for their clients. They do not get paid, in other words, unless their clients get paid.
Never let your financial worries keep you from speaking with the caring wrongful death lawyers at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers. We’re here to help in any way we can, and we won’t charge you a dime unless we win for you.
Your Compassionate, Experienced La Crosse Wrongful Death Lawyers
In the difficult days and weeks after losing a family member to a tragic accident, you deserve to have a caring, knowledgeable lawyer by your side who can help you seek justice done. Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers in La Crosse is that kind of law firm. Contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers online or call us at 608-527-0876 to learn how we can help you and your family during this challenging time.