If a loved one has passed away due to the conduct or negligence of another, then wrongful death has occurred. These situations are extremely difficult for the deceased loved ones and will leave many questions. While filing a claim for wrongful death will not bring back your loved one, it can help cover expenses for the decedent’s surviving spouse or other surviving family members. Here are the top five questions asked about wrongful death to help you through this difficult and confusing time.
1. What qualifies as wrongful death?
A wrongful death claim is defined as “the death of a person caused by the conduct or negligence of another.” However, the claim is not based on damages to the decedent. Instead, the claim is based on the surviving spouse, family members or even parents of the decedent.
Wrongful death may occur as the result of many types of accidents such as:
- Car crash
- Construction site accident
- Semi-truck collision
- Train accident
- Pedestrian-car collision
- Plane crash
- Slip, trip and fall
- Defective product
2. What is not wrongful death?
Based on the definition above, if the decedent passed away because of natural causes (not caused by the conduct or negligence of someone else), then the surviving family cannot file for wrongful death.
If you are unsure, connect with an attorney to discuss your situation to see what your options are. Each situation varies, so it is imperative to speak with a qualified attorney so you understand what kinds of legal assistance you can receive in this difficult time
3. What kind of compensation is the family entitled to?
A wrongful death claim is intended to recover expenses in the absence of the decedent. This includes expenses such as health benefits, loss of salary, pain and suffering and other factors that place burdens on the surviving family members or beneficiaries.
Below is a list of what kinds of damages surviving family members or beneficiaries may receive compensation for:
- Sorrow, mental anguish, and loss of solace which includes loss of society, companionship, comfort and guidance
- Any reasonably expected loss in income of the decedent suffered by the survivors/beneficiaries
- Any reasonably expected loss of services, protection, care, and/or assistance that the decedent provided to the survivors/beneficiaries
- Expenses for the care, treatment and hospitalization of the decedent incident to the injury resulting in death
- Reasonable funeral expenses
4. Do you need an attorney to file for wrongful death?
According to the Wisconsin State Legislature, “An action for wrongful death may be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person or by the person to whom the amount recovered belongs.”
Technically, you do not need an attorney to file for wrongful death claims. However, your case will go smoother if you have an experienced attorney on your side who has a clear understanding of Wisconsin law and your situation, especially when dealing with insurance companies who do not have your best interest at heart.
5. Can I rely on insurance companies for compensation?
In almost any legal situation, it is best practice to not rely solely on insurance companies. You should not accept a claim before you speak with an attorney. As stated above, while you do not have to hire an attorney, you will have the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve by hiring an experienced attorney who knows how to handle insurance companies.
Many large insurance companies have adopted settlement policies that encourage their adjusters to offer quick payments to persons involved in an accident. Insurance adjusters will contact you or your family shortly after an accident to try to gain your confidence. In doing so, insurance adjusters often try to present themselves as your friend. Unfortunately, insurance companies use this tactic to pay out as little as they possibly can.
Connect with Personal Injury Attorney Phil Dahlberg for Wrongful Death Compensation
Personal injury attorney Phil Dahlberg has the compassion and expertise to help you receive the wrongful death compensation you are entitled to. Phil will work with you to answer your questions and to help you understand your options. He will take the time to listen to your situation and will keep you updated throughout the entire process. Contact Phil today to set up a consultation.