Trucking Wrongful Death in Wisconsin: Seeking Compensation After a Tragic Loss
Truck accidents can be devastating due to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles. Unfortunately, when tractor-trailers or other commercial vehicles are involved in crashes with much smaller and lighter passenger vehicles at highway speeds, many of these accidents result in the death of the motor vehicle driver. If you lost a spouse or a loved one in a trucking accident caused by the fault of the truck driver or trucking company, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your spouse’s or loved one’s injuries and your family’s losses through a trucking wrongful death claim.
Understanding Trucking Wrongful Death Claims in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, a wrongful death claim is a civil action that you can bring when your spouse dies because of negligence or wrongful conduct of another person or entity. Many types of accidents can qualify for wrongful death claims, including trucking accidents. However, the negligence portion of a trucking wrongful death claim is crucial. To pursue a wrongful death claim, your spouse or loved one cannot be the majority at fault in causing the truck accident that led to his or her death. Another party or entity, or even multiple parties, must be at fault for causing the accident.
Depending upon the circumstances, you can seek to hold the truck driver, trucking company, manufacturer of a defective part or truck, or trucking repair or inspection company liable for your spouse’s or family member’s death in a Wisconsin wrongful death claim.
Who Can File a Trucking Wrongful Death Claim in Wisconsin?
Under Wisconsin law, not everyone is entitled to bring a wrongful death claim. Instead, there is a hierarchy of claimants:
- Surviving Spouse or Domestic Partner: If the deceased is survived by a spouse or domestic partner, they may bring a wrongful death claim.
- Surviving Spouse/Domestic Partner and Minor Children: If the deceased dies leaving both a surviving spouse/domestic partner and minor children, the court must approve any wrongful death settlement to ensure the interests of the minor children are adequately protected.
- Surviving Children: If the deceased is not survived by a spouse or domestic partner, but is survived by children, whether minor or adult, the children may pursue a wrongful death claim.
- Surviving Parents: If there is no surviving spouse/domestic partner or surviving children, then the deceased’s parents may bring the wrongful death claim.
- Minor Siblings: If none of the above situations apply, then any minor siblings can bring a wrongful death claim, but adult siblings may not.
If none of these scenarios fit, then no one can bring a wrongful death claim.
Damages in Trucking Wrongful Death Claims in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, both economic and non-economic compensation may be recovered in connection with a wrongful death claim. The damages that can be sought include:
- Funeral and Burial Expenses: These expenses cover the costs associated with your spouse’s or domestic partner’s funeral and burial.
- Pecuniary Damages for Lost Wages: This compensation includes lost wages that your spouse or domestic partner sustained while recovering from his or her injuries, as well as for the loss of ongoing financial support that your spouse or domestic partner would have continued to provide to you and your family if he or she did not die in the truck accident.
- Damages for Loss of Household Services: If your spouse or domestic partner was providing household services, you may be entitled to compensation for the loss of these services.
- Loss of Society and Companionship: This compensation is for the loss of society and companionship that you and your family suffered due to the loss of your spouse or domestic partner. However, this amount may not exceed $350,000.
If the deceased is a minor child, his or her parents may recover up to $500,000 for the loss of the child’s society and companionship.
In addition to wrongful death claims, Wisconsin law also recognizes a survival claim on behalf of the deceased individual’s estate. An estate, through a personal representative or special administrator, may pursue a claim for medical expenses for treatment the deceased required as a result of the accident, and for any funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses. In addition, when the deceased experienced conscious pain and suffering as a result of the accident, an estate may recover compensation for that as well.
Wisconsin Statutes for Reference (Trucking Wrongful Death)
For a comprehensive understanding of injury laws in Wisconsin, please refer to the Wisconsin statutes.
Administrative Code for Understanding Damages. (Trucking Wrongful Death)
To gain insight into the various aspects of damages in wrongful death cases, you can explore the Administrative Code of Wisconsin.
Help with Trucking Wrongful Death Claims
If you’ve lost a spouse or a loved one in a Wisconsin trucking accident, it’s crucial to understand your rights and options. The legal process can be complex, and seeking professional guidance is essential. Attorney Phil Dahlberg at Dahlberg Law Group specializes in wrongful death cases and can provide you with the expert assistance you need during this challenging time. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. We are here to help you through the legal process and pursue the compensation you and your family deserve.