Who Gains the Money in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among Americans between the ages of 1 and 44. Nearly 90,000 people die each year due to injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents, falls, and more.

If your loved one died due to another person’s negligence, you may be eligible for a wrongful death claim. But who gains the money in a wrongful death lawsuit? Learn the answer to this question before you begin trying to earn a wrongful death settlement.

If your loved one died after sustaining unintentional injuries, speak with a personal injury attorney in Wisconsin. They can help your family decide if it would be worth filing a wrongful death case. You can file it against whoever was responsible for the accident that led to your loved one’s death.

Surviving Spouse or Domestic Partner

The Wrongful Death Statute of Wisconsin makes it simple for those in the state to answer the question, “Who gains the money in a wrongful death lawsuit?” A deceased person’s surviving spouse or their domestic partner typically lands at the top of this list.

A surviving spouse or a domestic partner is the primary beneficiary in a wrongful death case. They’re entitled to compensation due to their dependence on the deceased prior to their death.


The Wrongful Death Statute of Wisconsin gives precedence to a surviving spouse or domestic partner in a wrongful death case. But a deceased person’s children can also typically collect compensation. The statute states that any surviving children under the age of 18 can collect up to 50% of any financial compensation stemming from a wrongful death action.

Additionally, the statute states wrongful death settlements that involve surviving minor children must gain a judge’s approval. Wisconsin tends to take these cases very seriously.


When a wrongful death case is filed following the death of a minor, their parents will usually be the primary beneficiaries. Parents can take legal action against the parties responsible for the deaths of their children to help pay for medical bills, funeral costs, and more.

Parents may also be eligible to seek compensation for loss of society and companionship. There is, however, a cap on these damages set at $500,000 per deceased minor.


In many wrongful death causes, siblings can’t collect compensation. But Wisconsin Statute §895.04 states siblings can file wrongful death cases in certain instances.

Siblings can file if the deceased doesn’t have a surviving spouse, children, or any other lineal heirs, including parents and grandparents.

Contact Us To Discuss Your Wrongful Death Case With a Personal Injury Attorney

Answering the question, “Who gains the money in a wrongful death lawsuit?” might seem simple enough. Wrongful death cases are often complicated at times, though, especially when numerous family members believe they’re entitled to compensation.

Novitzke, Gust, Sempf, Whitley & Bergmanis can assist you with your wrongful death case. Call us at 715-268-6130 if you’re interested in hiring a personal injury lawyer to help.

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