It is almost impossible to deal with the unexpected death of a relative or close friend. It is hard enough when doctors and estate planners help us prepare for the event. When one must face the painful reality of a lost life, financial compensation may be the only comfort left to find.

This is why survivors of people who died due to other people’s actions or negligence have the right under Wisconsin law to seek damages in civil court or get them through negotiations or settlements before a case goes to a jury trial. Any party with liability may be named as a defendant, although those parties also have the right to fight those civil charges.

A judge in Dane County declined to dismiss a lawsuit regarding the death of a firefighter on duty brought by his widow. The piece of Badger State law that was contested in the hearing is the “firefighter’s rule,” which enjoins emergency service personnel and their survivors for suing for damages regarding injuries or death in the line of duty.

The plaintiff’s attorneys argued that the private companies defending themselves had failed to meet maintenance guidelines that would have prevented death and injuries. The judge said that the public policy questions at the heart of the matter were too important to ignore, allowing the case to continue.

The relatives or executors of people killed unexpectedly in accidents may seek the counsel of an attorney. A lawyer can help plan the approach to financial damages, including reimbursement for related costs and compensation for some of the emotional pain brought by the loss of a life.