Back in 2009, a group of Wisconsin residents went snowmobiling in Michigan at the Hiawatha National Forest. During the trip, several snowmobiles collided at an intersection, resulting in fatal injuries to a Wisconsin man. The snowmobiler’s wife filed a wrongful death action in a Wisconsin court, alleging negligence on the part of the other snowmobilers involved in the accident. The defendants in the case argued that Wisconsin’s wrongful death statute, which limits non-economic damages to $350,000, applied to the case. Initially, the Ozaukee County Court agreed with the defendants. On appeal, the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin ruled that, because Michigan law created the snowmobiler’s wife’s cause of action, Michigan law applied to the case. The Michigan wrongful death statute does not limit non-economic damages. Read the entire court of appeals opinion here.
The Wisconsin personal injury attorneys of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. are pleased that the snowmobiler’s wife will be able to recover her full amount of damages, without being limited by the Wisconsin wrongful death statute. We believe that artificial and arbitrary limits on damages are wrong, and that it should be for the court and the jury to decide the proper amount of damages.