Wisconsin state senator, Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee), is trying to expand medical malpractice law again. Last year, Harris Dodd unsuccessfully tried to strike down a state law that allows only spouses, minor children, and parents of minor children to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit for wrongful death.

Comparatively, most other states allow adult children, parents of adult children, and other closely-related affected parties to sue based on a loved one’s death. Previous attempts to change the law to allow parents and adult children to sue were met with strong opposition by the medical, insurance, and business lobbies.

Harris Dodd’s previous bill failed at the committee level. This time around, Harris Dodd is scaling down her proposal with the hope that it will have a greater chance of success. Harris Dodd is proposing that the state law be expanded only to allow lawsuits from parents of children who die before age 27 years due to malpractice.

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“A parent should not have to suffer having lost a child without having their day in court,” Harris Dodd said to the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.  

The state ban on adult children suing medical personal over the death of their parents would still exist.

Ann Latner, JD, a former criminal defense attorney, is a freelance medical writer in Port Washington, N.Y. 


  1. Spivak C. (28 June 2014). Medical malpractice lawsuits plummet in Wisconsin. Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. Retrieved from http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/medical-malpractice-lawsuits-plummet-in-wisconsin-b99290329z1-264436841.html