893.54(2m) (2m)An action brought to recover damages for death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another and arising from an accident involving a motor vehicle shall be commenced within 2 years after the cause of action accrues or be barred.
893.54 History History: 1979 c. 323; 2015 a. 133.
893.54 Note Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section is derived from previous s. 893.205 but was amended to eliminate language now covered by newly created s. 893.07. (See note to s. 893.07). [Bill 326-A]
893.54 Annotation Because the parents' claim arising from an injury to their minor child was filed along with the child's claim within the time period for the child's claim under s. 893.18, the parents' claim was not barred by this section. Korth v. American Family Insurance Co., 115 Wis. 2d 326, 340 N.W.2d 494 (1983).
893.54 Annotation This section and s. 893.80 both apply to personal injury actions against governmental entities. Schwetz v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, 126 Wis. 2d 32, 374 N.W.2d 241 (Ct. App. 1985).
893.54 Annotation When a plaintiff's early subjective lay person's belief that a furnace caused the injury was contradicted by examining physicians, the cause of action against the furnace company did not accrue until the plaintiff's suspicion was confirmed by later medical diagnosis. Borello v. U.S. Oil Co., 130 Wis. 2d 397, 388 N.W.2d 140 (1986).
893.54 Annotation While adoptive parents were aware of the possibility that their child might develop a disease in the future, a cause of action did not accrue until the child was diagnosed as having the disease. Meracle v. Children's Service Society of Wisconsin, 149 Wis. 2d 19, 437 N.W.2d 532 (1989).
893.54 Annotation When a doctor initially diagnosed a defective prosthesis, but advised surgery as the only way to determine what exactly was wrong, the plaintiff's cause of action against the prosthesis manufacturer accrued when the diagnosis was confirmed by surgery. S.J.D. v. Mentor Corp., 159 Wis. 2d 261, 463 N.W.2d 873 (Ct. App. 1990).
893.54 Annotation The brain damaged accident victim's cause of action accrued when the victim discovered, or when a person of the same degree of mental and physical handicap under the same or similar circumstances should have discovered, the injury, its cause and nature, and the defendants' identities. Carlson v. Pepin County, 167 Wis. 2d 345, 481 N.W.2d 498 (Ct. App. 1992).
893.54 Annotation Claimed ignorance of, and a blatant failure to follow, applicable regulations cannot be construed as reasonable diligence in discovering an injury when following the rule would have resulted in earlier discovery. Stroh Die Casting Co. v. Monsanto Co., 177 Wis. 2d 91, 502 N.W.2d 132 (Ct. App. 1993).
893.54 Annotation The discovery rule does not allow a plaintiff to delay the statute of limitations until the extent of the injury is known. The statute begins to run when the plaintiff has sufficient evidence that a wrong has been committed by an identified person. Pritzlaff v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 194 Wis. 2d 302, 533 N.W.2d 780 (1995).
893.54 Annotation A claim of repressed memory does not indefinitely toll the statute of limitations nor delay the accrual of a cause of action, regardless of the victim's minority or the position of trust occupied by the alleged perpetrator. Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 211 Wis. 2d 312, 565 N.W.2d 94 (1997), 94-0423.
893.54 Annotation Parents' claims for injury resulting from the sexual assault of their child accrue when the child's claims accrue, regardless of when the parents learn of their claims. Joseph W. v. Catholic Diocese of Madison, 212 Wis. 2d 925, 569 N.W.2d 795 (Ct. App. 1997), 96-2220.
893.54 Annotation Section 893.53 is the state's general and residual personal injury statute of limitations and is applicable to 42 USC 1983 actions. Hemberger v. Bitzer, 216 Wis. 2d 509, 574 N.W.2d 656 (1998), 96-2973.
893.54 Annotation The diagnosis of a non-malignant asbestos-related lung pathology did not trigger the statute of limitations with respect to a later-diagnosed, distinct malignant asbestos-related condition. Because the malignancy could not have been predicted when an earlier action relating to the non-malignant condition was dismissed on the merits, the doctrine of claim preclusion was not applied to bar the plaintiff's action. Sopha v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., 230 Wis. 2d 212, 601 N.W.2d 627 (1999), 98-1343.
893.54 Annotation The statute of limitations for subrogation claims is the statute of limitations on the underlying tort. Schwittay v. Sheboygan Falls Mutual Ins. Co., 2001 WI App 140, 246 Wis. 2d 385, 630 N.W.2d 772, 00-2445.
893.54 Annotation Even though a plaintiff might plead and testify to having suffered emotional distress on account of a lawyer's malpractice, that fact does not convert the claim into one seeking redress for injuries to the person. The underlying injuries in a legal malpractice claim are to rights and interests of a plaintiff that go beyond, or at least are different from, injuries to the plaintiff's person under this section. Hicks v. Nunnery, 2002 WI App 87, 253 Wis. 2d 721, 643 N.W.2d 809, 01-0751.
893.54 Annotation Knowing that a particular product caused an injury, an injured party cannot extend the accrual date for a cause of action against the product's manufacturer due to the subsequent discovery of possible connections between that product and another manufacturer's product in causing the injury. Baldwin v. Badger Mining Corp., 2003 WI App 95, 264 Wis. 2d 301, 663 N.W.2d 382, 02-1197.
893.54 Annotation Claims of negligent supervision made against an archdiocese for injuries caused by sexual assaults by priests are derivative of the underlying sexual molestations by the priests. As claims for injuries resulting from sexual assault accrue by the time of the last incident of sexual assault, the derivative claims accrue, as a matter of law, by the time of the last incident of sexual assault. Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 2007 WI 95, 303 Wis. 2d 34, 734 N.W.2d 827, 05-1945.
893.54 Annotation A derivative claim for damages due to wrongful death is controlled by the specific statute of limitations for medical malpractice, s. 893.55, rather than the general wrongful death statute of limitations, this section, and accrues on the same date as the medical negligence action on which it is based—the date of injury, not the date of death. Estate of Genrich v. OHIC Insurance Co., 2009 WI 67, 318 Wis. 2d 553, 769 N.W.2d 481, 07-0541.
893.54 Annotation When an action to recover damages for injuries to the person is commenced as a counterclaim pursuant to s. 893.14, the statute of limitations established by this section applies. Donaldson v. West Bend Mutual Insurance Co., 2009 WI App 134, 321 Wis. 2d 244, 773 N.W.2d 470, 08-2289.
893.54 Annotation The discovery rule continues to apply to wrongful death claims in the only way in which it reasonably can: by permitting those claims to accrue on the date the injury is discovered or with reasonable diligence should be discovered by the wrongful death beneficiary, whichever occurs first. Christ v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 2015 WI 58, 362 Wis. 2d 668, 866 N.W.2d 602, 12-1493.
893.54 Annotation An action for a permanent nuisance must be filed within the applicable statutes of limitations, but an action for a continuing nuisance may be maintained beyond the ordinary statutes of limitations. The appropriate factors to consider in deciding whether a nuisance is continuing are: 1) whether it constitutes an ongoing or repeated disturbance or harm; and 2) whether it can be discontinued or abated. If both factors are present, a nuisance is deemed to be continuing. In this case, the plaintiffs' claims for nuisance based on personal injury were barred by sub. (1m) (a) because the wind turbines alleged to have caused their injuries were no longer causing ongoing or repeated disturbance or harm after the plaintiffs moved out of their homes and their physical symptoms ceased and therefore did not constitute a continuous nuisance. Enz v. Duke Energy Renewable Services, Inc., 2023 WI App 24, 407 Wis. 2d 728, 991 N.W.2d 423, 21-0989.
893.54 Annotation The tractor-trailer at issue in this case was a “motor vehicle" for purposes of sub. (2m). The definitions of motor vehicle set forth in ss. 340.01 (35), 344.01 (2) (b), and 632.32 (2) (at) all recognize that a combination vehicle that includes both a self-propelled unit and an attached trailer qualifies as a single motor vehicle. Estate of Wiemer v. Zeeland Farm Services, Inc., 2023 WI App 47, 409 Wis. 2d 131, 995 N.W.2d 802, 22-1346.
893.54 Annotation In this case, the plaintiff climbed on top of a gravity-operated hopper trailer in an attempt to break apart compacted corn gluten, fell into the body of the trailer, became entrapped in the flow of corn gluten inside the trailer, and was smothered. Under the unambiguous language of sub. (2m), the accident “involved" a motor vehicle. Moreover, the plaintiff was “using" or “operating" the tractor-trailer at the time of death. Estate of Wiemer v. Zeeland Farm Services, Inc., 2023 WI App 47, 409 Wis. 2d 131, 995 N.W.2d 802, 22-1346.
893.54 Annotation A death arises from an accident for purposes of sub. (2m) if the death originates from an accident—in other words, if there is a causal relationship between an accident and the death. Estate of Wiemer v. Zeeland Farm Services, Inc., 2023 WI App 47, 409 Wis. 2d 131, 995 N.W.2d 802, 22-1346.
893.54 Annotation Federal civil rights actions under 42 USC 1983 are best characterized as personal injury actions. Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 105 S. Ct. 1938, 85 L. Ed. 2d 254 (1985).
893.54 Annotation The residual or general personal injury statute of limitations applies to 42 USC 1983 actions. Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235, 109 S. Ct. 573, 102 L. Ed. 2d 594 (1989).
893.54 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See also the notes to s. 893.53 for additional treatments of 42 USC 1983.
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2021-22 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2023 Wis. Act 272 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on July 9, 2024. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after July 9, 2024, are designated by NOTES. (Published 7-9-24)