The death of a loved one is a tragic experience irrespective of the circumstances. It can be even more devastating if the demise was caused due to someone else’s actions.
When someone dies or is killed due to another person’s negligence or misconduct, the surviving members of the deceased’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person responsible for their death.
In Minnesota, wrongful death is defined as a death that is “caused by the wrongful act or omission of any person or corporation.”
The filing of a wrongful death case is followed by a trial, where evidence is presented by both parties. However, the evidence is treated with a lower standard of proof compared to criminal cases.
Before going further into what wrongful death means in Minnesota, let’s understand the basics.
Personal Injury in Minnesota
A claim of personal injury in Minnesota is filed by the person who was hurt. The ultimate objective of filing a personal injury lawsuit is to receive monetary compensation for the injuries and losses endured from the responsible party.
Personal injury damages are of two types: economic and non-economic.
- Economic damages are tangible and, therefore, easy to calculate. They include costs related to medical and treatment bills, lost wages, vehicle or property repairs, and legal fees.
- Non-economic damages are intangible but cover compensation for very real losses. They include emotional/mental pain and suffering, disabilities, disfigurement, loss of companionship, and loss of quality of life.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Minnesota
A wrongful death lawsuit differs from a claim of personal injury in Minnesota. It is essentially filed by a family member of the individual killed due to another party’s negligence. This means that the lawsuit may be filed by the deceased’s parent or legal guardian, spouse, or child.
The damages that can be recovered from a wrongful death case differ by state. A demand letter or the Minnesota pain and suffering damages letter outlines the case facts and mentions a compensation amount to settle the case.
Broadly speaking, plaintiffs are liable to receive compensation for the following types of losses:
- The deceased’s expected future income along with benefits, such as pension or health insurance
- Medical costs incurred before death
- Funeral costs
- Burial costs
- Value of services/goods the deceased would have provided
- Survivors’ mental pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- An expected inheritance
A claim of wrongful death can arise due to several circumstances, including but not limited to:
- Medical malpractice or negligence leading to the victim’s death
- A vehicular accident
- Criminal conduct, including murder
- Use of a dangerous product
- Occupational exposure to hazardous environment or materials
- Death during a supervised activity
Components of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death case comprises the following elements:
- The death of an individual
- The death should be the result of another person’s negligence
- The death can also have occurred due to the other person’s intent to inflict harm
- The surviving members suffering monetary hardships due to the death of the victim
- The appointment of a representative for the deceased’s estate
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Minnesota?
Only the deceased’s spouse, child, or next of kin can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Minnesota. “Next of kin” typically refers to the deceased’s parents, siblings, and grandparents, but may include other family members as well.
To file a lawsuit, the eligible member should be appointed as a trustee by the Minnesota court. There are several legal considerations that go into determining who is and isn’t eligible for this. Hence, it is a good idea to consult an experienced wrongful death attorney in Minnesota about this matter.
Only a competent lawyer will be able to guide you through the complex legal maze and help you bring in your wrongful death claim with minimal hassles. Whether it is drafting the Minnesota pain and suffering damages letter or representing you in court, a reliable attorney can do it all and prove to be your best ally. Depending on your case facts, they will also devise a strategy to help maximize the compensation due to you.
Minnesota Statute of Limitations
Like all states, Minnesota has a set time limit within which the plaintiff may file a wrongful death case in court. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. In Minnesota, a wrongful death case should be filed within three years of the victim’s death. If you file the claim, later on, the court will likely not hear your case.
It is, however, important to remember that claims can also be filed as per the “discovery rule” exception if the cause of death was determined at a later date.
You may want to discuss your case details with a knowledgeable Minnesota wrongful death attorney, and find out if the exception is applicable to your claim.
The loss of a loved one can leave the surviving family members distraught. When death is caused due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of another person, it is even more painful. In such cases, you may be entitled to receive fair compensation for your losses and suffering. Working with an experienced Minnesota wrongful death lawyer can help you achieve positive outcomes in your case. Other than that, the above information should give you a basic understanding of what wrongful death cases entail and how they differ from cases of personal injury in Minnesota.
Speak with a Competent Minnesota Wrongful Death Lawyer Now
If you’ve lost a family member due to the negligent or wrongful actions of another, you need to speak to our team of wrongful death lawyers at the earliest. While no amount of money will replace your loved one’s presence, we will help you receive monetary compensation to ease your financial burden and bring the responsible party to justice. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 855-762-6548 or contact us through our online form.