Minnesota Wrongful Death Lawyers
The personal injury lawyers at Hall Law are experts in handling death accident cases. A claim for wrongful death arises when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful conduct or negligence of another. Under Minnesota law, the claim is not based on damages to the decedent, but rather is based on the losses experienced by the surviving family members as a result of the death. In most cases the surviving family members experience tremendous losses by reason of the death of their loved one. These losses include all of the benefits each of the surviving family members would reasonably have expected to receive from the decedent, including such items as the future economic support, the care, the counsel, the advice and the companionship the decedent would have provided had he lived. The personal injury attorneys at Hall Law understand that the death of a loved one as a result of someone’s negligence is a loss which financial compensation can never replace, however understanding that, our attorneys handle these cases with compassion and understanding and a determination to obtain just compensation.
Such claims may occur as the result of many types of accidents such as car crashes, construction site accidents, semi truck collisions, train accidents, pedestrian accidents, plane crashes, slip, trip and fall accidents, farm accidents, fires, explosions and product failures.
Having handled numerous wrongful death lawsuits, our attorneys understand the issues unique to wrongful death litigation and have a proven track record of success in this area. We will fight to the end to make sure you and your family are fully compensated for your losses, we will take on insurance companies and major corporations, go to trial and take care of every detail so you and your family can concentrate on healing.
Often it is vital to act swiftly after an accident has occurred in order to gather essential evidence and to address other important factors. If a loved one has suffered a fatal accident as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing, please call our office for free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys about your wrongful death claim. 1-800-292-1979 Our lawyers will be happy to discuss your options with you.
Minnesota law requires that a trustee be appointed by the court to make the wrongful death claim on behalf of all of the next of kin. Normally the family selects someone to act on behalf of the family and the court appoints the person selected by the family to act as trustee. Once appointed, the trustee is authorized to act on behalf of all of the next of kin in making the wrongful death claim. The trustee has the authority to do whatever is legally necessary to make the wrongful death claim and bring it to a conclusion, including negotiating a settlement or starting and prosecuting a lawsuit if settlement is not possible. Any recovery obtained by the trustee is for the benefit of all of the family members.
Types of Damages Recoverable
Wrongful death damages are intended to compensate survivors for the harm resulting from the death of a family member. In general surviving family members are entitled to recover the following types of damages:
- Direct Costs – medical expenses, funeral costs.
- Economic Losses – any economic benefits they would have received from the decedent had they lived, such as a share of the future earnings, pension and retirement benefits of the decedent.
- Loss of Companionship – surviving family members are entitled to compensation for the loss of comfort, assistance, guidance, advice and companionship resulting from their loved one’s death.
- Punitive Damages – where a defendant’s behavior is especially egregious, such defendant may be responsible for punitive damages (damages which are intended to punish a defendant for their wrongful conduct).
Determining the Amount Recoverable
In determining the amount a claimant should recover, a jury is instructed to “determine an amount of money that will fairly and adequately compensate [the claimants] for the losses [they] suffered as a result of this death.” CIVJIG 91.75 In making this determination, jurors are specifically asked to consider: (1) the decedent’s life expectancy at the time of death, (2) the decedent’s health, age, habits, talents, and success, (3) the decedent’s occupation, and (4) the decedent’s future earning capacity.
Distribution of Damages
Minnesota law requires that the recovery be divided up among the next of kin according to their respective losses. The determination of each party’s pro-rata share is made by the court. Normally however, the family members agree on how to divide the recovery among themselves and the court simply adopts the family’s agreement regarding the division.
Wrongful Death FAQs
A claim for wrongful death arises when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful conduct or negligence of another.
Minnesota law requires that a trustee be appointed by the court to make the wrongful death claim on behalf of all of the next of kin.
The length of a wrongful death case will depend on the circumstances. The duration of such cases can range from several months to many years. Variables that effect the duration will include the complexity of the case, and the extent to which the parties agree or disagree on liability and damages.
Preserve Your Rights
When a member of your family has been killed as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is important to act quickly in order to gather and preserve essential evidence and to address other critical and time sensitive considerations. If you have a potential wrongful death claim, please call us and speak with one of our personal injury attorneys to ensure your rights are preserved.