The Minneapolis wrongful death lawyers at Hall Law are experts in handling fatal accidents. 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.

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Why Choose Us?

An experienced wrongful death attorney is imperative to a legal case that involves the loss of a loved one. Our attorneys at Hall Law, P.A. have helped families recover compensation for damages caused by the loss of a loved family member. 

The experienced attorneys at Hall Law P.A. have more than thirty five years of experience assisting surviving members of a family that has lost a family member too soon. The firm has successfully navigated cases through settlements and verdicts to help offset the damages caused by the untimely death of a loved one. 

The verdicts and settlements speak volumes about the work at the firm. The Minneapolis personal injury attorneys have helped secure several verdicts and settlements that surpass seven and eight figure sums.

  • Record setting results for previous clients has given our firm a high reputation as no nonsense lawyers that do not back away from a legal matter
  • Our attorneys prepare all of the cases as if they are headed for trial. This approach allows the attorneys to form highly convincing arguments to help our client’s best interests
  • Our firm works on a contingency fee and plaintiffs are only responsible for fees if the case settles or reaches a successful verdict in our client’s favor

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.

It is often 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  attorneys about your wrongful death claim at (800) 292-1979. Our lawyers will be happy to discuss your options with you.

What Qualifies as Wrongful Death? 

Under Minnesota law, a wrongful death is defined as a death “caused by the wrongful act or omission of any person or corporation,” and that if the deceased person had lived, they would have had the right to file a personal injury lawsuit (Minn. Stat. § 573.02 (2021). However, since the deceased is unable to bring a personal injury claim, someone else can step in their place to file a wrongful death lawsuit. As a result, surviving family members are given the option to seek justice on behalf of a loved one who was killed due to an act of carelessness or violence. 

What are Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths?

Grounds for a wrongful death claim can arise from many types of preventable accidents. Some of the most common include:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents are a leading cause of wrongful deaths in Minneapolis and throughout Minnesota. Unfortunately, most fatal collisions are preventable and a result of one driver behaving recklessly, such as texting while driving, speeding, driving while intoxicated, aggressive behaviors such as weaving through traffic or running red lights, etc. 

Medical Malpractice

When a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider causes or contributes to a patient’s death due to a significant error or failing to provide the expected level of care, they may be legally liable. Common examples of medical errors that lead to wrongful death include misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose an illness, prescription medication errors, surgical errors, birth injuries, and more.

Workplace Accidents

When an employer fails to provide a reasonably safe work environment or another third contributes to an accident that causes a worker’s death, the family may have a wrongful death claim against those responsible. Workers in high-risk occupations, such as construction or manufacturing, are at an increased risk of being severely or fatally injured. 

Defective Products

If a defective product is unreasonably dangerous and causes a consumer’s death, the manufacturer, distributor, seller, or any other party involved in the distribution of the product may be liable. Examples of defective products that are commonly involved in wrongful death claims are dangerous vehicle parts, appliances that burst into flames, and defective furniture that tips over. 

Other common causes of wrongful deaths include truck, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents, and violent crimes.  

What Is a Trustee in a Wrongful Death in Minnesota?

Who can file a wrongful death suit in Minnesota is slightly unique compared to other states. 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.

The next of kin that has the right to petition the court to appoint a trustee depends on which of the deceased’s blood relatives are still alive. Here are some common scenarios: 

  • The spouse or parents if the deceased was married and did not have children 
  • The spouse or children if the deceased was married with children 
  • A child if the deceased was not married with children 
  • Either parent of the deceased if they were not married and had no children
  • A sibling if the deceased was not married, had no children, and the parents are deceased

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.

How Are Damages Determined in a Wrongful Death Case?

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.

What Kinds of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim in Minneapolis?

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).

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to offset several types of damages that are easily calculated. These damages can include.

  • Property damage
  • Past and future medical bills
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of benefits and insurance

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more difficult than economic damages to calculate as they are more nuanced and subjective in nature. Non-economic damages do not have a fiscal amount tied to them and are intended to help offset the pain and suffering caused by the loss of a loved one. Non-economic damages can include:

Punitive Damages

In especially malicious or egregious wrongful death cases, punitive damages may be awarded a plaintiff. Minnesota Statute 549.20 outlines when punitive damages can be awarded. In the event that a defendant’s actions were deliberate and disregarded the safety of others, punitive damages can be awarded. Punitive damages are intended to punish a person’s actions that resulted in a serious injury or death.

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How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Minnesota?

The time limit to file a wrongful death claim can vary dependent on the circumstances involving the death. This time limit, legally known as the statute of limitations, can vary between three and six years.

In the event that the death was caused by medical malpractice or negligence, the death must be filed within three years of the death and within four years of the negligent act.

Most cases involving a wrongful death will have a statute of limitations of three years. However, if the wrongful death resulted from homicide, there is no time limit to file a wrongful death claim to recover damages.

Should I Wait to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

No – filing a claim that involves the death of a loved one should be done shortly after the death of a loved one. Once a family has grieved and mourned for the loss of a loved one, it is an appropriate time to pursue damages associated with the wrongful death Filing a claim quickly after the death of a loved one can help witnesses better remember the facts leading up to the accident. The quicker the surviving members of the family file the wrongful death claim, the faster a resolution can be reached.

How are Damages Distributed After a Wrongful Death?

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.

Contact Us

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, please understand that assistance is available to recover damages for what was lost. Our Minneapolis wrongful death attorneys offer free consultations and are here to assist in your family’s case. Contact our firm for a free consultation to discuss the options available.