When a wrongful death occurs, surviving family members—often spouses, children, or parents—are left to pick up the pieces with little to guide them through the difficult processes associated with an unexpected loss. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Sand Law LLC are here to help you through this difficult time. We understand that compassion and consideration are so important after an unexpected death; this delicate balance is heightened when that death is caused by negligence. We understand this and are here to help.
What is considered a wrongful death?
The legal definition of a wrongful death is the fatality of a person that has occurred as a result of negligence or carelessness, or lack of action, whether intentional or unintentional.
A wrongful death claim is appropriate when a deceased person would have otherwise had a valid personal injury claim because of negligence or a harmful act if they were still alive.
Wrongful Death Examples
Negligent death due to an auto accident. If a victim dies in a White Bear Lake car accident due to their injuries, and the other driver was acting negligently, their loved ones may have a valid wrongful death claim.
When medical malpractice causes the death. When a doctor is negligent or careless or fails to maintain their duty of care, or if a doctor fails to diagnose a condition before it’s too late, and the result is a death, then a wrongful death lawsuit could be brought against the doctor, hospital, and/or another healthcare provider responsible for care.
When a victim is killed intentionally. For example, OJ Simpson is often cited as the most famous example of a wrongful death suit that was brought against a person for an intentional death (murder).
Nearly any type of personal injury situation that results in the loss of a loved one could possibly be a valid wrongful death claim. In Minnesota, the one exception to this is if a person is killed while at work. In this case, any action must go through Minnesota’s workers’ compensation program.
Minnesota Wrongful Death Statute
Minnesota law allows for what they call a death action lawsuit when a “death is caused by the wrongful act or omission of any person or corporation…if the decedent might have maintained an action, had the decedent lived, for an injury caused by the wrongful act or omission. Additionally they allow for a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit when “a death [is] caused by the alleged professional negligence of a physician, surgeon, dentist, hospital or sanitarium, or an employee of a physician, surgeon, dentist, hospital or sanitarium.”
Minnesota’s Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death
Medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits and any other wrongful death action brought because of negligence or carelessness must be brought within 3 years from the date of death. The only exception to this is Intentional act wrongful death lawsuits (murder) which have no time limit.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
By Minnesota law, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must be the one to file a wrongful death claim. Often this person is named in the deceased’s will or estate plan. If no such will or plan exists, the representative will be appointed by the court. Although the claim is filed by the representative, it is filed on behalf of the estate and surviving family members, with all of them being listed as an interest in the case. Those who can recover damages from a wrongful death case include surviving spouses, children, parents, dependent blood relatives, and children out of wedlock of the mother or father, if said parent has assumed responsibility for the child’s support.
How much can I recover from a wrongful death lawsuit for my loved one?
Surviving family members of the estate of the deceased can recover damages from wrongful death cases in Minnesota. These damages can be for support and services the deceased provided to other family members, loss of companionship and guidance, mental and emotional pain, as well as the cost of medical and funeral expenses. Where the estate is concerned, damages can be awarded for loss of potential future earnings, as well as any medical and funeral expenses paid for by the estate if surviving family members did not pay them.
The amount that someone can recover for White Bear Lake wrongful death claim is decided by a jury based on what they deem fair. As mentioned above, these damages may be based on economic damages, pain and suffering, and possibly punitive damages. The Minnesota court then determines how much of the verdict each person involved in the lawsuit is entitled to and distributes it accordingly. Oftentimes, there are multiple family members involved in a death action.
Sand Law’s experienced wrongful death lawyers can help you take the necessary steps to provide economic stability to your family’s well-being in the wake of a tragedy.
Damages for a White Bear Lake Wrongful Death
Wrongful death cases are civil claims. It is brought to court by estates, not the government, and liability is expressed solely in terms of money damages. Damages that surviving family members and the estate of the deceased can receive include:
- Medical and funeral expenses paid
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including prospective earnings
- Prospective net accumulations, or the value of earnings the estate could reasonably have collected if the deceased were still alive
Experienced Wrongful Death Attorneys in White Bear Lake
If you believe your loved one’s death qualifies for a wrongful death lawsuit, or if you just aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to contact Sand Law’ experienced wrongful death lawyers. Our experienced team will be happy to discuss your case in a free consultation, and if possible, take your case to court to get you the compensation you and your loved one’s deserve.