A experienced Minneapolis wrongful death lawyer knows that, under Minnesota's Wrongful Death law, the family of the victim of an personal injury that results in the death of the victim is entitled to recover money damages against the at-fault party.
This is true whether the victim's death is due to a car accident (see car accident lawyer), a boating accident (see boating accident lawyer), a product defect (see product liability lawyer), or medical malpractice (see medical malpractice lawyer).
An injury causing death which happens in the course of a worker's employment is covered separately under Minnesota's Workers Compensation Law (see workers compensation lawyer).
Under Minnesota law, the relatives of the person killed can petition the court to appoint a Trustee who is then authorized to pursue the claim on behalf of the all of the family members of the decedent. The family members must pursue the claim through the Trustee and are not allowed to bring separate claims.
If you have a potential wrongful death claim for your loved one, call the Schmidt Law Firm at 1-800-656-8450 or visit our Contact Us page and send a message to request a free first visit and a free case evaluation with an experienced Minneapolis accident lawyer who is willing to provide legal services on a contingent fee basis.
Take a look at some of the wrongful death cases we have handled.
What is a wrongful death claim? A wrongful death claim is a legal claim brought by a Trustee on behalf of the surviving spouse and next of kin of any person who dies as the result of the negligence or misconduct of another person, company or entity.
Why is a wrongful death claim brought by a Trustee? Under Minnesota law, in order to prosecute a wrongful death claim in Minnesota, a Trustee must be appointed by the court. The petition for appointment of the Trustee must be made by a spouse or next of kin. (In many other states, a wrongful death claim is brought by the representative of the estate. Minnesota’s procedure is different. In Minnesota, a wrongful death claim can only be brought by and through a Trustee, with the exception of death claims brought under the Dram Shop Law.)
Who can be trustee? The Minnesota wrongful death statute allows the court to appoint any “suitable and competent person” as trustee. The courts will usually appoint the surviving spouse or one of the next of kin as trustee. If all of the next of kin consent (agree), the Court can appoint the Trustee without a hearing. If there is disagreement, the Court must hold a hearing, after giving notice to all of the next of kin, and take evidence to decide who should be the Trustee.
What are the duties and responsibilities of the Trustee? The court-appointed Trustee has the authority to carry out the duties necessary to prosecute the wrongful death claim for the benefit of and on behalf of of all of the heirs and next of kin.
How much can be recovered in a Minnesota Wrongful Death claim? The amount of recovery in a Minnesota wrongful death case is the amount that the jury deems fair and just in reference to the “pecuniary loss” resulting from the death. “Pecuniary loss” includes both economic losses and non-economic losses.
“Economic losses” include the money or the value of items of money value that the Decedent would likely have provided to the surviving spouse and next of kin had he or she lived out a natural life expectancy. It also includes funeral, burial and medical expenses.
“Non-economic losses” includes the reasonable value of the Council, guidance, advice, assistance and protection which the decedent would have provided to the surviving spouse and next of kin.
Under Minnesota law, the following damages are not allowed as an item of recovery and a wrongful death claim: (1) damages for grief and were pain and suffering of the heirs and next of kin; and (2) damages for the Decedent’s pain and suffering before death.
How will the recovery be divided among the surviving spouse and next of kin? If the case goes to trial and the recovery is decided by a jury, the jury is usually asked by the judge to determine the specific amount to be awarded to each. If the case is settled before trial, the division of the settlement is decided by the Judge, after holding a hearing and taking evidence as to the amount of loss specifically attributable to each. This often means that the surviving spouse will get a large portion of the settlement, but only if the evidence taken by the judge at the hearing supports that result. It can also mean that brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, will not always share equally unless they agree to do so.
This outline is intended to be only a brief summary of the law that generally relates to Wrongful Death Claims in Minnesota. Each case is different. You are cautioned to seek the advise of the Wrongful Death Lawyers at the Schmidt Law Firm for specific advice regarding your specific case.
Douglas E. Schmidt
Personal Injury Attorney
13911 Ridgedale Drive,
Minneapolis, MN 55305
Phone (952) 473-4530
Toll Free 1-800-656-8450
Fax (952) 544-1308
1. $54 Million for Minnesota Farmers.
2. $2.2 million for Trucking Collision Injury Case.
3. $1.4 million Jury Trial for Minnesota Farmer.
4. $2.4 million Jury Verdict in Medical Malpractice case.
5. $620,000 for Injury to Motorcycle Driver.
6. $450,000 for Injuries from Mack truck collision.
7. $900,000 Court Award in Farm Injury.
8. $300,000 for Man Injured in ATV accident.
9. $600,000 for Zamboni Lung Injuries.
10. $1 million Jury Award in Medical Malpractice Case.
11. $600,000 against Ford Motor
12. $600,000 in Medical Malpractice Case
13. $800,000 Judgment in Nursing Home Death case.
14. $743,000 jury verdict in car accident.
15. $445,000 in slip & fall case.
16. $1 million in sexual assault case.
17. $440,000 in sexual assault jury verdict.
18. $600,000 recovery for victims of lung injuries.
19. $3 million plus in No Fault recoveries.
20. $8 million in medical malpractice recoveries.
©2009 Schmidt Law Firm, Powered by Webopts