When a loved one dies because of a reckless act or inaction, the surviving family members may be entitled to just compensation. Here are the basics.
- Wrongful Act or Omission
Minnesota Statute defines a wrongful death as any “wrongful act or omission” caused by a person or a corporation that caused a death.
The wrongful act can be an intentional act or negligent act. An intentional act that causes death is murder. Examples of negligent acts are a breach of professional duty by medical professionals, defective consumer products, or car accidents.
The wrongful omission is the failure to take necessary action. An example of wrongful omission is a failure to maintain a safe work place.
- Wrongful Act or Omission Caused the Death
The wrongful act or omission must be what caused a death.
- Appointed Trustee
Before the suit may commence, a trustee or personal representative will be appointed to act on behalf of the decedent’s estate. The surviving spouse or next of kin must submit a written petition to the court. The court will then appoint a “suitable and competent” trustee to commence the action and obtain damages.
The goal of damages in a wrongful death case is to determine the amount to fairly and adequately compensate for the losses the claimants suffered as a result of the death. There are many factors for the jury to consider. First, the jury must look at the decedent’s life including their occupation, talents and success, past earnings, likely future earnings, and financial obligations to next of kin. Next, the jury needs to consider the loss of counsel, guidance, advice, comfort, assistance, companionship, and protection that would have been given to the claimants if the decedent had lived. This includes determining the length of time the claimant and decedent would have been expected to survive together.
- Statute of Limitations
You must file a lawsuit for wrongful death within three years of the death. There are no time limitations when the decedent is murdered.
With the help of an experienced lawyer, you can receive the financial compensation you are due.