Anoka Wrongful Death Attorneys
Wrongful Death Laws in Minnesota
At Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm, we know that there is nothing more tragic or difficult than losing a loved one unexpectedly. We also recognize that no amount of financial compensation can ever compensate you and your family for your loss. However, our Anoka wrongful death attorneys have seen firsthand how a fair settlement or verdict can provide the resources and much-needed sense of justice families need to heal.
If your loved one passed away after a serious accident or due to the negligent or wrongful conduct of another, we can help. We invite you to reach out to Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm today to discuss your legal options during a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team is here to provide the personalized guidance, counsel, and support you need during this immensely challenging time.
What Is a “Wrongful” Death?
Every state has its own definition of wrongful death, but most are relatively similar. In Minnesota, a death is considered “wrongful” if it results from “the wrongful act or omission of any person or corporation” such that the person who died (known as the “decedent”) would have had grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit had he or she lived. In other words, wrongful deaths arise from negligence-based incidents, intentional acts, and medical malpractice.
Some common accidents, acts, and events that may give rise to wrongful death claims include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Large truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boating accidents
- Dog bites and attacks
- Workplace accidents
- Falls, including slip and falls
- Criminal acts, such as assault and murder
Essentially, any time another person or party is responsible for the death of an individual, that person or party can be held legally accountable. A civil wrongful death lawsuit is separate from any criminal proceedings that may (or may not) occur, and the outcome of a criminal trial does not necessarily affect the outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Damages
As previously mentioned, wrongful death lawsuits are different from criminal homicide, murder, or manslaughter cases. In a criminal case, the defendant faces certain penalties, such as jail or prison time, fines, and more. The purpose of a wrongful death claim, on the other hand, is to compensate surviving family members for economic and non-economic losses, known as “damages,” endured as a result of their loved one’s death.
In Minnesota, wrongful death damages may be awarded to individual people and/or the decedent’s estate. When awarded to individuals, these damages are given in proportion to the determined degree of loss suffered by the individual.
Depending on the specifics of a case, it may be possible to recover the following damages in a Minnesota wrongful death lawsuit:
- Medical expenses, including hospital fees, related to the decedent’s final treatment and care
- Funeral and/or burial expenses
- Loss of the decedent’s support, services, care, and protection
- Loss of income, including future earnings, and other benefits the decedent would have earned
- Loss of comfort, companionship, guidance, and advice
In rare cases, it may also be possible to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish individuals who cause serious bodily injury or death due to gross negligence or wanton/willful conduct, such as homicide or murder.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Minnesota?
Minnesota has specific laws about who may file a wrongful death lawsuit and how it must be filed. By law, the decedent’s spouse, child, or next of kin must petition the court to appoint an individual as a trustee. The trustee must then be the one to file the wrongful death action, as well as oversee the resulting procedures, including the distribution of awarded damages.
If someone other than the trustee attempts to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Minnesota, the court will almost certainly dismiss the claim. However, even though the trustee must be the one to initiate the action, damages are sought on behalf of certain surviving family members. This includes the decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, heirs, and next of kin.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Minnesota?
Like other personal injury claims, wrongful death claims in Minnesota are subject to a six-year filing deadline. Known as the “statute of limitations,” this deadline typically extends from the date of death. If more than six years pass from the date of death, and you do not initiate a wrongful death action, you will likely lose your right to sue the liable party for damages.
Some exceptions to the six-year statute of limitations include:
- Wrongful death cases resulting from medical malpractice have a three-year statute of limitations and a six-year statute of repose, meaning they cannot be filed if more than six years have passed since the date of alleged malpractice
- Wrongful death cases involving murder do not have a statute of limitations; if an individual dies as a result of homicide or murder, the appointed trustee may file a wrongful death lawsuit at any time after the date of death
In any case, it is important that you act quickly. At Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm, we know that taking legal action may be the furthest thing from your mind after the loss of a loved one, but the sooner you contact our Anoka wrongful death lawyers, the sooner we can begin protecting your rights. Over time, evidence can be lost, and it can become increasingly difficult to prove your claim. When you reach out to us, we will immediately begin an investigation into the incident that led to your loved one’s passing and begin gathering evidence in support of your claim.
Contact Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm for Compassionate & Powerful Legal Representation
When you are navigating the aftermath of a tragic loss, you need a legal team you can rely on to advocate for you and your family. At Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm, we are committed to helping you through the legal process, providing the personal attention, ongoing support, and reliable communication you deserve. We are here for you every step of the way, from the moment you call until the moment your case is resolved—and beyond.