A wrongful death lawsuit typically arises when another party’s negligence or intentional act leads to the death of a person—Minnesota law under Section 573.02 defines wrongful death as the ‘wrongful act or omission of any person or corporation ‘ under circumstances where the person could have filed a personal injury lawsuit had they lived.
That said, a wrongful death arises due to various circumstances. Here is a brief elucidation of some common circumstances which could lead to a wrongful death personal injury lawsuit.
1. Automobile Accident Wrongful Death
Car, truck and motorcycle accidents are the most common causes of wrongful death in the United States and Minnesota-in particular. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that approximately 38,000 people are killed in traffic accidents every year in the United States- a clear indication of the worrying situation on our roads.
2. Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death
Medical malpractice is defined as negligence by acting or omission by healthcare providers, which leads to serious injury or death. They include anesthesia and surgical errors by doctors, nurses and surgeons.
The United States Department of Justice indicates that over 90% of medical malpractice suits filed in court have a severe impact on the victim, including death or permanent injuries.
When death by medical malpractice occurs, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit in court on behalf of the deceased.
3. Product Liability Wrongful Death
Manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and retailers have a duty of care to the consumers of their products. Put briefly, they are liable if they manufacture, sell or distribute any defective product that leads to wrongful death. However, the duty of care is not absolute.
That said, there are three types of product liabilities recognized. They include:
- Design defect
- Manufacturing defect
- Failure to warn consumers of defects
When claiming negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff is required to prove that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached the duty owed, an injury occurred as a result of the breach and that the injury resulted directly from the breach. With that in mind, it is imperative to seek the help of a qualified attorney to help establish this.
4. Airplane Accident Wrongful Death
Plane crashes also cause wrongful deaths. They tend to occur due to defective parts of the plane or at times due to the pilot’s negligence. Victims of accidents can file a lawsuit against the airline or the manufacturing company. This indicates the complexity of wrongful death lawsuits as a result of plane accidents.
5. Workplace Accident Wrongful Death
Workplace accidents can lead to wrongful deaths. Oftentimes, faulty equipment, improper training and explosions can cause accidents to happen at the workplace. As a result, the workers may be injured or even die.
When this occurs, the deceased’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the employer or the company for negligence.
Potential Damages in a Minnesota Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A successful wrongful death lawsuit usually leads to damages being awarded to the deceased person’s survivors or estate. The purpose of damages is to compensate the deceased’s family for all the losses suffered as a result of the death.
Damages in a Minnesota wrongful death lawsuit include compensation for the following:
- Loss of deceased’s advice, comfort, companionship and guidance.
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Expenses for treatment and hospitalization of the victim
Limitation Period of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If your loved one was involved in wrongful death, then you must take the necessary steps to file a wrongful death lawsuit in court. One fundamental fact to note is the limitation period for filing the suit.
Minnesota’s jurisdiction has a Statute of limitation, which provides the deadline for filing most wrongful death claims to be three years from the date of the deceased person’s death, but no later than six years after the accident. This means that if you fail to file a claim within the timeframe, then your claim will be time-barred, and the court will reject it.
However, the suit can also be filed under the discovery rule- an exception- if the cause of death was discovered at a later time.
Get Legal Help For Minnesota Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Navigating wrongful death cases is often a challenging task. If you are thinking of filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Minnesota, then it is imperative that you consult a qualified attorney. A lawyer will guide you through the legal process and help you understand how the law applies to your current situation.
Contact us today for more help on this.