In straightforward language, a wrongful death occurs when a person or a corporation commits an action that causes a person to die.
There are special rules for wrongful death claims in Minnesota, that require a judge to appoint a “Trustee” and approve how the funds will be distributed among all the “Next of Kin”. Minn.Stat.§573.02.
Who are the “next of kin”? Minnesota Law allows the “next of kin” of the decedent to make civil claims for compensation. The next of kin are the spouse and first-line blood relatives, including grandparents, parents, siblings, and children.
Who can be “trustee”? The first step is appointment of a trustee by a Minnesota District Court Judge. This person is typically the spouse of the decedent or the closest next of kin. The trustee should not have any possible fault or have any conflicts of interest. Once the trustee is appointed the claim proceeds to obtain a recovery.
What damages are recoverable in a wrongful death claim? Minnesota Law allows for recovery of economic loss such as lost wages and loss of earning capacity over the course of the decedent’s life. Minnesota also allows for recovery of non-economic loss, which is defined as the loss of companionship, comfort, advice, guidance, counsel, aid, assistance, protection, and society. Damages are not allowed for grief or sorrow. Funeral and burial expenses as well as the medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident or illness that resulted in their death are also recoverable.
How is the recovery distributed to the next of kin? Once a recovery is made, by verdict or settlement, the distribution of funds to the next of kin needs to be approved by the Court. Typically, the Trustee files a petition with the Court setting forth a plan for distribution of the funds among the next of kin. Usually the family has agreed to the plan, and the Court follows the family’s distribution plan. If there is disagreement about distribution the Court will hold a hearing and decide on a proper distribution.
We Know What You are Going Through
When a family loses a loved one in an accident the impact is devastating. Whether it is the loss of a child, a sibling, a spouse or a parent – each loss is unique and powerful. The insurance issues and claims for damages are often the farthest thing from the minds of the family.
Help – so you can heal. When a family needs the time to grieve and support each other addressing the legal claims early by finding the right attorney to help can relieve a great burden at a time a great need.
The attorney serving the family who has lost a loved one must be sensitive to the family, be able to listen to the needs of the survivors, and must be strong enough to provide serious solutions and objective advice in times of crisis. Experienced counsel with a proven track record in Wrongful Death claims is critical.
We want to ensure you that our team of lawyers in Rochester, Minnesota has the skill, temperament, integrity, and self-assuredness that is needed to handle all cases we accept. We will fight for you and deliver results. And, though we are fighters, we are also personable, adaptable, and empathetic. Even though what you are going through might be heart-breaking, we have” bedside manners” that allow us to serve our clients kindly and supportively.
Patterson and Dahlberg, Rochester, Minnesota
If you need an attorney because of an accident, a hospitalization, or the death of someone you love, contact us. We will take on the job of discovering what happened, who was at fault, and how we can get you the settlement and peace you need during your rough times. Our team is prepared to help you and your family get the compensation you are rightfully due. We have the background and legal expertise you need.