Have you lost your child to another person’s negligence or recklessness? If you have, we understand that it may be a trying time for you and your family.
Losing a child is never easy. It’s one of the most traumatic things any parent can experience. You have a right to seek justice for your child. By calling a wrongful death lawyer in Minnesota, you can potentially recover compensation and hold negligent parties responsible for the death of your child.
Learn more about how you can file a wrongful death claim and seek justice for your child in Minnesota. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of the state’s wrongful death claim process and be a step closer to holding negligent parties responsible.
What Makes a Child’s Death “Wrongful?”
Based on Minnesota’s statutes under 573.02, a death becomes wrongful when it happens as a result of another person’s negligence. A wrongful death can be the result of an accident due to recklessness like in a car accident. It may also happen due to a medical lapse, as seen in a medical malpractice case.
A wrongful death has all the elements of a personal injury case. The only difference, however, is that the victim will not be alive to file a claim. Instead, it is the surviving representatives of the deceased who are eligible to file the wrongful death claim.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
Minnesota’s wrongful death statutes outline who can file claims on behalf of the deceased.
Unlike in most states, the members of the deceased’s family cannot file the wrongful death claim directly. Instead, they must appoint a trustee before the court. The trustee then oversees the allocation of benefits derived from the wrongful death settlement.
In other words, you — as the deceased’s parent — must appoint a trustee to file the wrongful death claim on your behalf. If you file the claim directly, there is a high likelihood of the courts dismissing your claim.
Also, keep in mind that there’s a time limit for a wrongful death claims. In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is three years from the victim’s death.
What Your Evidence Must Prove
To file a claim through a trustee, you must prove that all the elements of a wrongful death are present. Here are four things you must prove to build a compelling case and hold negligent parties responsible:
Duty of Care
First, you must prove that the defendant or the person responsible for your child’s death had a legal obligation to prevent harm to your child. For instance, if your child’s death was the result of medical malpractice, you must prove that your child was the patient of a healthcare institution.
By establishing the patient-institution relationship, you prove that the accused owed a duty of care to your child.
Negligence occurs when the parties you are suing breached their duty of care. You must show that the defendant committed an error or acted recklessly.
Everyone makes mistakes, and not all acts of negligence are grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. In Minnesota and many other states, wrongful death happens when negligence is the reason for someone’s death.
If you suspect that your child died due to someone’s negligence, you must prove that the defendant’s negligence led to your child’s death. Doing this will be challenging. For this reason, you will need an experienced medical malpractice wrongful death attorney in Minnesota for your claim.
Lastly, you must show that you and your family suffered damages as a result of your child’s death. These damages can take many forms. These range from economic to non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
How To File a Wrongful Death Claim for Your Child in Minnesota
If you suspect your child’s death was due to another party’s negligence, you must take the right steps in filing your claim.
Here are the steps to file a wrongful death claim in Minnesota.
Step 1: Contact an Attorney
The first step in filing a wrongful death claim is to contact an attorney who has experience in handling personal injury, malpractice, and wrongful death cases. After all, a wrongful death claim can be complex. It’s crucial to have someone who understands Minnesota’s personal injury laws and can help you navigate the legal system.
Most importantly, an attorney can also help you determine whether you have a viable claim and what damages you can realistically expect.
Step 2: Gather Evidence
Law firms for wrongful death in Minnesota will require evidence to build a compelling case on your behalf. Evidence may include medical records, witness statements, police reports, and any other documentation related to your child’s death.
For the best results, you must provide your attorney with as much information as possible, so they can build a strong case for you.
Step 3: Determine the Value of Your Claim With Your Attorney
Your attorney will work with you to determine the value of your claim. This includes calculating the economic damages, such as medical bills and funeral expenses. Your attorney will also factor in non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Under no circumstance should you accept an offer from the defendant or the defendant’s insurer without the presence of your attorney.
Defendants may offer a lowball settlement under the guise of goodwill. If this happens, do not accept the offer without consulting your lawyer. Your attorney can calculate the amount you deserve to claim — and it will likely be higher than what the defendant or the defendant’s insurer is willing to pay.
Step 4: Appoint a Trustee
Minnesota law requires family members to appoint trustees. Trustees will oversee the allocation of the settlement amount and file the claim on your behalf.
Step 5: File the Claim Through Your Trustee
Once you have gathered evidence, determined your claim’s value, and appointed your trustee, your attorney can file the wrongful death claim. The trustee and your attorney will then draft a complaint and file it with the court.
After filing the claim, the defendant will have a specified amount of time to respond to the complaint.
What Damages You Can Claim for Your Child’s Wrongful Death
Under Minnesota law, a successful wrongful death claim entitles you to several damages from the loss of your child. Claims can include damages for both economic and non-economic losses.
Economic damages will reimburse you for certain expenses, including medical bills and funeral costs.
Besides economic damages, you can also claim non-economic damages. These may include compensation for the emotional pain and suffering that the family has endured.
There is no predetermined amount for these damages. Your settlement will depend on the amount calculated by your attorney. For this reason, you will need an experienced medical malpractice wrongful death attorney in Minnesota to determine how much you can claim.
If your claim is successful, your trustee will oversee the lawful distribution of your settlement. The claims process then concludes with you receiving your settlement from the defendant or the defendant’s insurers.
Have You Lost Your Child to Malpractice or Negligence? Schedule a Free Consultation
No parent deserves to lose their child. That’s why we at the Magna Law Firm deliver representation for parents who have lost their children to medical malpractice or negligence. Justice for your child is a free consultation call away. Send us your message or call us at 763-438-3032 to let the experts at one of the best law firms for wrongful death in Minnesota represent you.