A wrongful death lawsuit arises when a family member is killed as a result of the negligence of another. The surviving dependents or beneficiaries may be entitled to damages as a result of the defendant’s wrongful conduct.
This type of claim is different from a normal negligence lawsuit, which is filed by the person injured. Originally under “common law” a wrongful death claim did not exist based upon the reasoning that the claim died with the victim. The surviving family members could not claim damages from the person who caused the death. Over the years, states have passed “wrongful death statutes” that provide compensation for persons who may have been damaged by the death of a loved one.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims vary depending on a state’s statutory language but generally immediate family members (i.e. spouses, children and parents) can pursue a wrongful death claim.
What Kind Of Damages Are Recoverable From Wrongful Death?
Damages in a wrongful death action include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical and funeral expenses, loss of the decedent’s earning, and potential loss of fringe benefits such as pensions, medical coverage, etc. caused by an untimely death.
Non-economic loss benefits generally include the loss of aid, comfort, society, and companionship as a result of the death of the decedent.
This webpage contains general information and not legal advice. It is based on Minnesota law in effect at the time of writing. An attorney at Farrish Johnson can advise you about how the law applies to your specific situation.