Understanding Your Need To Cooperate with a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Minnesota
There may be nothing more painful than losing a loved one due to the negligence or carelessness of another person. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, we understand you face profound emotional and legal challenges in the aftermath of the fatal accident. We have helped many individuals and families who were experiencing similar circumstances. Working with an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you navigate these challenges.
You are likely experiencing the following emotional challenges following a fatal accident:
- Grief and Loss: The sudden loss of a loved one is a major traumatic experience, leading to intense feelings of grief and loss.
- Coping with Change: Survivors must adjust to life without their loved one, which can be emotionally exhausting and challenging.
- Emotional Distress: Surviving family members may experience significant emotional distress, potentially including depression, anxiety, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Several legal challenges are associated with wrongful death claim:
- Establishing Negligence: Survivors must prove that their loved one’s death was caused by the negligence of another party.
- Statute of Limitations: In Minnesota, a wrongful death claim generally must be filed within three years from the date of death. Other factors may reduce the time required to file a wrongful death lawsuit, so it is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible.
- Collecting Evidence: It’s important to immediately begin collecting and preserving evidence to support the wrongful death case.
You need a guide to help you through each step of the complex legal process, ensuring the preservation of evidence and the filing of wrongful death claim within the statutory deadline. Our wrongful death lawyers understand the challenges you face as a survivor. Trust us to guide you through this emotionally challenging time with professionalism, understanding, compassion, and discretion. Contact our experienced wrongful death attorney team at RSC Law today to schedule a free consultation.
Examples of Wrongful Death Scenarios
Several common scenarios exist where negligence can lead to wrongful death:
- Automobile Accidents: This includes car, truck, and motorcycle accidents caused by reckless or distracted driving, drunk driving, or failure to comply with traffic laws. Car crash incidents are a leading cause of wrongful death lawsuits.
- Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) or All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Accidents: These vehicles are often used in off-road environments, and the combination of limited protection, varied terrain, and lack of care unfortunately leads to many severe injuries and deaths each year.
- Medical Malpractice: This occurs when a healthcare provider’s negligent actions, such as surgical errors, misdiagnosis, or improper treatment, lead to a patient’s death. If you seek to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in connection to a medical malpractice claim, you will work closely with your Minnesota wrongful death attorney to prove medical errors led to the tragic loss of your family member.
- Defective Products: If a product is faulty or lacks proper safety warnings, and this causes someone’s death, it could lead to a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death involving a defective product may involve a number of product liability considerations.
- Workplace Accidents: Employers have a duty to provide a safe workplace. Negligent behavior, such as failing to adhere to safety regulations, can lead to fatal accidents.
- Train, Boat, or Aviation Accidents: Negligence in the operation, upkeep, or management of trains or aircraft can lead to fatal accidents.
In any of these situations, it is important for the family to promptly consult an experienced attorney to preserve evidence and file a claim for monetary damages within the statute of limitations. A fatality can involve many relevant factors to explore when considering the full scope of evidence that may support a wrongful death claim. Seek legal representation from a Minnesota wrongful death lawyer immediately and begin collecting evidence in support of your case to pursue justice for your family.
Wrongful deaths are often caused by motor vehicle accidents involving the following:
Wrongful death cases for each of these types of scenarios will involve different sets of factors for consideration. For example, a wrongful death action in response to a truck accident will often be more complex than wrongful death cases for car crashes — due to the number of other parties that may have potentially contributed to the circumstances that ultimately caused the accidental death of your family member. Work with our wrongful death attorneys at RSC Law to assess the unique details in your case.
Recoverable Losses in a Wrongful Death Case
In many situations, there are survivor benefits for spouses and children. Recoverable losses in a Minnesota wrongful death case can include several of the following:
- Funeral and Burial Expenses: These are the various costs associated with the funeral and burial of the deceased.
- Medical Costs: You may recover expenses for the care, treatment, and hospitalization required to treat the deceased person’s final injury or illness.
- Loss of Services, Protection, and Care: This refers to the financial value of the services that the deceased would have provided to their family, such as childcare, household chores, and companionship.
- Loss of Future Earnings: If the deceased had lived, they likely would have continued to earn income. A surviving family member can seek compensation for this loss.
- Loss of Consortium: This refers to the companionship, affection, comfort, and sexual relationship that the surviving spouse has lost due to the death of their partner.
- Pain and Suffering of the Decedent: The Minnesota Survivorship Statute was signed into law on May 20th, 2023. This law makes it so recoverable damages in wrongful death cases can include the pain and suffering experienced by a person caused by the injury or injuries they died from due to the negligence of another. This law essentially allows noneconomic damages that your now-deceased loved one might have claimed under a personal injury case — had they survived — to become claimable by family members. Your Minneapolis wrongful death lawyer can explain how this new Minnesota law may affect your case.
- Punitive Damages: In some cases, if the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or reckless, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the at-fault party and deter similar behavior in the future.
In Minnesota, the purpose of these damages is traditionally to compensate the surviving family members for their pecuniary loss, which is the monetary loss caused by the death. The Minnesota Survivorship Statute adds the pain and suffering of the decedent to the set of potential damages a family may claim.
Your wrongful death lawyer can help you identify the appropriate scope of compensation if you are seeking benefits — including financial assistance with medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of companionship benefits, or economic compensation for family members left behind. Other damages may be applicable according to your losses and the details of your unique case.
Differentiating Wrongful Death from a Criminal Prosecution
If a criminal act may have been involved in the circumstances leading to a loved one’s death, you need to understand the differences between a wrongful death claim and a criminal prosecution.
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that seeks financial compensation for the losses suffered by the survivors of the deceased. This may include funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and lost future earnings. The purpose is to compensate those who were financially and emotionally dependent on the deceased. The burden of proof in a wrongful death claim is “a preponderance of the evidence,” which means you and your attorney must prove it’s more likely than not that the defendant’s negligence caused the death.
In contrast, a criminal prosecution that may be related to a fatal injury or accident is initiated by the state and seeks to punish the wrongdoer for their wrongful act. The penalties can include fines, probation, or imprisonment. Under some circumstances, the deadly crime may have been an intentional act. In a criminal case, the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt” — a much higher standard than in a civil claim such as a wrongful death lawsuit.
In Minnesota, these two processes are separate and can occur simultaneously. Even if a defendant is acquitted in a criminal trial, they can still be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Take Immediate Action to Pursue a Wrongful Death Case
You need to take prompt and immediate action when pursuing a wrongful death case in Minnesota. Our Minneapolis wrongful death lawyers will guide you through each step and work on your behalf from the beginning of your case.
Preserving Evidence for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Evidence is crucial in establishing negligence in Minnesota wrongful death cases. As time passes, evidence may be lost or destroyed, or it may become less reliable. This may include physical evidence from the scene of the incident, as well as digital data, medical records, and other documents. Families considering taking legal action should work with a lawyer to preserve evidence immediately following a wrongful death incident.
Securing Witness Testimonies Regarding a Wrongful Death
Witnesses’ memories tend to fade over time, making their testimonies less reliable. It’s important to identify and interview witnesses as soon as possible to ensure their recollections of the event are accurate.
Filing Before Minnesota’s Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases has Passed
In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is generally three years from the date of death. Failure to file within this period usually leads to the claim being dismissed, regardless of its merits. It is, therefore, imperative that you move quickly to contact a Minnesota wrongful death lawyer to begin this process.
Seek Legal Guidance from an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
Navigating the legal process can be complex and overwhelming, especially while grieving the loss of a loved one. An experienced wrongful death attorney can provide necessary guidance, ensuring that all deadlines are met and that your rights are protected.
Schedule a Consultation with RSC Law to Assess Your Case and Plan Your Next Steps
It is extremely difficult to put your life back together when you are grieving the loss of a loved one, especially when that person is a close member of your family that you and others have depended on. At RSC Law, our Minnesota wrongful death attorneys are prepared to guide you from start to finish through this process so you don’t have to bear the added weight and frustrations of these complex legal processes.
Do not delay, as passing time makes it more difficult to collect and assess evidence in wrongful death cases, and there are important deadlines associated with the statute of limitations. When you reach out for a free consultation, we will identify the first steps to begin this process as soon as possible following your loved one’s unfortunate passing.
If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, contact our experienced and knowledgeable Minneapolis wrongful death lawyer team at Robichaud, Schroepfer and Correia, P.A. today and schedule a free consultation. Our legal team will assess the details of your unique case and begin building a legal strategy to pursue financial compensation for your losses in response to these unfortunate circumstances.