If a person dies because of another person’s deliberate, reckless or negligent conduct, their survivors may be able to sue to collect economic damages for their family member’s death. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that determines the type and amount of damages a family can get because of their loved one’s death.
Why Are Wrongful Death Suits Filed?
The concept behind a wrongful death suit is that the deceased lost their life because of someone else’s negligent behavior, but that the person’s family has suffered negative financial and emotional effects because of the death. For a lawsuit to be successful, the person’s family members must establish two elements:
- They must prove that the person’s death was caused by someone else’s negligent, reckless or deliberate conduct, and not by the deceased’s actions or failure to act.
- The family must establish that they suffered quantifiable damages because of the person’s death.
Common grounds for filing include accidental deaths related to auto accidents, workplace injuries and medical malpractice, or those occurring during the commission of a criminal act.
Who May File a Suit?
State law determines who may file a claim. Surviving children and spouses can file in all jurisdictions, while in others, extended family such as siblings and grandparents may file. In every case, survivors must start a probate estate to bring a lawsuit. If minors are involved, the court may require the appointment of a guardian to look after the children’s interests.
What Kind of Damages May Be Collected?
Surviving family can collect certain damages once they prove that the person’s death was wrongful. Families can receive compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and wages that the deceased would have earned had they lived a full life. In some cases, wrongful death lawyers in Minnesota may be able to help clients get compensatory damages for pain and suffering. Certain cases result in punitive damages, which punish the person committing the act and deter them from committing similar acts in the future.
All jurisdictions have a statute of limitations that dictates how long families have to file a lawsuit. If one believes their family member’s death was caused by someone else’s deliberate, negligent or reckless conduct, they should visit Rutzicklawoffices.com to find out how wrongful death lawyers in Minnesota can protect their legal rights.