St. Paul Wrongful Death Lawyer
Are you grieving a family member’s sudden and unexpected death because of a recent accident in St. Paul, Minnesota? Take this opportunity to demand financial justice for your devastating loss. Call Milavetz Law P.A., and discover how our St. Paul wrongful death lawyers can help you get every cent you deserve
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Since our founding in 1963, we have offered unwavering support and strength for grieving families in St. Paul. Our award-winning Minnesota trial attorneys have helped them stand up and demand accountability from those responsible for their unimaginable grief. Our results speak for themselves, with tens of millions of dollars in private settlements and jury verdicts.
Let us help you navigate this incredibly difficult time in your life. Call our compassionate legal team in St. Paul to discover why you want us to fight for you. Your first consultation is free, so contact us today.
What is wrongful death under Minnesota law?
Under Minnesota Statutes §573.02, wrongful death is “a death that is caused by the wrongful act or omission of any person or corporation.”
If the victim had survived and “might have maintained an action,” then a trustee or family member reserves the right to file a wrongful death action following their death. In other words, wrongful death refers to an avoidable death caused by another person’s negligence, wrongful actions, or carelessness.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Any traumatic accident or incident can potentially inflict fatal injuries. At Milavetz Law P.A., we represent families in wrongful death actions arising from:
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Birth injuries
- Defective products
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Criminal acts
- Construction accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Catastrophic injuries, including burns, loss of limb, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries
If someone you love was killed by an act of negligence or because of another person’s wrongful actions, call our law office in St. Paul for help.
Who can sue for wrongful death in St. Paul, Minnesota?
In Minnesota, surviving family members and beneficiaries reserve the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This can include:
- A spouse
- Legal guardians
- Appointed trustees
Family members can also ask the court to appoint a trustee to handle the wrongful death claim on their behalf.
What damages can be awarded in a Minnesota wrongful death lawsuit?
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the victim’s surviving family members. So, the types of awarded damages are specifically designed to make up for what the family members have lost or experienced rather than the victim.
Typically, this is limited to pecuniary damages — those related to money the family will lose because of the victim’s wrongful death. This can include money for:
- Medical bills incurred between the time of the fatal accident and the victim’s death
- Loss of financial support, including the victim’s future wages, income, and benefits
- The advice, assistance, counsel, guidance, and protection of which the family will be deprived
Costs related to the victim’s funeral and burial
Punitive damages can also be awarded in some situations. However, a jury must be clearly convinced that the defendant acted intentionally or demonstrated a deliberate disregard for the victim’s safety.
How are pecuniary damages calculated?
Valuing pecuniary damages — also referred to as economic damages — can be complicated in wrongful death cases. After all, these are projections of financial losses that the family will likely experience in the future. Many factors are taken into account to calculate pecuniary damages, including the victim’s:
- Projected life expectancy prior to their death
- Job or career trajectory (what they likely would have earned if they had survived)
- Past earnings and income
- Overall health
- Role in supporting their family financially
It is also important to consider how a victim may have provided — and would have continued to provide — nonfinancial support to their family. For instance, a stay-at-home mom plays an instrumental role in raising the family, offering advice and assistance, and keeping the household up and running. Even though these services aren’t paid, they provide considerable value to family members.
Insurance companies and at-fault parties work hard to drive down the value of damages in a wrongful death case. Our St. Paul wrongful death attorneys work hard to ensure the valuation process is done right. We will enlist the help of financial experts and specialists to carefully analyze how your loved one’s death has impacted your life — and will continue to affect you.
What do I have to prove to win a wrongful death case in St. Paul?
Wrongful death lawsuits in St. Paul can be based on negligence, strict liability, or intentionally harmful acts.
In a negligence action, you have the burden of proving:
- The defendant owed your family member a duty of care.
- The defendant breached this duty of care by failing to exercise reasonable care.
- The defendant’s actions were the direct and proximate cause of your family member’s death.
- You have suffered damages as a result.
For instance, if your family member was killed by a drunk driver, your attorney must establish that the driver owed a duty of care (which is the case for every person who gets behind the wheel of a car) and that they breached that duty by driving while impaired. You must also prove that they caused the accident that resulted in your family member’s fatal injuries and that you have experienced monetary losses from that family member’s death.
In some situations, negligence won’t be at the heart of your wrongful death case. For instance, if your family member died because of a defective product, your claim would be based on strict liability.
In that case, the manufacturer could be liable if your family member used the product in a reasonably foreseeable way, the product suffered from a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect, and that defect was the direct and proximate cause of their fatal injury.
Sometimes people we love are taken from us because of criminal acts — like assault, battery, robbery, or murder. In these cases, you must prove that the defendant committed a wrongful act on purpose and that your family member died as a result.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in St. Paul, Minnesota?
Minnesota provides a three-year window for family members to seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the victim’s death. Depending on the circumstances, this may or may not be the same date as the accident or incident that led to their death.
For instance, if a defective medical device ultimately caused your family member’s death, the statute of limitations would begin to run on the date of their death, not the date the medical device was installed or began to malfunction.
While difficult, it is important to call an experienced personal injury attorney near you shortly after your family member’s wrongful death. Once the statute of limitations expires, you will lose the right to file a claim and demand accountability from those at fault. After the deadline passes, the financial burden of your loved one’s death will fall on your shoulders — a burden you shouldn’t have to bear.
How can Milavetz Law P.A. help after a fatal accident in St. Paul?
Money won’t reverse time or bring your family member back to you. It won’t fill the hole in your heart or make up for your painful loss. However, it can relieve the financial stress related to their accident. It can also help provide a sense of closure and justice.
At the same time, getting compensation for a family member’s wrongful death isn’t always easy. Insurance companies, corporations, and at-fault parties will often fight you at every turn, working hard to stand between you and the money you need to move forward with your life. That is where our St. Paul personal injury lawyers come in.
Respected, award-winning Minnesota trial attorneys, we are ready to help you stand up and demand that those responsible make things right. We have handled thousands of complex personal injury matters in St. Paul. Our team has the experience, resources, and in-depth knowledge of Minnesota wrongful death law you need to not only win your case but maximize your recovery.
By trusting our law firm with your wrongful death case, you can step back and take the time you need to grieve. We will handle everything else.
Your legal team will:
- Answer your questions, offer advice, and guide you throughout the process
- Coordinate a thorough investigation into what caused your loved one’s death
- Carefully evaluate evidence and build a strong legal foundation for your case
- Consult with respected experts, including accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, forensic financial specialists, and other professionals
- Defend against allegations that your family member shared fault or was primarily responsible for their death
- Rely on tried-and-true negotiation tactics and persuasive legal arguments to secure a meaningful settlement offer for your family
- Prepare your wrongful death case for trial if you are not offered a fair deal
Our clients are the heart and soul of our law firm. We are here to offer support and strength during an incredibly difficult time in your life and are ready to do everything in our power to make a genuine difference for you and your family.
Contact the Milavetz Law office to set up a free consultation with one of our St. Paul wrongful death lawyers. A member of our legal team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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275 East 4th Street, Suite 458
St. Paul, MN 55101
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Content Reviewed by:
Alan Scott Milavetz