Even when a loved on passes away too early, leaving you with a wrongful death claim, there's no amount of money that can bring that person back or get you back to where you were before they passed. Bringing a wrongful death claim can, however, help bring closure and a small sense of justice to the process.
The process of bringing a wrongful deal claim can seem difficult and confusing. Especially since Minnesota limits who can bring a wrongful death claim and what that claim covers.
Here are four FAQs about who can bring a wrongful death claim in Minnesota.
What is pecuniary loss?
In Minnesota, you must have suffered a pecuniary loss due to the wrongful death of your loved one. While there is no dollar amount that could reflect the support and companionship your loved one gave you over your time together, pecuniary damages attempt to make up for the support and financial contributions that your loved one would have made during the time you should have had together.
Even though this takes away the ability to recover for grief or emotional distress, there is still the possibility that you can claim pecuniary harm due to loss of counsel and companionship.
Who can make a claim for pecuniary loss?
While any person close to the decedent may feel they have suffered a pecuniary loss, in Minnesota, only family members can make a claim for recovery.
This is not a method of recover for friends or next-of-kin that knew the decedent, but a way to make up for tangible and regular contributions that the decedent made to the life of their loved one.
Who is considered "family"?
Minnesota has a very limited definition of who qualifies as "family" in a wrongful death claim. Only the surviving grandparents, parent, spouse, children and siblings may bring a claim and they must be able to show that they suffered pecuniary losses.
Family members will have to show their reliance and continued relationship with the decedent. Not that they merely knew him or her.
Can all family members bring claims?
All family members who have suffered a pecuniary loss are eligible to bring a claim, but all of them must be joined on the same case.
If there is hostility between the family members, they can hire separate attorneys to represent them in the wrongful death case, but the family members must all still be joined in one case.