Wrongful Death

Petry Law, P.A.

Verdicts & Settlements

$2,300,000 - wrongful acts of municipality $400,000 - breach of contract $250,000 negligent motorist $170,000 - run over by a drunk driver $80,000 - car collision shoulder injury $80,000 knee injury

Losing a loved one is painful. Losing a loved one due to wrongful death can be even more difficult. A wrongful death claim is defined as “the death of a person caused by the conduct or negligence of another.” Wrongful death claims are not based on damages to the decedent, but instead on the surviving spouse, family members or even parents. The claim is intended to recover expenses in the absence of the decedent, including loss of salary, health benefits, pain and suffering and other factors that place burdens on the surviving family members or distributees/beneficiaries.

The primary method courts use for measuring losses in wrongful death lawsuits is pecuniary damages. In other words, courts must determine the proper amount of compensation to cover the financial losses that the death causes. Though this method may seem harsh or cold, money damages are the sole remedy that civil courts have at their disposal. Thus, when courts measure losses, they look at the following quantifiable data:

  • How much money did the deceased earn?
  • How much money did the deceased save?
  • How financially dependent were the survivors on the deceased?

The court will also take into consideration:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses

A wrongful death lawsuit is generally meant to compensate certain surviving family members. It is not necessarily meant to punish the party responsible for the death. Punitive damages may be available, but only when you can prove that the actions of the defendant were reckless or malicious.

Factors in Determining Economic Loss

Courts look at a number of elements to determine the level of financial loss the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit has suffered. Most of the considerations take into account the following characteristics of the person who has passed away:

  • Earning potential
  • Health
  • Life expectancy
  • Assets

Courts assess these factors when considering the financial dependence of the plaintiff on the deceased. Some activities that might not seem economic at first glance can be characterized as such by the court. This is because it would cost money to have someone besides the deceased perform the activities. They include:

  • Child care
  • Housekeeping
  • Assistance with family member's medical or daily living needs

We often use expert testimony to establish the amount of loss.

Factors in Determining Emotional Loss

Not all of the emotional harm suffered by the plaintiff can be compensated by the court. Some aspects of what the decedent contributed to the family, however, are "calculated" by the court:

  • Parental guidance
  • Companionship
  • Affection

In making this determination, the court will look at the strength of the relationship between the plaintiff and the decedent.

Survival Action for the Injuries of the Deceased

Under some circumstances, Minnesota courts will allow a plaintiff to sue for injuries sustained by the person who died. This is called a "survival action" because the legal claim survives after the injured person's death. This claim can be presented at the same time as the wrongful death lawsuit. If this is allowed, the plaintiff may need to show that the injured person was aware of and emotionally affected by the injuries before passing away.

Although our Minneapolis Wrongful Death Lawyers - Attorneys understand that the loss of a family member or loved one caused by someone else’s negligence is a tragedy that money can never replace, we also understand that collecting just compensation for your loss can help you move forward.

If your loved one has suffered a fatal accident, we can help. Our aggressive Minneapolis Wrongful Death Lawyers - Attorneys will fight to make sure you receive full compensation for your losses. We will go to trial if necessary to secure fair and just compensation for you. Let us take care of every detail so you can concentrate on the most important part – you and your family.

If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Please call our Minneapolis Wrongful Death Lawyers - Attorneys now at 612.339.3852 for a free legal consultation.

Seeking Justice. Making an Impact.

Rick L. Petry - Injury Attorney
Petry Law, PA.
Adress: 301 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 378N
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415
Phone: (612) 387-7229
Fax: (612) 545-4989
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