It is a terrible and unfortunate aspect of life, but sometimes when accidents happen a person may die. What are the rights of surviving family members? Surviving heirs and next of kin (typically the decedent’s spouse and children) may have a claim for monetary damages when a family member perishes due to the fault of another.
Strangely, in Minnesota, the law does not allow recovery for things such as the pain and suffering of the decedent or the emotional distress of the heirs and next of kin for the loss. The relevant statute, however, does allow for the recovery of “pecuniary loss.” This is defined as the loss of advice, counsel, and companionship. These categories can mean many things depending on the facts of each case. It is important to discuss your case with an attorney who can ask the right questions and secure the largest recovery for you and your loved ones.
The law in Minnesota also allows for the recovery of a financial loss that results from a close relative’s untimely and wrongful passing. This involves considerations of past contributions, life expectancy of the decedent had they not passed, past earnings, likely future earning capacity and prospects of increasing income, living expenses of decedent, and the counsel, guidance, and aid the decedent would have provided to their heirs and next of kin.
The last factor to consider is one that often weighs heavily when evaluating damages where there is minimal lost income but where a parent has been lost and the children miss out on that invaluable counsel and guidance.
The wrongful death of a loved one can result in overwhelming emotions, and it can be extremely taxing and difficult to process. If you lose a loved one due to the wrongful or negligent conduct of another it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced attorney.