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Wrongful Death

We’re trial lawyers. Our core competency – above everything else – is trying cases to juries. And we specialize in beating giants.

Minnesota Wrongful Death Lawyer

Unexpectedly losing a loved one is always tragic. It can be even more so if you learn that this loss could have been prevented. When careless actions or inaction cause the loss of a loved one, you and your family could be in turmoil. You’re trying to grieve the loss, but could also be dealing with the financial fallout from past expenses and current bills. You and your family do not have to go through this alone. A Minneapolis wrongful death lawyer can help you seek compensation.

Madia Newville is here for you and your family. When there’s a sudden loss of a loved one, we can protect your rights and fight for you to get justice for your loved one. Seeking a wrongful death suit can bring much needed financial relief to your family and provide some comfort that the party liable for your loved one’s death was held accountable.

Wrongful Death Law in Minnesota

If someone’s negligent actions caused your loved one to lose their life, you can seek justice on their behalf. When you decide to take action for your loved one, having a lawyer who is well-versed in state law will help you do so. One of the requirements you’ll have to meet is acting within the statute of limitations.

According to Minnesota law, you can come forward within three years of the date of death. This may sound like a lot of time, but it can go by quickly. During that time, physical evidence that your lawyer could refer to may fade over time. For example, the conditions of the road after a car accident could change in a couple of years. Marks or evidence on the road could be lost if the road is redone or reshaped.

If you wait too long, you could also miss the time you have. After this point, you may not be able to seek compensation and justice on behalf of your loved one. This can leave you and your family in a financially overwhelming situation. This is why it’s best to act quickly.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

It’s also important to know who can bring a wrongful death action forward. This can vary state by state.  In Minnesota, a trustee can be appointed to file on the family’s behalf. However, there are other options as well. Those who were related to the deceased can also file. This includes: the surviving spouse, children, parents, grandparents, and siblings. Your lawyer can help you find the best way to bring the action forward and explain who can recover damages for the loss of your loved one.

Another aspect of state differences in wrongful death claims is how the compensation is divided among the surviving family. When it comes to determining how the compensation is divided, this can be done by the court. You can ask your lawyer if you have questions about how this will likely occur in your case.

 

Common Causes of Fatal Accidents

While our attorneys have fought for clients whose loved ones passed away because of negligence in many different types of situations, there are common accidents that can result in wrongful death. Your loved one may have been involved in one of these accidents.

  • Auto Accidents. Often, negligent drivers make dangerous decisions when they’re behind the wheel. They may look at their phones, try to eat, change the radio, or turn their focus away from driving and can cause a car or truck crash. If your loved one passed away because of a collision, our lawyers are here for you.
  • Work Injuries. Some workplaces may be more dangerous than others. Those who work in construction or manufacturing could suffer fatal injuries if an accident occurs. Issues with machinery, falling objects, or falling from heights can cause fatal accidents.
  • Medical Negligence. We trust medical professionals to take care of our health, but if they act negligently, they can make fatal mistakes. Doctors, surgeons, pharmacists, and nurses could make mistakes involving medication, medical procedures, and the diagnosing process. If your loved one received the incorrect medication, the wrong surgery, or their illness was missed and lost their life, then you may have grounds for a claim.
  • Nursing Home Abuse. You may have entrusted your loved one’s care to a nursing home. Abuse or neglect could have caused your loved one to lose their life. Abuse can include physical and emotional abuse, and neglect can refer to your loved one not getting the care they need on a regular basis. Our lawyers are here for you if you’ve lost a loved one because of an abusive nursing home.
  • Premises Liability. If a premises is unsafe and hazardous, someone could suffer injuries from falling. Additional dangers can come from dogs that bite. Those in charge of the property are supposed to keep it safe and warn others about potential dangers on the property.
  • Defective Products. When a product has a hazard, anyone who uses it could be in danger. This could be defective auto parts like tires, household appliances, lawn tools, and more. If you believe your loved one lost their life because of an unsafe product, our lawyers can help you get justice.

Madia Newville has handled many types of wrongful death cases in the past. We understand how difficult this time can be and how taking legal action can seem stressful. That’s why we’re here.

Our lawyers will carefully investigate what happened to your loved one. We’ll review the evidence and reports to find who was negligent and how their negligence cost your loved one their life. Then we can fight for justice on behalf of your family and your loved one.

If you don’t recognize one of the situations above, you should still reach out to our attorneys today. We can help you and will see if you have grounds for a wrongful death suit.

Our Lawyers Will Fight for You

When you’re seeking damages for a wrongful death, you’ll want a skilled lawyer on your side. We’ll always protect your rights and act in your best interests. As we examine the evidence, we’ll need to prove that the other party acted negligently, their negligence caused your loved one’s accident, your loved one lost their life, and you and your family have suffered devastating losses because of it.

How to show that the other party was negligent could depend on the type of case you have. For example, if your loved one passed away because of a car accident, then your lawyer would show how the driver put your loved one’s safety in danger. This can change when medical professionals are involved, as they are supposed to treat your loved one according to the standard of care. In this case, we’d need to show how they breached the standard of care. Your lawyer will know how to proceed and what evidence is necessary to prove these points.

A successful wrongful death claim could provide you and your family with the financial stability you need. While receiving money in this situation can be painful, this compensation can help you keep up with monetary expenses so you don’t have to worry about them. With our lawyers on your side, we’ll make sure to fight for financial losses that can include:

  • Funeral and Burial Expenses. Everyone wants their loved ones to have a proper goodbye. When you and your family are planning the funeral and burial, you may find that these services can quickly become expensive. We’ll seek coverage for your loved one’s funeral and burial so you’re able to give your loved one the service they deserve.
  • Monetary Losses. You and others from your family may have depended on your loved one for economic support. If this is the case, your attorney will look into the loss of income from your loved one. When calculating what your loved one would have earned had they continued to work, we’ll use factors like age and health to make this as accurate as possible.
  • Lost Wages and Benefits. Your loved one may have missed a considerable amount of work because of their injuries, or if they passed because of an illness, they could have spent a long time in a hospital or hospice. We’ll also investigate if their lost wages and benefits apply to your case.
  • Medical Expenses. If your loved one was in the hospital, receiving treatment, taking medication, or had incurred medical bills because of the accident, then you may have these added financial responsibilities. This can be an extremely stressful situation, especially if your loved one had extensive care. These burdens shouldn’t fall on you when these expenses happened because of someone else’s actions. Our lawyers will fight for your compensation to cover these losses.
  • Property Damage. Property belonging to your loved one could have been broken because of the accident. We’ll take these damages into account as well.

You and your family may also be experiencing the significant loss of your loved one in other ways. Your lawyer will also seek damages for the following losses:

  • Loss of Consortium/Companionship. Losing a loved one means losing someone you may have turned to for support or guidance. This can also be difficult if this person was depended on to help raise a family or run a household.
  • Emotional Distress. Losing a loved one can cause immeasurable grief. These costs of losing a loved one may not have a bill attached to them, but our lawyers still take it into consideration when seeking full compensation for you and your family.
  • Pain and Suffering. Your loved one may have survived the initial accident and suffered from significant injuries before they passed away. As they were living with their injuries, they may have experienced pain. Our lawyers will fight for you to recover damages for this.

Your Minneapolis wrongful death lawyer will calculate all the losses you and your family have suffered. We’ll do everything we can to help you get the recovery you deserve. In some cases, additional damages may be applicable to your case: punitive damages.

These types of damages don’t relate to a financial or emotional loss that you, your family, or your loved one suffered. Punitive damages are put in place because of the negligent party’s actions. These are typically common in cases involving gross negligence. This means that the other party likely knew that their actions could put your loved one’s safety in danger, but proceeded to do so anyway.

Taking legal action and going through the process can be daunting to some—and they may wonder if the process if worth it. It may help to consider a wrongful death claim the personal injury claim your loved one would have pursued had they survived the accident.

They would have grounds to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions that resulted in your loved one sustaining injuries and losses. They would seek compensation for their financial and emotional losses so they can get the justice they deserve.

Another possible outcome of seeking legal action on behalf of your loved one is showing the negligent party the consequences of their actions. They may take further action so this never happens again. Your actions could prevent another family from going through the same loss as you.

In your case, you may be dealing with a party that is trying to give you a settlement that’s less than you deserve. Our lawyers will not allow this to happen. If your case needs to proceed to trial, we’re prepared to do so.

Fighting Your Case in Court

Our Minneapolis wrongful death lawyers have represented clients in the court room. We’ve presented many cases before a judge and jury. If this step is what it takes for you and your family to get justice, then we’ll proceed to trial.

Our lawyers will show the evidence we’ve gathered to demonstrate how the other party’s actions are what caused your loved one to lose their life, and incidentally, the financial and emotional suffering of you and your family. If the case requires an expert witness, our law firm will work with one that can present strong evidence for your case.

It’s important for you to know that if your case goes to court, then the process to reaching a resolution can take time. Your attorney will do everything possible to resolve your case so you can get the compensation you deserve. If you have questions about the process or what the different stages of bringing your case to court include, don’t hesitate to ask your lawyer.

Get Experienced Representation Today

You deserve to have the chance to fight for your loved one. Our law firm is here to give your loved one a voice. We’ll do everything we can to show the negligent party that their actions caused your loved one to lose their life and caused the surviving family members pain and other losses.

Madia Newville believes in fighting for those who have suffered personal injuries and losses because of the reckless or negligent actions of others. When this results in losing someone, we’re ready to fiercely advocate for our clients and provide them with the help they need.

When you take legal action, we’ll be at your side every step of the way. While you’re grieving your loved one, you can trust us to handle your case with the attention and care it deserves. We’ll do everything possible to hold the other party responsible for their actions.

Get in touch with our lawyers today. We know that this can be difficult, but it’s the first step to providing your family with the relief and justice they deserve.

THE MADIA NEWVILLE WAY

We have a process that works in getting exceptional results for our clients. 

We are trial lawyers who prepare every case for trial from Day 1. Investigation and legal research are the first things we do, and we spend a lot of time on them. Because we haven’t filed the case yet, we have complete control – the defendant has no say and we want to use this time wisely.  We interview witnesses that can help us prove the case.  We’ll ask you for all relevant documents in your possession and review those carefully as well.  We also will spend some time conducting legal research about unique issues in the case.  We pull the jury instructions that the judge will ultimately charge the jury with after closing arguments at trial. 

Our next step is typically to send a demand letter to the defendant. In the letter, we thoroughly lay out: the facts surrounding the defendant’s misconduct; the applicable law (including statutory and case citations) that make clear that the defendant broke the law; an analysis of your damages and the defendant’s monetary exposure; a demand for a monetary amount to settle the claim; and an instruction to preserve all relevant evidence, including electronic evidence. The point of this letter is to give the defendant a chance to do the right thing and pay a fair amount before litigation, and to give the defendant an opportunity to present any defenses or evidence it wants us to consider before moving forward.  Sometimes we skip the demand letter if there are strategic reasons to move straight to filing, but we typically give defendants a chance to do the right thing.

If early negotiations fail, great – we file a Complaint and serve the defendant with it. A Complaint is a legal document that states the facts of what happened and alleges how the defendant broke the law. It formally starts the lawsuit.  Many lawyers draft complaints in a general and relatively vague way, just to get it done and filed – because that’s all that’s really required.  We take a different view. We view the Complaint as our first chance to tell your story to the judge, and we take it seriously. So we draft detailed complaints and include legal citations to statutory and judicial authority on unique points.  Sometimes we’ll include a number of exhibits, diagrams, or other demonstrative aids to help the Court understand our claims.  A secondary benefit of this approach is that defense lawyers reading the Complaint can become educated on the problems of their case and the state of the law – sometimes this leads them to reach out to us shortly after service of the Complaint to re-initiate settlement negotiations.  Of course, by that time, the price for settlement has gone up.

Some lawyers view written discovery as a necessary evil – something to get done and out of the way before depositions.  Not us.  Written discovery is a gift and an opportunity.  We spend a great deal of time crafting requests for documents and interrogatories (questions for the defendant to answer in writing) that are specific, detailed, and tailored to get what we need to prove our case.  Many lawyers – even great ones – think written discovery is a waste of time because defense lawyers typically answer them on behalf of their clients and can try to stonewall with legalese and objections.  We view this as a wonderful opportunity.  In our experience, most defense lawyers can’t help themselves when answering discovery: they over-state their defenses and make assertions that their clients will not be able to support in testimony. So we get to commit the defendant to defenses that they can’t back up, leading to contradictions, confusion, and chaos in their depositions later on.  We also use Requests for Admission – which many lawyers don’t.  The Federal Rules and Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure allow us to ask defendants to “admit” certain facts.  We send them RFAs that are very difficult for them to deny.  Of course, they do it anyway, but that sets them up later for cost and fee-shifting, which the Rules mandate for defendants that deny RFAs that are later proven true.  And usually, we can get the defendants’ own witnesses to admit facts that their defense lawyers denied in RFA.  That’s a great situation that leads to more chaos and confusion on the defense side.

One last point on written discovery – we send multiple waves of it throughout discovery.  We typically send 3 or 4 sets of written discovery requests to defendants throughout discovery.  This compounds the problems for them, because the defense lawyers continue to overstate their defenses, but now run into contradictions from not just the defendant witnesses’ deposition testimony, but also their own previous discovery responses.  This makes for a great record that we can present to the judge at dispositive motions, and use for impeachment at trial.

This is our chance to question relevant witnesses, on the record with a court reporter (we typically videotape important depositions as well). We get to confront the defense witnesses with all of the evidence we’ve developed through written discovery and document production. By this time, the defendant put its witnesses in an impossible position through its written defenses, which are often untrue and indefensible.  So the witness has to either lie to support the defense, or admit it’s not true.  That’s a dilemma that works for our clients either way, no matter which option the witness takes.  We use depositions to expose contradictions, create a record for dispositive motions, lock witnesses into their stories so that we can impeach them later at trial, and sometimes, to show defense lawyers how hopeless their case is.  We often calls from defense counsel shortly after depositions of their clients, seeking to re-start settlement negotiations.

The defendant will usually make a motion for summary judgment after discovery, asking the Court to throw out the case without having a jury trial. Because we’ve hit discovery so hard – both through written discovery and depositions – this is a tough motion for defense counsel to write in our cases.  We draft our response for the Court and now get to bring everything together: the admissions, contradictions, nonsense, and obvious fact disputes that we’ve uncovered through discovery.  We tell a compelling story that wraps everything together for the Court and makes clear that the defense motion has to be denied, and the defendant needs to face a jury for its conduct.

Sometimes, we’ll even make an affirmative motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to grant judgment in favor of our client without a trial. These motions are generally rare for plaintiffs to make, because the defendant can usually point to some fact dispute on its intent or some other factor that necessitates a trial. But we make affirmative summary judgment motions significantly more than is typical for plaintiffs, and that’s because the work we put in during discovery helps build a fantastic record to do so.

After the Court denies the defense motion for summary judgment, the defendant has only 2 options: 1) do the right thing and pay you a fair amount to our client to settle your claim (usually much, much more at this point than the defendant could have paid at the beginning of the case to settle); or 2) face a jury for its conduct and risk an enormous verdict. This is the dilemma that we have been creating and forcing the defendant into for the entire case. We’ll engage in settlement negotiations at this point from a position of extreme strength, mainly because most defendants are (rightly) terrified of facing a jury to defend their conduct.

This is, candidly, our favorite part of the case – why we went to law school: to hold the powerful accountable before juries.  We prepare heavily for trial, including: detailed witness preparation, focus groups, and mock trials.  At this point, the potential outcomes and consequences for the defendant are much more severe than if it simply did the right thing at the beginning of the case and paid a fair amount to compensate our client for its misconduct.  As we advocate to the jury for our client, we’re also mindful of protecting the record so that defendants will be unsuccessful in attacking the verdict in post-trial motions or appeal.

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