Practice area

Wrongful Death

Minnetonka Wrongful Death Lawyer    

The untimely loss of a loved one has a profound and heart-wrenching impact on us. Wrongful death is a tragic and often preventable event. It shakes the very foundation of our understanding.

If you lost a loved one due to negligence, accident, or deliberate harm, our hearts go out to you. While nothing can take away your pain, you may find peace in seeking justice and compensation for their pain and suffering, and other losses.

Get your free and confidential consultation with a Minnetonka wrongful death lawyer from Fields Injury Law, and let’s discuss your legal options. 

Why Choose Fields Injury Law?

For over 20 years, the personal injury lawyers at Fields Injury Law have helped injured accident victims and their families seek justice against the party that harmed them and obtain compensation for their losses.

We understand how difficult this time is, and we want to help. Let us use our resources, knowledge of personal injury laws, and experience so you can focus on healing the best you can.

Contact the Minnetonka wrongful death lawyers at Fields Injury Law today. We want to hear about your loved one and explain how we can help.    

What is a Wrongful Death?

gavel on desk next to wrongful death papers

Minnesota law defines wrongful death as a death “caused by the wrongful act or omission of any person or corporation” who would have had grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit had they survived. So, a wrongful death claim is essentially a personal injury claim that someone files on behalf of their deceased loved one. 

Individuals who have been harmed or injured due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of another person or party, may file a personal injury claim to recover damages for the physical, emotional, and financial losses they suffered as a result of their injury. This might include medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more.

Causes of Wrongful Death

Many wrongful acts or omissions can lead to a person’s death, such as:

  • Car accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Workplace accidents
  • Defective products
  • Premises liability
  • Criminal acts
  • Construction accidents

Minnesota’s Revised Wrongful Death Statute

While wrongful death claims and personal injury claims are similar, until recently, Minnesota law limited what family members of the deceased could seek in a wrongful death claim.

Previously, when an injured person's death was unrelated to their injury, family members could only claim special damages, specifically medical bills and lost income caused by the accident. If the injury caused the death, then the family could only claim those economic losses plus the value of lost "advice, comfort, assistance, companionship, and protection."

But on May 20, 2023, the Minnesota Survivorship Statute went into effect, allowing surviving spouses and family members to include claims for non-economic losses their loved one suffered before they died, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability, embarrassment, disfigurement, and scarring. Families can seek these damages whether or not the injury caused the decedent's death. 

These non-economic damages can substantially increase the value of a claim, and unfortunately, insurance adjusters and defendants noticed this, too. Before the new law went into effect, when faced with a personal injury claim from a seriously injured or elderly claimant, they would use delay tactics knowing that if the person died, the value of their claim would drop significantly. It was a horrible injustice that, thankfully, the revised statute replaced.

Who Qualifies to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?

Under Minnesota law, when someone dies from a wrongful act or negligence of another person or party, a trustee appointed by the court can bring a claim and represent the interests of the survivors. 

The court usually appoints the surviving spouse or other family members, such as children, parents, or siblings, as the trustee. In some situations, grandparents or a personal representative of the decedent's estate may bring a wrongful death claim. 

The decedent’s surviving spouse and next of kin receive any damages awarded in a wrongful death action in proportion to the loss they suffered. 

What Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Case?

Compensation available in a wrongful death claim can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the relationship between the deceased and the claimant, and the nature of the damages suffered.

Generally, here are some types of compensation that might be available in a wrongful death claim:

  • Medical expenses for the medical treatment the deceased received prior to their death
  • Funeral and burial or cremation expenses
  • Future earnings the deceased would have provided to their family had they survived
  • Pain and suffering the deceased suffered prior to their death
  • Loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of companionship, guidance and emotional support that the surviving family members experience due to the death
  • Loss of parental guidance and support children will no longer receive in cases where the deceased was a parent 
  • Loss of services, for the value of services the deceased provided, such as maintenance, housekeeping, or childcare

How Do I Prove Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death claim is typically pursued by the surviving family members or the legal representative of the deceased person's estate.

To prove wrongful death, you generally need to establish:

  • Duty of care: You need to show that the responsible party had a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to the deceased person. For instance, in a car accident case, all drivers owe a duty to others on the road to drive safely. 
  • Breach of duty: You must demonstrate that the responsible party breached their duty of care through negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. This could involve showing that the responsible party's actions (or lack thereof) directly caused the death. 
  • Causation: You need to establish a direct link between the responsible party's breach of duty and the death of the individual. In other words, you need to prove that the breach of duty caused the death. 
  • Damages: You must provide evidence of the damages or losses suffered as a result of the death. This can include financial losses such as medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of future earnings. It can also encompass non-economic damages like emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and more. 
  • Standing to sue: Only certain individuals are typically allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Minnesota. These individuals often include the surviving spouse, children, parents, and sometimes extended family members, depending on the circumstances. 
  • Statute of limitations: Wrongful death claims must be filed within a specific time frame known as the statute of limitations. Failing to file within this time frame could result in the claim being barred. 

What is the Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Minnetonka?

What is the Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Minnetonka

The statute of limitations in personal injury claims varies by state. In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is three years from the decedent’s death, but no later than six years after the event in which they suffered the injury that led to their death.

There are some exceptions to this deadline. For example, if the wrongful death was due to medical malpractice, the lawsuit must be filed no later than three years after the decedent’s death but no more than four years after the medical error occurred.

And, if the death is the result of an intentional act, such as murder, the statute of limitations doesn’t apply. Family members can bring a wrongful death suit at any time. 

How can A Lawyer Help with My Wrongful Death Claim?

A lawyer can provide essential assistance in navigating the legal complexities of a wrongful death claim, which arises when the negligence, misconduct, or intentional actions of another party caused a person's death.

Here's how a lawyer can help with a wrongful death claim:

Wrongful death claims involve various legal statutes, regulations, and case laws that an experienced lawyer is well-versed in. They can explain the applicable laws in your jurisdiction and assess the strength of your claim.


Lawyers can conduct thorough investigations to gather evidence and build a strong case. This might involve reviewing medical records, accident reports, eyewitness statements, expert opinions, and other relevant documentation to establish liability.

Identifying Responsible Parties

A lawyer can help determine who is liable for the death and identify all potentially responsible parties. This could include individuals, companies, or institutions whose actions or negligence contributed to the death.

Calculating Damages

Wrongful death claims often seek compensation for various damages, such as medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost future income, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. Lawyers can help you accurately calculate the damages to ensure you receive fair compensation.

Negotiation and Settlement

Lawyers are skilled negotiators who can engage with the responsible parties or their insurance companies to pursue a fair settlement. They can protect your rights and interests during negotiations to ensure you don’t accept an inadequate amount.

Court Representation

If the insurer refuses an adequate settlement, a lawyer can represent you in court. They will present your case to a judge and/or jury, providing evidence and arguments to prove liability and the extent of damages. 

Statute of Limitations and Filing Deadlines

Each jurisdiction has specific time limits within which plaintiffs must file a wrongful death claim. A lawyer can file all necessary paperwork on time to avoid missing crucial deadlines. 

Wrongful death claims involve complex legal procedures. A lawyer can guide you through these processes, filing all required documents correctly and following all legal protocols. 

Expert Witnesses

In complex cases, expert witnesses may need to provide specialized knowledge and opinions. Lawyers have networks of experts they can call on to support your case. 

Emotional Support

Dealing with a wrongful death claim can be emotionally taxing. A lawyer can provide objective guidance, alleviating some of the stress associated with the legal process and allowing you to focus on healing and recovery. 

Peace of Mind

Hiring a lawyer provides you with the peace of mind that your case is being handled by a professional who understands the legal intricacies and is dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for you. 

Contact a Minnetonka Wrongful Death Lawyer at Fields Injury Law Today

Attorney Steve Fields
Minnetonka Wrongful Death Attorney, Steve Fields

Losing a loved one is heart-wrenching, especially when the death was due to another’s wrongful actions.

If you are seeking justice through a wrongful death claim, you need a Minnesota personal injury lawyer with experience in handling these cases, a solid track record, and a compassionate approach to clients' needs.

Fields Injury Law is here to help you.

Contact the wrongful death attorneys at Fields Injury Law today at (612) 206-3495 or through our online form for a free and confidential consultation.