Minnesota Wrongful Death Law
Minnesota Wrongful Death Law

Wrongful Death Law Summary

In Minnesota a wrongful death law is created by statute.  For the most part the injury claims a person has dies with them and does not survive their death.  This means that other than medical bills the injuries claims available after someone dies is limited to those which are a substantial factor in their death.  This means a claim exists when there is support for the injuries being the cause of the death which is called legal causation. Minnesota Statute 573.01, allows for the survival of wrongful death claims.

Wrongful Death Trustee for Next-of-Kin

A trustee must be appointed to represent the interests of the deceased persons next-of-kin. Pursuant to Minn. Stat. 144.01, Every application for the appointment of a trustee of a claim for death by wrongful act under Minnesota Statutes, section 573.02, shall be made by the verified petition of the surviving spouse or one of the next of kin of the decedent. The petition shall show the dates and places of the decedent’s birth and death; the decedent’s address at the time of death; the name, age and address of the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, parents, grandparents, and siblings; and the name, age, occupation and address of the proposed trustee.

Damages Now Include Pain and Suffering

According to Minn. Stat. 573.02, Subd. 1, The recovery in the action is the amount the jury deems fair and just for all damages suffered by the decedent resulting from the injury prior to the decedent’s death and the pecuniary loss resulting from the death, and shall be for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse and next of kin, proportionate to the pecuniary loss severally suffered by the death. The court then determines the proportionate pecuniary loss of the persons entitled to the recovery and orders distribution accordingly. Funeral expenses and any demand for the support of the decedent allowed by the court having jurisdiction of the action, are first deducted and paid. Punitive damages may be awarded as provided in section 549.20. The ‘all damages’ provision means that pain and suffering is now a viable damage a party can seek on behalf of their deceased family.

Distribution of Proceeds

In the event there is a settlement or favorable verdict the proceeds are distributed with court approval.  Pursuant to Minn. Stat. 144.05, application for the distribution of money recovered under Minnesota Statutes, section 573.02, shall be by verified petition of the trustee. Such petition shall show the amount which has been received upon action or settlement; a detailed statement of disbursements paid or incurred, if any; the amount, if any, claimed for services of the trustee and of the trustee’s lawyer; the amount of the funeral expenses and of demands for the support of the decedent; the name, age and address of the surviving spouse and each next of kin required to be listed in the petition for appointment of trustee and all other next of kin who have notified the trustee in writing of a claim for pecuniary loss, and the share to which each is entitled.

Learn More About Minnesota Wrongful Death

I have many details articles on the civil system for bringing a death case in Minnesota including information about recent changes in the law concerning the ability to bring a pain and suffering claim and injuries claims that existed prior to death.


Injuries Which Can Lead to Death
Free Consultation on Issues of Elder Abuse and Neglect Serving all of Minnesota Toll Free 1-888-452-6589

Free Consultation on Issues of Elder Abuse and Neglect Serving all of Minnesota Toll Free 1-888-452-6589

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