Wrongful death cases are some of the most complex and emotionally exhausting cases for all involved parties, but the goal of these cases is to help provide some financial relief in the wake of an unexpected tragedy. However, it’s not always clear who has the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit after the loss of a loved one. In today’s blog, we explain whether boyfriends, girlfriends, cohabiting couples or fiances can collect wrongful death compensation in Minnesota in the event of the unimaginable.
Who Can Collect Wrongful Death Benefits In Minnesota
Minnesota law is written such that family members and next of kin can pursue wrongful death compensation in the event of the loss of a loved one. This means that the following groups may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim in Minnesota:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- The decedent’s parents
- The decedent’s siblings
- Parents who lost a child
As you can see, some parties are noticeably absent from that list. Under Minnesota law, you cannot collect wrongful death benefits if your boyfriend, girlfriend or fiance is wrongfully killed. It doesn’t matter if you’re living with the person or if you are financially dependent on them at the time of their death, if you aren’t family by the letter of the law, you will be ineligible to collect compensation. However, if you have a child with that individual, you may pursue wrongful death compensation on behalf of that child, and any compensation will be placed in a trust for the child to access when the court determines they have reached an appropriate age.
There is always the possibility that the deceased’s family will help provide financial support depending on the situation, but they are not legally entitled to, nor do you have the legal grounds to pursue compensation for your boyfriend or finance. We all like to assume that we would financially support those who were in a relationship with a member of our family who unexpectedly passed, but there is no legal obligation that they do so. Money and finances can be a point of contention, especially at a time when emotions are likely already very high, so we advise that you wait to have this conversation and approach it with care. Just know that a lawyer is not going to be able to file a claim on your behalf if you are not legally considered family to the deceased.
This is never a fun subject to discuss, but it’s important that you understand what you are legally entitled to receive and what is reserved for the direct family in the wake of an unexpected death. We’ll be more than happy to help in any way we can following a wrongful death, even if that’s simply pointing you in the direction of some emotional support groups that we’ve had success with in the past.
For more information about wrongful death lawsuits in Minnesota, or for assistance with another type of injury claim, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today at (952) 230-2700.
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