The unexpected death of a loved one is something we hope that you never have to deal with, but it’s an unfortunate reality for some individuals. In an effort to better protect people who are going through some of the toughest days of their lives, the Minnesota legislature recently expanded wrongful death benefit protections for grieving family members. We take a closer look at the new expanded benefits in today’s blog.
New Wrongful Death Benefits
The new wrongful death benefits are outlined in the Minnesota Survivorship Statute, which became law as part of the Omnibus Judiciary and Public Safety Bill that was passed on May 20, 2023. In a nutshell, the law allows for surviving spouses and family members to collect compensation for things like pain, suffering, embarrassment, emotional distress, disability and disfigurement that was suffered by the injured person before they died, regardless of whether the death was caused by the injury or not.
Previously, when an injured individual died, a large part of their claim also essentially died with them. If their death was unrelated to the injury, the only part of the claim that would be compensable was for “special damages,” like medical bills or lost wages caused by the injuries. If the death was caused by injury, the family was still limited in their ability to collect damages. They could collect for special damages and the value of lost “counsel, guidance and aid,” and “advice, comfort assistance, companionship and protection,” but the previous law allowed nothing for the pain, suffering and disability suffered by the injured person before they died.
This used to work out in favor of many insurance companies, who could drag their feet when an injured claimant was old and sick. They knew that if the claimant passed away, a large portion of their potential payout would disappear with the death. Now, personal injury damages survive the death of the injured party, which is a gamechanger for surviving family members. Moreover, the change is effective immediately, meaning it applies to all pending and future claims. If you suffered the unexpected loss of a family member as a result of fault or someone else’s negligence, you now have a greater ability to collect the compensation you and your family deserve.
While we know that there is no amount of money that can ease the pain you are feeling at this time, you can take solace in knowing that this change helps to ensure that you have access to the compensation your loved one deserved. It’s likely to be a highly emotional and complex process, which is why it is best to move forward with an attorney by your side. We can help write claims based on the new law and ensure everything is accounted for while you focus on the health and well-being of your family. It won’t be easy, but it will be easier if you have a professional in your corner helping to look out for your family’s best interests.
For more information about the new wrongful death benefits laws, or to talk to an attorney to see if you have a valid workers’ compensation or personal injury claim, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today at (952) 230-2700.
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