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Why do wrongful death lawsuits result in large jury awards?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2020 | Personal Injury, Wrongful Death

When an individual loses his or her life unexpectedly, it affects a family emotionally and economically. Minnesota’s laws allow surviving family members to file a legal claim against a company or party responsible for causing their loved one’s wrongful death. 

A lawsuit not only holds the responsible defendant liable for any negligence, it also provides a spouse and children with financial relief. If the deceased required medical treatment or surgery before his or her death, it could place a severe financial burden on a family already suffering from grief. 

Does a family need to show that negligence caused death? 

Minnesota residents have up to three years to file a legal action. This allows them time to gather the necessary evidence. The courts require substantial proof that a defendant’s wrongful action caused a loved one’s death. 

A surviving Minnesota widow, for example, filed a legal action against the driver who caused a crash that fatally struck her husband. The lawsuit took 18 months to resolve. 

A law enforcement official reconstructed the collision for the jury. He showed how the crash that took the man’s life occurred while he was making a left turn while he had the green light. 

The jury also needed to hear testimony from the driver responsible for the accident. While she vigorously defended herself, video footage from a nearby retailer’s parking lot showed that she struck the man in the intersection when he should have had a clear path to make his left turn. 

The accident reconstruction expert demonstrated that the defendant was driving too fast for the rainy weather and road conditions. The jury found her liable for the man’s death and awarded the family $2 million in damages, as reported by the Lillie Suburban Newspaper. 

What factors help calculate a jury award? 

A jury’s award may include compensation for funeral, medical or hospital expenses and the pain and suffering of the family. The court may also calculate the loss of a deceased’s financial income if he or she had continued living, along with the loss of love and comfort derived from the relationship.