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Wrongful Death: FAQ

What about the unpaid funeral and burial expenses?

No-fault benefits of $2,000 are available, but are not likely to cover the funeral and burial expense. The distribution of the proceeds of a wrongful death claim must account for unpaid funeral and burial expenses. Most funeral homes will put your account on hold until the claims are finished and not charge interest or penalties while the case is pending. A letter from the law firm representing you will customarily be all that is needed.

Who are the “next of kin”?

The next of kin are the spouse and first-line blood relatives, including grandparents, parents, siblings, and children.

What if the family doesn’t agree on who should be trustee for the next of kin?

Usually the choice is obvious and the family agrees. If there is a dispute a judge may need to choose who is the best choice. In some cases co-trustees can be appointed if the court feels that is the best solution.

Is a lawyer necessary?

Any recovery from wrongful death must go through the court approval process. Hiring a lawyer experienced in handling complex accidental death claims is critical to ensuring the process is done right and the interests of the family are served.

Serious Injury: FAQ

Should I hire a personal injury lawyer?

For a bad accident with serious injuries or death the answer is an unqualified YES. The insurance companies will have a team of attorneys and investigators working on minimizing the claim from the minute it is reported. Without strong representation you are at their mercy.

Does it cost more to hire an experienced litigator?

No. Most accident claims are handled on a contingent fee, meaning the lawyer is paid a portion of what is recovered. The most common fee percentage in Minnesota is one-third. The lawyer will typically advance all out-of-pocket expenses of the litigation and will be reimbursed for those costs at the end of the case.

What if I don’t want to sue anyone?

You control whether your case goes to court. You do not have to sue anyone to make a claim for damages. Whether your case settles out of court or goes to a jury will be a decision you make with the guidance and advice of your lawyer.

Can I leave the medical expenses “open” when I settle?

No. Accident cases are typically a one-time lump sum settlement or verdict which must include an estimation of future medical expenses that a doctor says are likely to occur.

Who pays my bills after no-fault runs out?

Health Insurance. After your no-fault medical benefits are exhausted your own health insurance will pay your bills.

Can my health insurer get reimbursed for the bills they pay out of my settlement?

Yes. That is called “subrogation”. Their right to get paid back will depend on your contract language. Failure to honor your insurance carrier’s right of subrogation can jeopardize your coverage in the future.

Personal Injury Minnesota

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