Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Lynn Martelli
Lynn Martelli


As Theodore Roosevelt rightly said, “Death is always, and under all circumstances, a tragedy,” but the trauma and suffering intensify when you lose a loved one due to someone else’s neglect and carelessness.

Numerous unintentional and wrongful deaths are reported in the United States every year. While nothing can bring back your loved ones, the legal system allows you to claim damages for the unwarranted demise of a dear family member.

However, not many individuals who experience this loss are aware of how to file a wrongful death claim. Moreover, they are unsure who is eligible to file a relevant lawsuit. If you have experienced the loss of your loved one due to the negligence of another party, this blog post will give you an insight into whether or not you can claim an unfair death lawsuit.

Are You Entitled to Claim Damages for a Wrongful Death?

The Minnesota state law allows several victim family members to file for a lawsuit. The following relatives can take legal action.

The Surviving Partner

The surviving spouse is legally entitled to claim undue death lawsuits. A partner refers to individuals who meet the legal framework requirements of being married (even without formally registering their marriage). It means that the deceased person and the claiming partner are in agreement for marriage, living together, and possess proof of their marriage. The eligibility criteria apply to same-sex partners if they satisfy the common marriage law.  

One potential concern arising with such claims by partners is when the spouses were separated or were going through a divorce. Partners who finalized their divorce before the accident and resulting death cannot claim the death compensation. However, if the process was not completed and the spouses had been separated, but the divorce hadn’t been finalized until the accidental death of one of the partners, the surviving partner would be eligible to make a claim.

Partners whose divorce has been finalized before the individual’s death cannot file for a wrongful death claim as they are no longer spouses once a divorce is final.

The legal marriage framework doesn’t consider live-in partners as married partners, and hence, live-in partners do not have the legal right to claim a death lawsuit.


The deceased’s parents are legally entitled to damages in case of accidental death. The law applies to the adoptive and biological parents; however, the adoptive parents can only file a suit if the adoption process is final and complete before the death. 


If an individual dies during an accident due to the other party’s negligence, the children of the deceased can file the claim.

The law allows biological and adopted children to exercise this right; however, the adoption process must be final and complete, just as it is for parents.

If the children are below 18, the statute of limitations doesn’t apply from the date of the death. Instead, it starts once the minor turns 18 and is legally eligible to file a claim. In most instances involving the victim’s minor children, a guardian can file the claim on the children’s behalf. 

Grandparents and Siblings

The next of kin who can apply for an accidental death lawsuit in Minnesota include grandparents and siblings. It protects the rights of grandparents and siblings, especially if they depend on the deceased individual for financial or emotional support.

The Statute of Limitations

The eligible family members can file a wrongful death claim within three years of the date of the accident that resulted in an unforeseen death. However, the only exception is when the children are minors and do not have a guardian who can file a lawsuit for them. In that case, the statute of limitations starts when the minor turns 18 and remains valid for three years.

You’re Entitled to Compensation!

Monetary compensation may never be sufficient to make up for the loss of a loved one, but it serves as one of the measures to secure the deceased’s dependents financially.

If your loved one has died in an accident caused by someone’s negligence, it is your right to claim damages, and seeking legal assistance from a personal injury, and wrongful death lawyer can help you get your rightful claim.

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