Can It Already Be Too Late To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Before The Death? - See more at:

On the first weekend of June 2013, there were five separate fatal motor vehicle accidents on Minnesota roads, including a motorcyclist who rear-ended a truck on Highway 169; a pick-up truck that collided with a tractor-trailer on Highway 76 in Houston County; a car that lost control on Highway 14 in Waseca County; a woman who died after her SUV crossed the center line and hit a truck in central Minnesota; and a car that pulled out in traffic, causing two car accident in Maple Lake on Highway 55. When a person dies as a result of a accident caused by another party, whether from an auto accident, dangerous product, slip and fall or medical malpractice, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought on behalf of their family.

When does a wrongful death action in Minnesota have to be filed?

A wrongful death action is subject to a statute of limitations, which is the time by which the lawsuit must be started - otherwise, it may not be brought. In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is generally three years from the death, but no later than six years after the act or omission that caused the death. In a death caused by medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of death, but no later than four years after the date on which the cause of action first accrued.

The law presents a problem when the death occurs many years after the negligent act, as is often is the case with toxic tort and other product liability cases. In February, the Minnesota Court of Appeals in Lamere vs. St. Jude Medical, Inc. decided the plaintiff's statute of limitations began to run on his wrongful death case when the allegedly defective medical mechanical heart-valve device was first manufactured or implanted in him, and not years later when he first discovered the defect. This meant the statute of limitations expired before he died or could have discovered that the device was defective. Therefore, in many situations when there is a potentially deadly injury, it can be crucial to start an action immediately. After the victim's death, the existing personal injury action can be converted to a wrongful death action, and be deemed to have been timely commenced within the statute of limitations.

While unfortunately there is nothing that could ever truly compensate someone who lost a close family member in an accident, the qualified and compassionate Minnesota wrongful death attorneys at Bowden ♦ Cyr have the experience to help families during this most difficult of times.