If you lose a loved one because another party acted negligently, Minnesota law allows you to recover damages via a wrongful death lawsuit. Though no amount of compensation can bring your loved one back, it can help ease the financial burden left in his or her absence and allow you to focus more on your emotional health than your financial strain. That said, not just anyone can recover damages for wrongful death. FindLaw explains which family members can seek monetary recovery, as well as for what damages.

Typically, for a person to recover for wrongful death, that person must prove he or she relied on the deceased in some way. For instance, a spouse is the most likely to recover because spouses often split expenses. A minor child might recover, as a minor is fully dependent upon an adult parent or caregiver. Per Minnesota law, a person who is otherwise an “heir,” such as a parent or sibling, may also recover compensation for wrongful death.

Every state identifies different individuals and specifies a different order of priority for those who may recover damages via a wrongful death suit. In Minnesota, the order or priority is as follows: The surviving husband or wife and minor children, adult children, parents, grandparents and siblings of the decedent.

Courts award damages for wrongful death as a means of compensating the aggrieved family members for expenses incurred as the result of the loss. The most common type of damages include medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity. However, courts may award compensation for loss of companionship, pain and suffering and loss of services, such as home maintenance services.

This article is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.