The Mn Criminal Defense, Personal Injury & Family Law Blog
Lawyers in Brainerd, MN and the Five Leading Causes of Accidental Death
September 20, 2019
Too many times, first responders are unable to save accident victims. Often, these individuals expire before responders even reach the scene.
Minnesota has one of the broadest wrongful death laws in the country which allows survivors to obtain substantial compensation. But no amount of money in the world can fully compensate for a loss like a wrongful death. Nevertheless, the compensation which lawyers in Brainerd, MN can obtain helps survivors move on with their lives. And that’s what the deceased person would have wanted.
Even though today’s cars and trucks are much safer than the ones on the road in the 20th century, car wrecks still kill about 40,000 Americans a year. And, Minnesota has one of the highest death rates in the country. These incidents often cause internal injuries, like brain and spine injuries, which are extremely serious and difficult to treat.
Driver impairment, such as prescription drug use and excessive fatigue, cause most fatal car crashes. Operational error, such as speeding and distracted driving, cause most of the rest. Defective products, such as unsafe airbags, cause a handful of wrecks. These different causes illustrate the different theories of recovery in these cases.
Ordinary Negligence: Minnesota law imposes a duty of reasonable care on most citizens. For motorists, that duty involves things like driving defensively. If tortfeasors (negligent driver) violate the standard of care and that violation causes injury, they may be liable for damages.
Negligence Per Se: Many times, the law establishes the standard of care. Speed limits are a good example. If the tortfeasor violates a safety law, the tortfeasor may be liable for damages as a matter of law, no matter how careful s/he was.
Strict Liability: Manufacturers are strictly liable for any injuries their defective products cause. Once again, it does not matter how careful the company was. Manufacturers are strictly liable for both design defects and manufacturing defects.
Damages in a wrongful death claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as the decedent’s final medical expenses, and noneconomic losses, such as the survivors’ grief and suffering. Lawyers in Brainerd, MN may be able to obtain punitive damages as well, in some extreme cases.
These incidents almost always involve drug overdose. That overdose could be a legal or illegal drug, and a prescription painkiller is almost always the common denominator.
Unintentional overdoses are extremely complex matters, even for the most experienced lawyers in Brainerd, MN, because there are many different causes. The responsible party could be the person who consumed too much medicine, the doctor who wrote a prescription without asking questions, the pill manufacturer who made the dangerous product, or the transportation company which shipped the drug and did not fulfill all its obligations under the Controlled Substances Act.
Lawyers in Brainerd, MN and Falls
These injuries plague Minnesota’s elderly population at a disproportionate rate. Falls are one of the leading causes of accidental death for folks over 65, and they are the leading cause of accidental death for folks over 85. Older people often suffer from vision problems, so they are less able to see hazards on the ground. Additionally, many older people suffer from gait disorders. When they stumble, they often fall hard.
Procedurally, falls and other premises liability claims, like swimming pool drownings, work a bit differently. To obtain compensation, lawyers in Brainerd, MN must establish:
Legal Duty: The degree of responsibility varies based on the relationship between the victim and owner. For example, if the victim was an invitee (a person who had permission to be on the property and whose presence benefitted the owner in some way), the owner has a duty of reasonable care, like the one for motorists.
Knowledge of Hazard: The owner must have actual or constructive knowledge (should have known). Emails, repair estimates, and other direct evidence of actual knowledge usually surfaces during a lawsuit’s discovery process. Circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge usually involves the time-notice rule. If a hazard existing for a long time, the owner should have discovered it.
These same principles also apply to assaults, as outlined below.
Swimming Pool Drownings
The same duty/knowledge approach sometimes applies in these situations. Additionally, the aforementioned negligence per se rule may apply as well. Swimming pool owners must comply with pool safety laws. These laws vary in different localities. They usually include things like self-latching gates and unclimbable fences which completely surround the water. Owners who violate such laws may be liable for damages as a matter of law.
There are other kinds of swimming pool injuries in addition to drownings. Excessive pool cleaning chemicals, like chlorine, may cause chemical burns. Too few chemicals may cause bacterial infections. These injuries often beset individuals with pre-existing conditions. Under Minnesota law, these victims are usually entitled to full compensation for their injuries.
Wet spots on floors and other such hazards often cause falls. Inadequate security, nonfunctional cameras, burned-out lights, and other such items often cause assaults.
The property owner is legally responsible if a lawyer in Brainerd, MN establishes duty and knowledge. Additionally, an attorney must also establish foreseeability. Evidence of foreseeability includes prior, similar incidents either at that property or at a nearby location.
Connect with a Fearless Attorney
At Carlson & Jones, P.A., our lawyers in Brainerd, MN do not back down from the big insurance companies. Call us today for a free consultation, and we’ll work to get the compensation and justice you deserve.