Wrongful Death Jury Instructions
Wrongful Death Jury Instructions

Wrongful Death JIGS in Minnesota

Minnesota Jury Instructions CIVJIG 91.75 sets forth the measure of damages in a wrongful death claim in Minnesota. The following is a copy an example of the questions a jury is asked pertaining to what damages – which usually means money should the next-of-kin of the deceased should receive to compensate them for the wrongful death of their family member.

Money Value of Damages

When you consider damages for claimant (s), determine an amount of money that will fairly and adequately compensate (claimant)(s) for the losses (he) (she) (they) suffered as the result of this death. You should consider what (name of deceased) would have provided to the (claimant)(s) if (he) (she) (they) had lived.

The Minnesota Wrongful Death Statute was updated in 2023 and the new Jury Instructions may vary but should include the concept that a surviving next of kin should be entitled to all damages available under the law. That would include pain and suffering. Minn. Stat. 573.02, Subd. 1 states: The recovery in the action is the amount the jury deems fair and just for all damages suffered by the decedent resulting from the injury prior to the decedent’s death and the pecuniary loss resulting from the death, and shall be for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse and next of kin, proportionate to the pecuniary loss severally suffered by the death. The court then determines the proportionate pecuniary loss of the persons entitled to the recovery and orders distribution accordingly. Funeral expenses and any demand for the support of the decedent allowed by the court having jurisdiction of the action, are first deducted and paid. Punitive damages may be awarded as provided in section 549.20.

Jury Instructions – Factors to consider:

You [as the jury] should consider:
1. (His) (Her) contributions in the past
2. (His) (Her) life expectancy at the time of (his) (her) death
3. (His) (Her) health, age habits, talents, and success
4. (His) (Her) occupation
5. (His) (Her) past earnings
6. (His) (Her) likely future earning capacity and prospects of bettering (himself) (herself) had (he) (she) lived
7. (His) (Her) personal living expenses (cost of supporting the child)
8. (His) (Her) legal obligation to support the (surviving spouse) (next of kin) and the likelihood that (he)
9. All reasonable expenses incurred for a funeral and burial (etc.), and all reasonable expenses for support due to (his) (her) last sickness, including necessary medical and hospital expenses incurred after and as a result of the injuries causing death
10. [The probability of (name of decedent)’s paying the debt owned by ______________ to ______________]
11. The counsel, guidance, and aid (he) (she) would have given (claimant) (s)
12. [The advice, comfort, assistance, and protection that (name of decedent) would have given if (he) (she) had lived.]

Jury Instructions – Lost time together:

[The jury must] decide the length of time those related might be expected to survive together. You should compare the life expectancy of (name of decedent) with the life expectancy of each claimant. Take into account only the amount of time the two being compared would be expected to survive together. Base your money damages for each claimant on the shorter life expectancy of the two being compared.

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This website is not to provide legal advice as each situation is different and specific factual information must be obtained before an attorney is able to assess the legal questions relevant to your situation. In addition to providing related information this blog may also be considered an advertisement for legal services.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or abuse leading to the wrongful death of a family member, please contact our firm for a free consultation and information regarding the obligations of the facility and your rights as a resident or concerned family member.

To contact attorney Kenneth LaBore, directly please send an email to klabore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com, or call Ken at 612-743-9048.