“Fred and Eric proved that our son didn’t die by accident and our greatest relief was to watch these lawyers work and fight for our son.” –Testimonial of One of Our Clients
Our Law Firm Mission Statement: To help families hold accountable those who caused their loved one’s wrongful death.
How Our Attorneys Handle Wrongful Death Cases: Meeting the Needs of the Family
When we represent a family, we take the time to understand the life of the loved one who died and how the loss has adversely affected each member of the family.
“You can’t begin to understand the depth of a survivor’s grief until you see it with your own eyes,” said Fred Pritzker, an attorney and founder of Pritzker Hageman law firm. “I will never forget when I met with an older woman whose husband had just been killed in an accident. We talked for a long time and then she showed me her husband’s work boots. They were next to their bed, as if he had just taken them off. It was the most painful and quiet display of love and loss that I’ve ever seen.”
We try to get as full a picture as possible of the person’s life because we have to persuasively present evidence as to the value of that life. The process is difficult for the family, but we understand and try to make it part of the healing process and not an additional burden.
Our goals are to get justice for families and to make sure they do not needlessly suffer financially.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our lawyers are available to talk with you for free and answer your questions. You can also read some of our answers to frequently asked questions below.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a statutory claim the spouse and “next of kin” have if there is sufficient evidence of maliciously intentional or negligent actions or failure to act of a person and/or company. Because of this claim, the family has the right to sue for compensation, and thereby get some justice.
We are often asked who can sue for wrongful death. Certain family members, “next of kin”, can generally sue, including the wife, husband, son, daughter, parent. If the person who died is not married and his or her parents are no longer living, the person’s brothers and sisters, or perhaps other relatives, may have a claim. The laws of each state vary, so it is extremely important to talk with an experienced lawyer.
Can I Sue if My Child Died?
If your child died and there is evidence a person or company is at fault, you may have the right to sue for compensation. Our law firm has represented families of children tragically killed by negligent drivers and companies that sold defective products. For example, one of our clients lost her husband and two children in a crash, and our investigation found out that the crash was caused by a negligently repaired vehicle. We won a multi-million-dollar settlement from the company that had serviced the vehicle. In another case, Fred Pritzker represented a mother whose baby was suffocated in a baby product. He won a large settlement for the mother, and this case prompted a recall of the product.
You may have a case even if your unborn child died. Attorney Fred Pritzker won a $3 million settlement for a woman who had a miscarriage after she ate contaminated food.
What if My Adult Child Died?
In most states, the parent of an adult child can sue if the child was not married and does not have children. You need to contact a lawyer to find out what legal rights you have.
Can a Young Child Sue?
If the person who died had a young son or daughter (under 18 years of age, also called a minor child), that child may have the right to sue the person and/or company responsible for the father or mother’s death. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team have handled many cases like this. In most of our cases, the surviving parent files the lawsuit on behalf of both that parent and the child. A portion of the money won is generally placed in trust on behalf of the child, while the rest goes to the surviving parent, if that parent was still married to the person who was killed.
In one of our cases, the mother of two minor children was run over by a semi-trailer truck as she rode her bicycle. The children’s father hired attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman to represent the family. Fred and Eric filed a lawsuit against the truck driver and trucking company, which denied fault. Fred and Eric won a multi-million-dollar jury verdict for the family. Some of the money was placed in a trust for the benefit of the children and the rest went to the father.
Can I Sue if I Am an Adult Child?
In many states, you can sue for a parent’s death if you are an adult child. Your age and level of dependency are factors that your lawyer may need to consider. You may have a claim even if you are totally independent of your deceased mother or father.
Can a Spouse Sue if the Couple Were Separated?
In most states, yes, a spouse that was separated from a husband or wife can generally sue, but the amount of compensation may be affected. In general, a person who is divorced from the person who died will not have a claim. An attorney will need to be consulted regarding the rights of a separated or divorced person.
What about Pain and Suffering Compensation?
In some states, the family can get pain and suffering compensation. Your lawyer should consider this as he or she decides in which state the lawsuit should be filed.
What if an Injured Person Dies after a Personal Injury Lawsuit is Filed?
If an injured person files a personal injury lawsuit and then dies before there is a settlement or verdict, the family may have the right to sue for compensation. In some of these cases, depending on the state where the suit is filed, the family may be able to recover pain and suffering compensation. If the family has this right, the suit may have to be filed quickly, so an attorney should be contacted as soon as possible. Our lawyers have handled cases like this.
Can I Sue a City, State or School?
It depends on the facts of your case. Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman have won several multi-million-dollar cases. We recommend you talk with Fred, Eric or another lawyer about your case and whether the city, state or school has immunity under the law.
How Much is My Case Worth?
There are many, many factors that your lawyer will need to consider to determine how much your case is worth:
- The state in which the lawsuit is filed (some states limit recoveries);
- The age and occupation of the person who died;
- Insurance policy liability limits;
- Who you can sue.
Who can be sued is an often-overlooked, critical factor in determining the value of a case. For example, we represented the family of a man who was killed when he hit an 18-wheeler that had jackknifed on an icy road. We found evidence that the driver had been speeding and sued both the driver and the trucking company. If we had only sued the driver, the family would not have gotten a large settlement. Another example is our many cases involving severe food poisoning caused by E. coli, Listeria and other deadly pathogens. We frequently sue a restaurant, distributor, food processor and others. This is not because our clients are greedy. It is because each company only has a limited amount of liability coverage.
How Is Money Distributed after a Settlement or Trial Verdict?
In most of these cases, the family agrees upon how the money should be divided and the judge simply approves the agreement. But if the family cannot agree upon a distribution that is fair to all, the judge will take testimony and then decide the amount each person will receive.
How Long Does Our Family Have to File a Lawsuit?
This depends on the state where the suit is filed and the facts of your case. It is generally between 6 months and 3 years, but if there was intent to kill (murder in the criminal context), there may be no limit. Each state’s law provides for a “statute of limitations” for different kinds of cases. A lawyer needs to be consulted, and your lawyer needs to consider this when deciding in what state to file a lawsuit. In some cases, the suit could be filed in 2 or more states, and it is up to the attorney to decide which state is best for his or her client.
Can Our Family Just Get a Settlement and Not File a Lawsuit?
Yes, and Fred has had cases where that has happened. In one, a hotel was clearly at fault. The hotel did not want bad press and quickly settled for several million dollars. However, when a company is not willing to settle, the only way to get compensation is to file a lawsuit.
At our law firm, we generally start settlement negotiations with a “demand letter” stating what the case is about and how much money the family should get for the loss of their loved one. If the company is unwilling to settle, we continue working to get a settlement, even after we file a lawsuit. Sometimes cases are settled right before or during a trial.
At every step, we consult with our clients. This is what one client had to say about our law firm:
“They let us decide on the settlement. It gave our family relief and there was enough money that we could put it away for our remaining children to help them succeed in life in the future.’’
What if Someone Else in My Family Has Already Hired a Lawyer?
If someone else in your family has already hired a lawyer, you still have the right to hire your own lawyer; however, there is generally only one lawsuit that the family can file. This means that for that lawsuit one of the following will generally happen:
- More than one lawyer will be helping family members with the case; or
- The judge will choose one of the lawyers to represent the family.
What about a Class Action?
A class action lawsuit is generally not applicable, but you will need to consult with a lawyer. We strongly recommend that you get another opinion if a lawyer tells you that your case should be part of a class action lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Attorney:
Experience, Excellence, and a Record of Success
Because of our past successes, our law firm has the resources and experience to take on complex cases and obtain significant compensation for families. Lawyers at our law firm have won wrongful death lawsuits involving auto accidents, medical malpractice, product liability and other situations in which the fault of someone other than an employer caused the fatal incident.
Attorneys Fred Pritzker, Eric Hageman and Brendan Flaherty are our lead lawyers for these cases. They have obtained several multimillion-dollar awards for families, including a recent $4 Million Settlement. Fred and Eric have been named “Super Lawyers” by Law & Politics for several consecutive years, including the current year. Our law firm is listed in U.S. World and News Report’s The Best Law Firm’s in America.
Our lawyers have appeared on CNN, CBS News and other news programs to discuss litigation and public safety. They have also been interviewed by The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Lawyers USA and others.
We are a nationally-recognized law firm and represents clients throughout the United States. The firm’s offices are in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We have helped people sue and win against truck drivers, railroads (for crossing crashes), hotels, restaurants, schools, multinational companies, and others.
You can contact a MN wrongful death attorney at our law firm.