Wrongful Death: Damages Must be Proven in Court

Under North Dakota law, a wrongful death is one that arises from the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another. The act that causes death may be negligent, reckless, or intentional.

Wrongful death claims can be made in a variety of circumstances, including fatal car accidents, medical malpractice, and dangerous or defective products. In North Dakota, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by any of the following people in the following order:arlington-1685420_1920

  • Surviving husband or wife, if any
  • Surviving children, if any
  • Surviving mother or father
  • Surviving grandparent
  • Personal representative
  • Person who had primary physical custody of the decedent before the wrongful act

If anyone entitled to bring the action refuses or does not do so for a period of 30 days after demand of the individual next in order, that person may then bring the action. A wrongful death claim in the state must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased person’s death.

Damages Vary

The damages available in wrongful death lawsuits vary according to state law. Economic damages typically include the following:

  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation services and custodial care
  • Loss of earnings and earning capacity
  • Loss of income and support
  • Loss of employment, employment opportunities, or loss of business

Although more difficult to quantify, non-economic damages are often considered more valuable than economic damages, and include:

  • Pain, suffering, and inconvenience
  • Physical impairment or disfigurement
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • Fear of injury, loss, or illness
  • Loss of society, companionship, or consortium
  • Injury to reputation or humiliation

Wrongful Death Damage Calculations

As with any other personal injury case brought in North Dakota, the damages awarded are based on the losses that are provable in court. Contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys online, or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 (toll-free) today.


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