Death is an inevitable part of our lives, yet we hope our loved ones stay with us for as long as possible. If you recently lost a loved one, Dickman Law extends sincere condolences. If your loved one’s death was the result of someone else’s negligence, we could help you seek justice.
We can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit. In this civil action, the deceased’s family sues the person or organization they believe was responsible in the hopes of receiving financial compensation for their loss. A wrongful death attorney can help you with all the legal proceedings, from gathering documents to filing a lawsuit. Before we dive any deeper, let’s first understand the wrongful death statute in Missouri.
What Is Wrongful Death in Missouri?
A wrongful death claim can be filed in Missouri against a person or business whose negligent or intentional actions result in the death of another person, as defined by Missouri law. You can claim if the deceased had survived, they would have filed a personal injury lawsuit.
However, in the instance of wrongful death, the surviving family members must take action and sue for damages. Wrongful death cases are all different. They can’t be deemed a one size fits all kind of case, making it important to have legal representation.
Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Missouri
There are several varieties of wrongful death claims. Nevertheless, certain wrongful death lawsuits are more typical than others.
- Car Accidents: One of the most prevalent causes of wrongful death suits. Any careless driver might be sued for wrongful death after an accident. Usually, drunk drivers face these lawsuits.
- Medical Malpractice: If a medical expert makes a mistake, it could be deadly for the patient. Surgical blunders and incorrect diagnoses are two errors that might have disastrous consequences.
- Product Defects: Wrongful death lawsuits alleging product faults are also prevalent. A wrongful death suit might be filed over anything from a child’s toy to a kitchen appliance.
Other self-explanatory wrongful death claims include:
- Dog attacks
- Nursing home abuse
- Slip and fall accidents
- Workplace mishaps
This is not an exhaustive list, and you might have a claim that might not be mentioned above. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Missouri to know for sure whether or not you can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The lawyer will explain more than just your chances of filing, they will also explain who can sue for wrongful death, what damages you can seek, the compensation cap determined by state law, and much more. Let’s begin with who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Missouri.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri?
There are three categories of people given preference by Missouri law to file wrongful death claims.
The decedent’s spouse, children, and descendants (such as grandchildren) would be eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent. Whether the deceased had a biological, adoptive, legitimate, or illegitimate relationship makes no difference. It also makes no difference in the case of parents, whether they are biological or adoptive parents.
When no person from the preference mentioned above is qualified to assert a wrongful death claim, then the following can file the claim:
- Descendants of siblings
If there are no eligible claimants in the 2 lists above, the statute allows a plaintiff ad litem to file a claim on behalf of a person entitled to a portion of the wrongful death action’s revenues. The law states that in this case, the lawsuit can only be brought against a single defendant for the death of a single individual.
A Survival Action Might Also Exist in Addition to a Wrongful Death Action
A survival action is a legal proceeding brought by a deceased person’s estate against the person or entity responsible for the death. When someone dies, their estate may be able to collect compensation for their pain and suffering from the time of their injuries until they pass away.
The survival action is filed on behalf of the decedent’s estate by the personal representative of the probate estate. In Missouri, all damages may be granted in a single action. Thus there’s no need to file a separate cause of action for survival damages. A major aspect of a wrongful death lawsuit is the damages you can recover, which might vary from state to state.
Damages You Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Case in Missouri
Damages recoverable under Missouri’s wrongful death law range from emotional distress to loss of consortium to funeral and burial expenses, among others. They are the following:
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Hospital Expenses
- Lost wages.
- Punitive damages
To comprehend the worth of your claim and the entire amount you are entitled to collect, you need a Missouri wrongful death attorney. Missouri also levies a cap on the damages amount.
Damages Cap in Missouri Wrongful Death Claims
The state of Missouri does not place limits on damages for wrongful death lawsuits. This implies that your attorney for wrongful death may seek the entire amount of your damages. The only exception to this rule is when medical negligence causes death.
Medical malpractice claims, particularly those involving wrongful death, are subject to damage limitations at $787,671 in 2022. Besides the limit on recoverable damages, you must also consider the time limit for filing a claim.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Lawsuits in Missouri?
A “statute of limitations” is a law that specifies how much time you have after the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Missouri, the time limit for wrongful death claims is three years. It’s quite unlikely that the court would even consider the lawsuit if it’s not submitted within that time frame.
Complexity and uncertainty in the law make wrongful death cases difficult to resolve. Obtaining the services of a personal injury lawyer in Missouri is essential if you want to file a wrongful death action.
A knowledgeable attorney will be able to provide you with guidance that is relevant to your unique circumstances. He also clearly explains how the proceeds will be split if there is more than one plaintiff.
How Are Wrongful Death Proceeds Divided in Missouri?
The proceeds from wrongful death lawsuits in Missouri are distributed to the plaintiff’s class. Whether or not they filed the complaint, all members of the class agree on the allocation of settlement proceeds. Even if an heir didn’t file a wrongful death lawsuit, they might still be compensated for their losses.
It is possible for the heir to sign away their right to any recovery they may be entitled to. If the parties cannot agree on how to share the proceeds, the court will decide after hearing arguments from both sides.
Proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit are typically distributed after a court hearing. A close relative, such as a spouse or kid, will get more financial support after death than a distant one.
To better understand the case specifics, you need legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer in Missouri who is well versed with all the laws and complexities of Missouri’s wrongful death legislature.
Let a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Missouri Represent Your Case
After losing a loved one, you already have a lot to deal with. A wrongful death lawyer in Missouri might be of assistance if you’re dealing with the death of a loved one and need to put your energy toward recovering rather than thinking about the specifics of a claim.
Your chances of receiving a settlement are stronger the sooner you retain counsel. Wrongful death claims can take time and be exhausting for the deceased’s family members. Trust Dickman Law to take away all your legal worries. If you want to consult a compassionate, experienced, and knowledgeable lawyer, contact us.