Wrongful death lawsuits are difficult to prove. What needs to happen for you to win your claim on behalf of your loved one? Find out from Mullen & Mullen.
The wrongful death of your loved one may be the most difficult time in your life.
However, if you live in Missouri, there is good news for you: Missouri state law has changed much over the past 25 years to increase the rights of wrongful death victims and their families.
Here’s how to understand if Missouri law gives you the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- First, You Must Be One of the Parties Entitled to Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Forward
States have different rules on this. In Missouri, the surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren have the first rights to bring a wrongful death claim forward. Parents of a deceased child can also file a wrongful death claim.
If none of these parties have survived in the deceased person’s life, a sibling can file a wrongful death claim. If there are no surviving siblings, then a personal representative may file the claim. And if that person doesn’t exist, the rights move to a “plaintiff ad litem” appointed by courts. However, this person must also legally be requested by someone entitled to share in the proceeds of a successful wrongful death claim.
- What Must Be True to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Your loved one must pass away because of the neglectful (failure to act) or negligent actions (inappropriate or unreasonable) of another party, and you must be able to get compensation for the economic and emotional impact of your loved one’s passing. You can also allege the other party’s actions were reckless, such as when a drunk driver causes a wreck that results in the loss of life.
- What Financial Damages Can You Recover?
In Missouri, you can get money for your loved one’s:
- Lost expected earnings
- Loss of companionship
- Medical bills
- Burial expenses
- Conscious pain and suffering they experienced between their injury and death
- Loss of inheritance
- Reasonable value of services, consortium, counsel, and companionship the deceased person would offer you and your family
And you can recover money for your own emotional pain and suffering too.
- What are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Missouri?
We’re just like most states in the nation. Here’s what causes most wrongful deaths in Missouri:
- Car accidents
- Dangerous workplaces
- Construction accidents
- Defective or dangerous products
- Criminal acts like assault or robbery
- Medical malpractice
- How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
While many personal injury claims have a 5-year statute of limitations in Missouri, you have just 3 years to file your loved one’s wrongful death claim.
But that doesn’t mean you should wait – even if you’re still grieving.
Judges and juries believe family members of wrongful death victims who act fast. You’re more likely to win your case when you file your claim as soon as possible after your loved one’s wrongful death.