The loss of a family member is difficult under any circumstances. However, when the death is because of a wrongful or negligent act, you may feel anger and resentment in addition to overwhelming grief. If another person or party caused your loved one’s death, you and your family might be entitled to receive compensation in a wrongful death claim led by an experienced Missouri Wrongful Death attorney.
A monetary judgment will not bring back your loved one or ease the pain you are suffering. However, forcing the responsible party to compensate you for your loss can ease the financial burden placed on your family. In addition, a wrongful death claim can give you a measure of peace knowing that you obtained justice for your loved one.
You Have The Right to Know The Truth
In some cases, it may not be clear exactly why a person died. The parties responsible for the death may not always be forthcoming in admitting their wrongdoing. However, you deserve to know the truth about the death of your family member. Your family deserves to understand why you lost your loved one prematurely. At Thompson Law Office, our Missouri wrongful death attorneys work with families like yours who have suffered a terrible loss. We help families discover the truth and shine a light on the wrongdoing that took their family member away from them.
We understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family. The thought of filing a wrongful death lawsuit may be overwhelming. You can be assured that our legal team will do everything within our power to make the process as stress-free for you as possible. We want you to focus on yourself and your family while we fight to hold the negligent party responsible for your loved one’s death accountable.
Call (816) 471-3414 for a free consultation with a Missouri wrongful death attorney.
What is Considered a Wrongful Death in Missouri?
What is considered a wrongful death in Missouri? When a person causes the death of another person through negligent or intentional acts, the death may be considered “wrongful.” Many different situations may give rise to a wrongful death action. Examples of some of the situations that might result in a wrongful death claim include:
- Automobile Accidents
- Defective Products
- Bicycle Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Premises Liability (i.e. Slip and Fall Claims)
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Dog Attacks
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Violent or Intentional Acts
After the sudden loss of a loved one, it may be difficult to know what steps to take to hold the party responsible for the death liable for damages. Seeking the advice of a Missouri wrongful death attorney can be helpful. If you are unsure whether or not to file a claim for wrongful death, the attorneys of Thompson Law Office can help. We provide free case reviews so that you can get the legal advice you need to decide what you need to do to protect your family.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri?
Who can sue for wrongful death in Missouri? You must have legal standing to bring a wrongful death claim. Missouri’s Wrongful Death Statute specifies who can file an action for wrongful death. Only the individuals named in the statute have a valid cause of action for wrongful death.
The classes of individuals who are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit are:
- Class 1 — The surviving spouse; children; lineal descendants of a deceased child; or the parents.
- Class 2 — If there are no individuals in Class 1 to file an action, the siblings or their descendants may be entitled to damages.
- Class 3 — If there are no individuals in Class 1 or 2 to file an action, the court may appoint someone to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
It is also important to note that only one action may be filed under the Wrongful Death Statute against a defendant. Therefore, it may be important to work with an experienced Missouri wrongful death attorney to determine who should be named in the wrongful death claim as plaintiffs.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?
Your time to file a wrongful death claim is limited. All states have a Statute of Limitations that defines the deadlines for filing various lawsuits. In Missouri, the Statute of Limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is three years from the date of the person’s death. If you do not file your lawsuit before the expiration of the wrongful death statute of limitations, the court will likely dismiss the case upon the defendant’s request.
It is best to consult with an experienced Missouri wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the death of a loved one. In some cases, the deadline to file a wrongful death claim could be much shorter, such as in a case involving a government entity or government employee. Therefore, we strongly urge you to contact our office now to discuss your case with an attorney.
What Types of Damages Are Compensable in a Wrongful Death Case?
Missouri wrongful death laws dictate the types of damages that are allowed in a wrongful death case. Family members may seek compensation for financial damages and non-financial damages. The laws are very specific about the types of wrongful death damages that are allowed in these cases.
There are a variety of actual or financial damages a family may seek in a wrongful death action. Financial damages include:
- Funeral, cremation, and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred by the decedent between the date of injury and date of death
- Loss of future income of the decedent
- Loss of comfort, services, companionship, instruction, training, counsel, and guidance that the decedent would have provided to family members
Non-financial damages include the suffering that the decedent would have endured between the date of the injury and the date of death.
How much can you sue for wrongful death in Missouri? There is typically not a cap on the amount of compensation a jury may award in a wrongful death action. However, if the wrongful death claim involves medical malpractice, the state places a cap on certain damages. The cap for non-economic damages in a medical-related wrongful death action is adjusted each year for inflation. The cap for 2019 for non-catastrophic injuries is $427,901, and the cap for catastrophic injuries is $748,828.
Our Missouri wrongful death attorneys work closely with your family to maximize the wrongful death awards you receive in a claim. We believe that families who have suffered the loss of a loved one because of negligent or wrongful acts deserve to be compensated fully for their losses and damages.
What Are The Legal Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri?
How do you prove wrongful death in Missouri? Proving liability in a wrongful death lawsuit can be a complex matter. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of your loved one’s death. The investigation also identifies the party or parties responsible for the death as well as evidence that can be used to prove each legal element in a wrongful death claim.
You have the burden of proof when you file a claim for wrongful death. In all wrongful death cases, the basic wrongful death elements you must prove are:
- An individual died;
- The death was caused by the wrongdoing of another individual or entity; and,
- You suffered damages because of the loss of your family member.
However, the cause of death dictates the additional legal elements that you must prove to be successful in a wrongful death action. For instance, most wrongful death cases involve negligence. Therefore, you must prove the basic elements of a negligence case which are:
- Duty of Care — You must prove that the person owed a duty of care to your loved one. For example, if the death occurred because of a traffic accident, the defendant owed a duty of care to obey traffic laws and safely operate the vehicle.
- Breach of the Duty of Care — The second element you must prove is that the person breached his or her duty of care. In the example of a traffic accident, you need to prove that the defendant’s negligent acts caused the collision. For example, the defendant failed to yield the right of way, and that action caused the collision.
- Causation — You must also prove that the breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of your loved one’s death. For instance, you must prove that your family member died as a direct result of the traffic accident. If the death was unrelated to the injuries sustained in the accident, your claim might be denied.
There could be additional legal elements that you must prove in a wrongful death action. For example, the elements of a case involving a defective product or premises liability may be slightly different from a car accident. Wrongful death claims can be difficult to prove. Therefore, you want to work with an attorney who has extensive experience handling a variety of wrongful death claims. Our attorneys at Thompson Law Office handle all types of wrongful death claims.
Why Should I Hire a Missouri Wrongful Death Attorney?
You may be wondering if you should hire a wrongful death attorney in Missouri to represent your family after the loss of a loved one. The thought of a long court battle may seem overwhelming and pointless because the person who caused the death of your loved one was not punished. However, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil matter, not a criminal matter.
The person responsible for causing the death of your loved one does not need to be charged with a crime or convicted of a crime to be held liable for damages in a wrongful death claim. Therefore, one of the reasons for hiring a wrongful death attorney is to hold the responsible party accountable for the wrongful acts that lead to the death of your family member. An attorney can help you seek justice, even though the person escaped criminal charges for his or her actions.
Other reasons why you should consider hiring an attorney to represent you and your family include:
- Financial Reasons — The loss of a loved one can place a financial strain on your family. A wrongful death action can provide the financial support that your family needs as you move forward with your lives.
- Resources — A wrongful death lawsuit can be an overwhelming undertaking without an attorney. A law firm has the resources available for investigations, expert witnesses, and other costs involved in filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Legal Expertise — The laws related to wrongful death claims are complex. You need someone who has extensive legal knowledge to draft legal documents, maintain deadlines, and build a strong case that proves fault and liability.
- Peace of Mind — You want to seek justice for your loved one and your family, but you have many details to deal with after the death of a family member. Our attorneys and our team of legal professionals handle all aspects of your case so that you can focus on your family.
- Guidance and Support — In addition to providing legal advice, we provide guidance and support as you go through this process. We help you navigate the court system. You do not have to go through this process alone. Thompson Law Office is here to help you and your family during this difficult time.
Contact The Attorneys of Thompson Law Office to Discuss Your Case
We want to know what happened to your loved one and your family. Our Missouri wrongful death attorneys handle sensitive legal matters compassionately and professionally. We take our role as legal advocates very seriously. It is our desire to provide you with exceptional legal services while providing support and guidance throughout the entire process of filing a wrongful death claim. We do everything possible to get you the wrongful death settlements that you and your family deserve
If you have questions, please contact our office for a free consultation by calling (816) 471-3414. We are here for you when you need a trusted legal advocate.