What meets the requirements of a wrongful death lawsuit?
Wrongful death claims result from situations where a victim who should have filed a personal injury claim ends up getting killed by the wrongful actions of a defendant. A number of situations can qualify for wrongful death compensation.
Intentional killing of a victim: Claims for wrongful death may be made if a person purposely kills another. For instance, if a defendant is suspected of murdering a victim, they face criminal charges for that particular incident. In addition to all criminal charges, survivors or family members of the victim are allowed by law to file civil lawsuits against the defendant who has to face separate charges for wrongful death.
Death as a result of medical malpractice: Claims for wrongful death may be made if a person purposely kills another. For instance, if a defendant is suspected of murdering a victim, they face criminal charges for that particular incident. In addition to all criminal charges, survivors or family members of the victim are allowed by law to file civil lawsuits against the defendant who has to face separate charges for wrongful death.
Fatalities in an auto accident that result from negligence: If an accident caused by a driver who was negligent, results in death, and investigators gather sufficient evidence to prove so, then a wrongful death case can apply. Forms of negligence displayed by drivers include: driving under the influence of alcohol, driving recklessly, failing to observe traffic rules among other conducts.
Some personal injury cases can be turned into wrongful death lawsuits. Any personal injury circumstance can lead to wrongful death, though there is an exception that is quite notable. In a work setup, injuries that cause death need to be handled preferentially through the compensation system of the worker.
What are the various forms of compensatory damages in a wrongful death lawsuit?
The types of damages permitted in a wrongful death case are dictated by the Missouri death laws. Family members may seek redress for damages of either financial or non−financial nature. The law is particularly clear about the kinds of wrongful death damages that should be considered in all cases.
Families may seek a number of financial or actual damages in a case of wrongful death. Financial damages are in the form of:
- Expenses incurred in the funeral, burial, and cremation procedures
- Amount paid by the decedent to cover medical expenses starting from the injury date to the date of death
- The decedent’s loss of future wages
- Loss of affection, security, comfort, training, services, guidance, instruction and counsel that the family members would have received from the decedent.
Non−financial damages are in the form of distress that the decedent would have withstood from the injury date to the date of death.
Typically, there is no limit to the amount that a jury can award as compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. But when the claim case incorporates medical malpractice, there is a certain cap placed on the possible amount payable. Each year, the limit for non−economic damages in a wrongful death case related to medical malpractice is adjusted for inflation.
Our Missouri wrongful death lawyers work hand in hand with families to exhaust the possibilities in a wrongful death claim. We strongly believe that families who suffered through losing one of their loved ones as a result of wrongful or negligent actions are worthy of receiving full compensation for damages.
Reasons why you should hire a wrongful death lawyer
If the perpetrator of your family member’s death was not punished, going to court may seem a pointless and overwhelming idea. However, wrongful death lawsuits are not like regular criminal cases. They are civil matters that work quite differently from other cases.
The party responsible for the death of a loved one need not be convicted of a crime or be charged with one to be held liable in a claim for wrongful death.
A good reason to hire a competent lawyer is to make the guilty party accountable for all acts that facilitated the demise of a family member. They will help you get justice even in situations where they were cleared of criminal charges. Other reasons why it is recommended to have an attorney on board include:
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a few of your concerns for a slip and fall case.
Wrongful death claims are normally filed by representatives of the deceased victim’s estate, on behalf of any survivors that are directly related to the victim. State regulations define who these survivors can be. In the state of Missouri, one who brings a wrongful death claim must have legal standing. The Wrongful Death Statute of the state of Missouri gives clear specifications of persons that can take legal action for wrongful death. These are the only individuals whose cases are considered valid in a court of law.
Surviving spouses are allowed to file wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of their spouse who is deceased. If a minor was killed by wrongful action, their parents may sue the perpetrators in a wrongful death case. Similarly, minors have a right to get compensated for any of their parent’s death.
Other individuals not classified above may also file a wrongful death claim if they are siblings or descendants of the deceased family member. The court may rule that they get compensated for all damages they incurred.
If the familial relationship is distant, it is difficult to receive legal remedy by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
It is imperative to note that no more than one action may be filed against a defendant under the Wrongful Death Statute. For that reason, you may be required to hire a competent wrongful death lawyer to decide the parties to be charged in the claim as plaintiffs.
The defendant in a wrongful death claim can only be held liable if the plaintiffs meet a certain condition. They are required to meet a burden of proof similar to one that the victim would have met if they had been alive. This is mostly conducted by deceased victim’s estate.
In a scenario where negligence is to blame, the plaintiff ought to prove that the defendant was under obligation to provide a duty of care to the victim, that this duty was breached by the defendant, that the cause of death was breach of this duty by the defendant, and that the resulting death instigated the damages that the plaintiff is attempting to recoup.
There is a limit to the amount of time that one can take before filing a wrongful death claim for it to be valid in the eyes of the law. A Statute of Limitations in every state is used to define the time limit for filing several forms of lawsuits. In Missouri, the Statute declares that a wrongful death lawsuit ought to be filed in the first three years following the demise of a family member.
If the lawsuit isn’t filed before cessation of the time stipulated by the statute of limitations for wrongful death, it is likely that the course will dismiss any request presented by a defendant towards the case.
It is best to seek advice from a knowledgeable Missouri wrongful death lawyer at the earliest opportunity after a loved one’s death. Some cases, may have reduced deadlines for filing lawsuits, such cases include those encompassing government workers or government entities.
Our renowned attorneys strongly recommend any parties willing to file wrongful death to get in touch with our office early enough.