Wrongful Death

Definition of Wrongful Death in Missouri

According to Missouri Revised Statutes section 537.080, wrongful death is defined as:

“The death of a person resulting from any act, conduct, occurrence, transaction, or circumstance which, if death had not ensued, would have entitled such person to recover damages in respect thereof.”

This means a wrongful death suit is a claim for damages against an individual or entity (company, manufacturer, etc.) who’s negligent or intentional actions caused the death of another person. Think of it as a personal injury claim for someone who has died and can’t pursue the claim themselves. Certain survivors of the victim are allowed to pursue the claim.

Missouri Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims

If you have lost a loved one and feel you may have the grounds for a wrongful death suit, you need to act quickly. In Missouri and Illinois you have to file the claim in a certain amount of time, or the claim will be barred.

At Powell Law we are sympathetic to your loss and grief. We want to help you move forward with your life while cherishing the memory of your lost loved one. We will help you get the compensation you are entitled to.

When Can a Person File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In most cases, a wrongful death claim can only be filed by a child, spouse, or parent/guardian of a deceased individual, and if the claimant is successful they may receive restitution for their financial losses. Wrongful death suits can be filed under a myriad of circumstances. As long as a person is killed due to negligence or an intentional criminal act, most courts will hear a wrongful death case. Wrongful death claims are often filed in the wake of deaths caused by:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Defective or dangerous products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Occupational accidents
  • Maritime and offshore accidents
  • Criminal activity

Even if a person is found not guilty by a criminal court, they can still be held financially responsible in civil court if a family chooses to file a wrongful death suit. This is because the burden of proof is not as great in civil court since the jury there can award monetary damages but cannot levy criminal charges.

Recovering Financial Damages

After the death of a loved one, surviving family members can struggle to remain afloat financially. Medical bills and funeral costs may be overwhelming, and families can find it difficult to make ends meet after losing a major source of income. To make matters worse, dependents of the deceased person may lose access to inheritance or college funds that would have remained theirs if their caretaker was still alive. If the family of a deceased individual fails to file a wrongful death suit, they will be responsible for covering the previously mentioned expenses with their own money, which may not be enough. Fortunately, a strong wrongful death claim headed by a seasoned wrongful death attorney may have an equally strong chance of recovering some of these costs as damages.

What Role Does Negligence Play in a Wrongful Death Case?

Accidents do happen, but when they are avoidable, individuals and organizations can be held legally liable if they did not take reasonable steps to prevent the accident from occurring. Wrongful death cases are frequently governed by a legal principle known as negligence. Individuals and organizations that do not take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of others are said to be negligent if their actions or inaction result in an accident. To prove the defendant is guilty of negligence, a St. Louis wrongful death lawyer will have to prove they owed a duty of care to the deceased individual. They will also need to prove the defendant failed to honor this duty of care, and that the death of the person in question was caused directly or indirectly by this failure.

Consulting With The Powell Law Firm Attorneys

The death of a loved one can be traumatic. After their death, you may find yourself struggling to return to normal and wishing that the responsible party could be held accountable. If you want justice for your loved one, an attorney could help. An experienced wrongful death attorney can devote the time and resources necessary to achieve justice for your loved one.Contact the Powell Law Firm Attorneys wrongful death lawyer today to schedule a consultation.

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