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The Basics of Wrongful Death Claims in Missouri

Wrongful Death in Missouri

When the death of a loved one is due to a wrongful or negligent act by another, you may have a wrongful death claim.

In Missouri, a wrongful death is defined as: “the death of a person result[ing[ 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.” (Missouri Statutes section 537.080)

In plain English that means, someone (a person) causes the death of another through negligent or intentional actions. In such a case, the survivors of the deceased may be able to file a wrongful death claim.

What can result in a wrongful death?

  • Vehicle Accidents (i.e., Automobile, Truck, Motorcycle)
  • Defective Products
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Premises Liability such as slip and falls
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Violent or Intentional Acts

Who May file a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri?

Missouri has specific rules regarding who may bring a wrongful death clam, and they fall into three categories (ranked in priority order):

  • Category 1 — The surviving spouse; children; lineal descendants of a deceased child; or the parents.
  • Category 2 — If there are no individuals in Category 1 to file an action, the siblings or their descendants may be entitled to damages.
  • Category 3 — If there are no individuals in Category 1 or 2 to file an action, the court may appoint someone to file a wrongful death lawsuit – a “plaintiff ad litem’.

A plaintiff may only sue under the second (or third) category if no one can fulfill the first (or second) category.


Wrongful Death Suit Damages

Damages can cover a wide range of losses; however, common types of losses for a wrongful death claim include:

  • funeral and burial expenses
  • medical bills related to the deceased person’s final injury or illness
  • value of wages and benefits the deceased would likely have earned if he or she had lived
  • pain and suffering experienced by the deceased just prior to death, and
  • the “reasonable value of the services, consortium, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training, and support” the deceased person provided to surviving family members.

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

DO YOU NEED LEGAL ASSISTANCE?

Missouri has a time limit on the filing of a wrongful death claim, which is three years from the date of the decedent’s death. If filed after that date, the court will likely not hear your case. Seeking the advice of a wrongful death attorney can help you navigate the complexities and ensure you file within the statute of limits. With the help of a personal injury lawyer the odds of a successful outcome increase.

Contact the capable counsel at Nash & Franciskato. One of our experienced staff will speak with you personally and will provide you with a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

CONTACT US FOR A FREE REVIEW OF YOUR CASE

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