The death of a loved one is an emotional and heart-wrenching experience that can only become more complicated when it results from the negligence or recklessness actions of another person, company, or organization. If such a tragedy occurs, you should know that you have legal options. In a situation like this, a surviving spouse or close family member is legally entitled to file a lawsuit on behalf of their loved one, potentially giving them a voice to speak against injustices that were committed.
We call this a ‘wrongful death’ lawsuit due to one simple fact: If that negligence hadn’t occurred, your loved one would still be alive. Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed for a large array of reasons and can essentially be filed when any other type of personal injury lawsuit could be filed. These claims are civil cases and entirely separate from criminal matters. To file a lawsuit, you will need the assistance of an experienced Columbia, MO wrongful death lawyer.
The Requirements of Filing a Missouri Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Wrongful death lawsuits can be quite complicated in the state of Missouri. First of all, there are very specific rules regarding who may file a wrongful death lawsuit in a Missouri courtroom. First in line are the surviving spouse, parents, or any children or grandchildren. If the deceased individual is a child, the parents will usually have to file the claim.
If the deceased loved one has no surviving spouse, parents, children, or grandchildren, a surviving sibling is then able to file a lawsuit on their behalf. If there are no siblings, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file the claim. Finally, if there is no personal representative, the court will appoint a “plaintiff ad litem” who can file. This individual must share in the proceeds of the claim if it’s successful.
Survivors can collect damages for their loved one’s funeral and burial expenses, any medical bills related to the deceased person’s final injuries or illness, the costs of any necessary child or elder care provided by the deceased, the value of the deceased’s wages and benefits if she/he had lived, any costs related to pain and suffering, and any costs associated with the “reasonable value of the services, consortium, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, training, and support” provided by the deceased individual.
Wrongful death lawsuits, like all personal injury lawsuits in the state of Missouri, must be filed within a certain date, or statute of limitations, in order to be accepted by the court. For wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations is three years from the deceased loved one’s death.
Facts About Wrongful Death Claims
- In Missouri, a wrongful death lawsuit is usually filed by a family member of the victim. Typically these include the surviving spouse, children, parents, or grandparents.
- If your loved one was killed by someone’s negligence, then you can seek compensation for (but not limited to): medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, loss of household services, and mental anguish.
- In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family can also seek compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering before death.
Finding Closure with the Help of a Columbia, MO Wrongful Death Lawyer
Whether your loved one died as a result of a car collision, a defective product, medical malpractice, or nursing home negligence, if you think—even for a second—that someone else was at fault for your loved one’s death, you owe it to yourself and your family to speak to an attorney experienced in handling wrongful death claims. Making that phone call may be one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do, but if your case succeeds, you could potentially help save the lives of other victims.
When individuals, institutions, and corporations such as those who run our state’s hospitals and nursing homes receive a wrongful death lawsuit, they get the message that things must change. Conditions must be made safe. Products placed on the market cannot be harmful. The health and safety of our loved ones must be made a priority. Lawsuits can also force government agencies like the FDA to step in and force regulation changes, protecting innocent citizens from harm.
A wrongful death lawsuit, unfortunately, will never bring you loved one back, but it may bring hope to future generations, enabling them to know that their loved ones are safer because people like yourself took action. If you’re interested in hearing more, don’t hesitate to contact a Columbia, MO wrongful death lawyer at Thomas Law Offices today. Our caring, compassionate staff members will be able to assist you and tell you if you have a possible case on your hands.