The loss of a family member is tragic. However, your family could be entitled to compensation if the death was caused by negligence, intentional torts, or other wrongful acts. An experienced Ladue wrongful death lawyer at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers can help you explore legal options to hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions.
Our Missouri personal injury lawyers have more than a century of legal experience between us. We are compassionate attorneys dedicated to protecting the rights of injured victims and their families throughout Ladue, MO. Since opening our personal injury law firm in 2010, our legal team has secured more than $100 million in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients.
Your loved one should not have died. Let us help you seek justice for their wrongful death. Call our law firm to schedule a free consultation at (314) 444-4444 with an experienced Ladue wrongful death attorney.
How Our Ladue Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You With a Wrongful Death Claim
Most accidental deaths are preventable. Nevertheless, the family is left to grieve the untimely loss of their loved one. They are also left with the financial consequences of a wrongful death.
A monetary award does not ease the grief or bring back a loved one. However, it can help the family meet financial needs. A wrongful death action can also help bring some measure of closure to a grieving family.
Our founding attorneys, Stephen Schultz and Joshua Myers, have dedicated their practice to personal injury law. They have built a legal team that has received honors and recognition from leading legal organizations, including Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, Expertise.com, and The National Trial Lawyers. At Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers, our award-winning attorneys put our clients’ best interests first in all aspects of our legal practice.
When you hire our top-rated Ladue personal injury attorneys, we will:
- Investigate your claim to determine how your family member died
- Identify all parties who contributed to your loved one’s death
- File insurance claims and handle all matters related to those claimsHandle all communications with parties regarding your wrongful death case
- Gather evidence proving fault and damages
- Calculate how much your case is worth and aggressively pursue settlements and jury awards for that amount
The financial instability caused by a wrongful death can be overwhelming. You should not need to worry about financial burdens when you are grieving the loss of a family member. Call now to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Ladue, Missouri.
What Is a Wrongful Death Action in Missouri?
Missouri’s wrongful death statute defines wrongful death as a death that occurred because of conduct or circumstance that would have allowed the deceased person to file a personal injury lawsuit had they survived.
Examples of personal injury cases that could result in a wrongful death action include, but are not limited to:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Truck accidents
- Premises liability
- Workplace accidents
- Boating accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Birth injuries
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites and attacks
- Construction accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Assaults and intentional torts
- Workplace accidents
A wrongful death is a civil cause of action filed by family members after another party causes the untimely death of a loved one. It is separate from any criminal case pending against the party who caused your loved one’s death.
A wrongful death lawsuit does not result in criminal penalties. The court can only compensate family members with a monetary award. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed regardless of whether the state charged the at-fault party with a crime or the outcome of a criminal case.
Who Can File a Missouri Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Only certain family members can file a wrongful death claim. The statute lists the family members in order of their priority.
The first class of family members who have the right to file a wrongful death claim include:
- The surviving spouse
- Children or the lineal descendants of a deceased child
- The deceased’s parents
If there is no person in the first class to bring a lawsuit, the deceased’s siblings or their descendants might be entitled to file a wrongful death case. If no one in either class is entitled to file a case, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file the action.
The court can also appoint someone to bring the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate. However, the court only appoints a plaintiff ad litem if someone entitled to compensation files a petition for the appointment.
What Are the Legal Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim in Ladue, MO?
Most wrongful death claims filed in Missouri are based on negligence.
Establishing negligence in a wrongful death case requires that you provide evidence proving:
- The alleged at-fault party owed your loved one a legal duty of care
- The party’s actions breached the duty of care owed to your family member
- The breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of your loved one’s death
- Your family incurred damages because of the wrongful death
Our Ladue wrongful death lawyers will thoroughly investigate the case to gather evidence proving that the at-fault party is liable for damages. Evidence could include police and accident reports, eyewitness statements, medical records, and video of the accident. The evidence used to prove the case depends on the specific details of what happened.
How Much Is a Ladue Wrongful Death Case Worth?
As with all types of personal injury claims, how much a case is worth depends on the facts of the case. The same is true with a wrongful death case.
The value of your claim depends on factors such as:
- The cost of medical care and out-of-pocket expenses for the deceased between the injury date and date of death, if any
- The value of the deceased’s lost earnings, based on the person’s prior work history, career, age, education, skills, etc.
- The life expectancy of the deceased before the accident or injury
- The circumstances of the accident or personal injury
- The nature of the at-fault party’s conduct that led to the person’s death
- The identity of surviving dependents
Our Ladue wrongful death attorneys will work to maximize your financial recovery. We’ll address factors that could hurt your case while arguing in favor of factors that increase the value of the damages.
What Damages Can a Family Receive in a Ladue Wrongful Death Claim?
The types of damages awarded in wrongful death cases include:
- Medical expenses incurred by the deceased between the injury date and the date of death
- Expenses associated with the administration of the probate estate
- Reasonable funeral, cremation, and/or burial costs
- Lost wages the deceased would have earned had they lived
- The reasonable value of childcare and household services
- Pain and suffering the deceased experienced before their death
- Loss of consortium (i.e., companionship, love, guidance, support, etc.)
- The loss of parental instruction and guidance
Punitive damages might be available in some wrongful death cases. However, you must prove that the defendant’s actions were malicious or intentional for a jury to award punitive damages.
Does Comparative Negligence Apply in Wrongful Death Cases in Missouri?
The deceased can be partially to blame for causing the accident that resulted in their death. If so, Missouri’s pure comparative fault law applies.
Under the state’s comparative negligence statute, being partially to blame for the cause of your injury does not bar you from recovering compensation for damages. Instead, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault. Therefore, if you are 50% at fault, you are only entitled to an amount equal to one-half of your damages award.
The same rules apply in wrongful death cases. If your family member was partially to blame for the cause of their death, the compensation the family receives is reduced by the deceased person’s percentage of fault.
Insurance companies and at-fault parties might try to shift the blame to the deceased person to avoid liability in a wrongful death case. Our Ladue wrongful death lawyers at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers will fight unjust allegations of contributory fault.
What Is the Deadline to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri?
Most wrongful death claims have a three-year statute of limitations. If you do not file a wrongful death lawsuit within three years of the date of death, you lose the right to sue the at-fault party for damages.
However, there may be some exceptions.
Because wrongful death claims are complicated personal injury cases, it is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a loved one’s death. Waiting too long to seek legal counsel could result in losing your right to compensation for damages.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Ladue Wrongful Death Lawyers
If another party caused your loved one’s death in Ladue, MO, let’s work together to hold them accountable. Contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers to request a free case review with one of our experienced Ladue wrongful death attorneys. We are here to help you by providing sound legal advice, guidance, and support as you navigate the legal process of filing a wrongful death action.