Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death refers to the death of an individual at the hands of a negligent, careless, or reckless party. Due to the fact that the victim is no longer alive, they are unable to bring a personal injury lawsuit for their injuries, pain, and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages caused by the accident. Therefore, under the law, certain family members are allowed to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf to obtain compensation for unexpected bills and ensure that justice is done for their loved ones.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases
While any kind of accident that occurs due to someone’s negligence, resulting in someone’s death, can be considered a wrongful death case, common types of wrongful death cases we handle include:
- Car accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Defective drugs
- Personal injury
- Dog bite injuries
- Workers’ compensation
- Bus accidents
Parties Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim
There are several different tiers of family members that may have a legal right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Missouri. First, the spouse of the victim or the victim’s children may bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one that passed away due to someone else’s negligence. If those parties do not exist, siblings of the victim or those siblings’ children may bring a wrongful death claim. In the rare case that none of these parties exist to bring a wrongful death claim, the court may appoint a plaintiff ad litem to prosecute the wrongful death case.
Proving Wrongful Death
You must prove the four elements of negligence for a wrongful death claim to be valid in the state of Missouri.
Duty of Care
You must prove that there was a negligent act by another person that caused, either completely or at least in part, your loved one’s death.
Breach of Duty
You must prove that this negligent act in some way breached a duty that the defendant had toward the victim, your loved one. For example, a motorist has a duty to obey traffic laws and the speed limit. If they fail to do so, they breached their duty to other motorists. In every wrongful death case, it must be proven that there was a breach of duty toward your loved one due to a negligent act of another person or company.
You must be able to prove how the negligent act either completely, or in part, caused your loved one’s death. There must be a link between the act of negligence and the death of the victim.
In all wrongful death cases, damages must be proven, which can include funeral costs, medical expenses, the loss of both income and earning potential, pain and suffering, or any other actual physical, emotional, or financial costs that directly resulted from the negligent act. If your loved one was a victim of wrongful death and you are now faced with mounting expenses or the emotional aftermath of dealing with your loved one’s untimely death, contact a wrongful death lawyer in St. Louis from Schultz & Myers, LLC at 314-444-4444 to discuss your legal options.
Types of Damages
The state of Missouri has a statute that specifically addresses the types of damages that are available to loved ones following the death of a family member that was caused by a negligent person. Missouri Statute 537.090 indicates that these damages may potentially include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering and inconvenience
- Property damage
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of wages and future income
Missouri allows both economic and non-economic damages as they relate to wrongful death cases. If you are interested in discussing the types of damages and amounts of compensation that may be available to you in your specific wrongful death case, contact a wrongful death lawyer in St. Louis for guidance.
Contact Schultz & Myers, LLC Today for Legal Help
Deadly accidents change families forever. Accidents that are due to the negligence of another person are especially difficult. Many families face not only substantial costs following their loved one’s accident but are left feeling that justice has not been served and that the wrongdoer who took their loved one’s life should receive some sort of punishment for their negligent actions. If you need legal assistance during this difficult time, contact Schultz & Myers, LLC at 314-444-4444 to help you build a wrongful death case on behalf of your loved one.