If your loved one died in an accident that was determined to be the result of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to file a claim on their behalf. While this will not bring your loved one back, it may help with unexpected financial obligations due to their death, including funeral costs, medical bills, and more.
Damages are the compensation received in a lawsuit if a plaintiff wins. Missouri Statute 537.080 defines who would be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim. Every wrongful death case will be different. For example, if a loved one dies immediately at the scene of the accident, there will be different damages than if someone was rushed to a hospital, lived for a month in intensive care, and then passed away.
Missouri Statute 537.090 states that family members may recover awards for expenses in a wrongful death case that may include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills and costs
- Property damage
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Loss of the decedent’s comfort, services, support, and counsel to the family
- Loss of income and future income.
- The deceased’s pain and suffering before their death
However, there are some cases where there are limits, or caps, placed on the amount of economic and non-economic damages the family of a deceased loved one can obtain in a wrongful death claim in Missouri.
Wrongful Death Damages Caps in Missouri
Damages caps refer to the upper limit that the law will allow the family to receive in compensation related to a wrongful death case. While there are no caps on economic or non-economic damages you may recover in a wrongful death case, there is a cap on what you may receive for a death resulting from medical malpractice.
There are specific guidelines regarding damages caps when a wrongful death occurs in the state of Missouri as a result of medical malpractice. Injuries are divided into two categories—catastrophic, or severe injuries, and non-catastrophic, less severe injuries.
The Missouri Department of Insurance spells out the medical malpractice limits in 2020 for non-catastrophic injuries ($435,176) and catastrophic injuries ($761,558). These limits increase by 1.7% each year, as established by Missouri Statute 538.210.10.
Medical malpractice occurs when a physician breaches their duty to patients. Some types of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, procedure errors, improper medications, and failure to obtain informed consent.
The following are the other specific explanations related to wrongful death damages caps in Missouri by category.
Economic damages refer to the compensation you receive in a wrongful death case that are tangible, such as medical bills or medical costs. There is no cap on the economic damages a family member may receive or recover in a wrongful death case other than medical malpractice.
One type of wrongful death claims a law office may encounter results from vehicle accidents. If your loved one died in a car crash or other accident that was not their fault, you might be entitled to receive compensation.
Non-economic damages refer to the compensation you receive in a wrongful death case that are intangible, such as pain and suffering. The state of Missouri has no cap or limit on non-economic damages in wrongful death cases.
Additional Wrongful Death Damages Considerations
There are several other important considerations regarding wrongful death damages caps in the state of Missouri. If the deceased did not work full time, if they were at least 50% responsible for a minor’s childcare, if the person was disabled, or if they were over the age of 65, there may be additional calculations for wrongful death damages. If a child dies, there are even more considerations regarding wrongful death.
Contact the Office of a Wrongful Death Lawyer in St. Louis
There are many considerations to take into account regarding wrongful death damage calculations. If your loved one died due to medical malpractice, there are additional legal considerations and damages caps that will apply in the state of Missouri. If your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence, you may benefit from having a St. Louis wrongful death attorney by your side from Schultz & Myers, LLC. Contact a member of our team at 314-444-4444 to see how we may be able to help.