If your loved one passed away due to someone else’s negligence in the state of Missouri, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. There are strict legal guidelines and deadlines associated with wrongful death claims as defined by the statute of limitations in the state of Missouri. If you are interested in learning how you may be able to receive compensation for the unexpected medical bills, funeral costs, and loss associated with your loved one’s death, contact Schultz & Myers, LLC, to help determine your legal rights and how long you have to file your claim.
Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death claim is when the family of a loved one files a claim on behalf of a victim that died due to someone else’s negligence. It would be the personal injury case the victim would have been able to file under the law, had they not passed away. While no amount of compensation will ever replace a loved one that died, many family members are left with funeral costs, substantial medical bills, loss of income, the pain and suffering their loved one endured, as well as other intangible losses due to the unexpected and untimely death of their loved one.
Who May Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri
There are three categories of plaintiffs that are entitled under the law to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Missouri.
The first category that has priority to bring a wrongful death claim in the state of Missouri on behalf of their loved one includes the decedent’s spouse, parents, children (either natural children or adopted children), or grandchildren (if the children of the decedent are dead).
If no one from the first category is available to bring a wrongful death claim, the second category of claimants are the decedent’s siblings or the decedent’s nephews or nieces.
The third category is when the court independently appoints a “plaintiff ad litem.” If the deceased has no surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nephews, or nieces, then a personal representative of the deceased’s estate may bring a wrongful death claim. If there is no actual physical personal representative, the court will then appoint a “plaintiff ad litem” to file the claim.
More Than One Party
More than one party may file a wrongful death claim in the state of Missouri on behalf of a deceased loved one. However, that person must show that they made all attempts to notify all parties. If any person is eligible under the categories listed above, they have the legal right to join the wrongful death lawsuit, which is called “intervening.”
Wrongful Death Damages
Under Missouri Statute 537.090, damages under a wrongful death claim may include funeral expenses, medical expenses, pain and suffering of the deceased prior to death, the value of the service, companionship, instruction, guidance, comfort, consortium, counsel, support, or training that was lost to the spouse or family members following the decedent’s death.
The state of Missouri has no limits on actual damages a family member may receive in a wrongful death claim if it is based upon medical malpractice. Grief and bereavement by reason of death are not allowable damages in the state of Missouri. Courts in Missouri will look at several factors to determine damages in a wrongful death claim, including the life expectancy of the decedent, as well as the health, character, age, talents, habits, and earning capacity.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Missouri
The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Missouri is three years from the date of your loved one’s death. While this may seem like a long time, it takes an incredible amount of preparation and evidence to build a strong wrongful death claim. Often, expert witnesses are needed, and a complete investigation must be completed in order to prove wrongful death. Collecting and preparing a wrongful death claim may take a considerable amount of time, therefore you should not wait too long before connecting with a wrongful death attorney.
Contacting Schultz & Myers, LLC
If your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, contact Schultz & Myers, LLC, and let us help you build a wrongful death case on behalf of your loved one. The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in the state of Missouri is three years, so it is important to contact us as soon as possible at 314-444-4444 to ensure your legal rights are protected to ensure your loved one receives justice.