It is devastating to lose a loved one because of another’s recklessness. If the loved one was the breadwinner, financial worries could contribute to the grief. Fortunately, a conversation with a seasoned civil attorney could provide some reassurance during this time.

You may be eligible for compensation that could help cover your loved one’s funeral expenses and remaining medical bills. Your family may also be able to recover some of the lost income your loved one contributed. Call our office to speak to a Maryland Heights wrongful death lawyer who could discuss your family’s situation.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

Missouri Revisor of Statutes §537.080 states that only certain family members can bring untimely death claims if the defendant’s negligent or unlawful acts would have amounted to a personal injury case by the deceased. Family members who can file a wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • The spouse or children of the deceased
  • Children of the deceased, including biological, adopted, legitimate, or illegitimate
  • Either parent of the deceased, both natural or adoptive
  • If the deceased had no living spouse, children, or parents, then siblings of the deceased

If the deceased had no living siblings, then a plaintiff ad litem, appointed by the court could file a claim. Since so many persons may wish to participate in a negligent death action, the statutes limit them to one action concerning their loved one against any one defendant.

In other words, a spouse and a child of the deceased could file a wrongful death suit together but cannot file two. A skilled local lawyer could draft a wrongful death lawsuit after determining the appropriate plaintiffs.

Untimely Deaths Caused by Negligence

Wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits are generally based on negligence or the defendant’s intent to harm or kill someone. The grounds on which a family could file a wrongful passing claim are similar to other personal injury claims, and include:

A well-practiced attorney in Maryland Heights could investigate the facts about an accident in which someone is killed and file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for the family.

Compensation Available to Surviving Family

Compensation for a negligent death can include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages might include the deceased party’s medical bills and funeral expenses, and any wages lost prior to death. Non-economic damages could include pain and suffering the deceased suffered prior to passing and the loss of a spouse’s companionship.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded to dissuade a defendant from committing the acts that led to someone else’s injuries or death. Beginning in August 2020, the laws for awarding punitive damages changed. Before, plaintiffs had to prove indifference or conscious disregard by defendants. Now, they must prove defendants harmed them intentionally or acted deliberately with an egregious disregard for others. Plaintiffs must also present evidence and get permission from the court to seek punitive damages.

Speak with a Maryland Heights Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing a loved one is hard enough, but when the loss is sudden and caused by someone else’s recklessness, you may not know how to move forward. Our knowledgeable attorneys understand that you need time to grieve while we work on securing your family the compensation they deserve.

A Maryland Heights wrongful death lawyer could seek justice by reviewing your situation and, if applicable, drafting a civil lawsuit for monetary damages. Call for your initial consultation.