The wrongful death of a close family member can be one of life’s most devastating experiences, especially when that loss is the direct result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. In an overwhelming situation like this, you may have grounds to seek compensation from the person responsible for your loss. Filing a civil claim could be key to protecting your family’s long-term interests, and guidance from skilled legal counsel could help you enforce your legal rights.

Seeking help from a personal injury attorney with a track record of success in handling these cases can make a tremendous difference in your ability to achieve a positive result. Once retained, a Wildwood wrongful death lawyer could provide irreplaceable assistance with seeking fair compensation for your losses.

The Basic Rules of Wrongful Death Claims

If someone loses their life due to another person’s negligence but would have been able to sue that other person had they survived the accident, the decedent’s surviving family members can likely file a wrongful death claim on their deceased relative’s behalf. According to Missouri Revised Statutes §537.080, the right to file a civil claim passes first to the decedent’s surviving spouse, parent(s), children, and sometimes grandchildren, then to the decedent’s surviving sibling(s) the sibling’s descendants, and finally to a “plaintiff ad litem” appointed by a court at the request of someone entitled to inherit property from the decedent.

Additionally, according to Mo. Rev. Stat. §537.090, family members can use a wrongful death claim to collect compensation for:

  • Lost financial support
  • Lost childcare services at home
  • Lost companionship, comfort, guidance, and support
  • Lost consortium
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses and/or pain and suffering experienced by the decedent between their accident and their death

Finally, as a Wildwood attorney could affirm, Mo. Rev. Stat. §537.100 sets a three-year filing deadline for almost all wrongful death cases, beginning from the date of the decedent’s passing.

Can Comparative Fault Affect Recovery for a Wrongful Death?

Another legal roadblock which may impact wrongful death litigation in Missouri is the “comparative fault” a deceased person may hold for their own accident. Unfortunately, if the court finds that a decedent is partially responsible for causing the fatal accident, it might place some of the blame onto this party. Then, a court may reduce the total compensation available to surviving loved ones based on that percentage of total fault. Guidance from a proactive lawyer can be crucial to combatting allegations of comparative negligence and keeping a wrongful death claim on track.

Contact a Wildwood Wrongful Death Attorney for Assistance

No amount of compensation can replace a life cut unfairly short, but fair financial recovery through a successful wrongful death claim can provide at least some measure of closure and help ease the financial burden on surviving family members. However, knowing someone else is responsible for your family member’s death and holding them liable in civil court are two very different things, especially if you try to pursue your claim without professional legal representation.

A Wildwood wrongful death lawyer could work tirelessly and tenaciously to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Call today to learn more.