If your loved one dies because of another person’s negligence, you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Nothing is more painful than losing a loved one in a car accident. While there is nothing that you can do to bring back your family member, you do need to ensure your rights are protected and you are able to move forward financially. If your loved one dies because of another person’s negligence, you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Wrongful death occurs when a person causes the death of another person due to a negligent or intentional act. Since the deceased person cannot pursue a claim against the at-fault person, their close family members can recover damages on the deceased person’s behalf. If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, and you intend filing a wrongful death suit, there are certain things you need to keep in mind, such as the statute of limitations.
Missouri statute of limitations
Wrongful deaths cases are governed by individual state statutes. In Missouri, you can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in circumstances where, had the victim not died, he/she would have been able to recover damages for the car accident. If you have to bring a wrongful death lawsuit involving a car crash, you must prove a cause of action for negligence, because this is what the deceased person would have done had they survived the accident.
Missouri’s wrongful death statute allows the following family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf on the deceased. These include:
- Natural or adopted grandchildren
- Natural or adopted father or mother
The wrongful death statute also states that in case none of the above mentioned family members are alive, the deceased person’s sister or brother can file a lawsuit as long as they can establish their right to do so.
Making a wrongful death claim
Survivors of a deceased car accident victim can generally claim the same damages that the victim would have been eligible to recover if he/she had been alive. They can also recover pecuniary damages resulting from their loved one’s untimely death. The survivors may recover the following damages:
- Punitive damages: These damages are intended to punish the at-fault person for their egregious conduct.
- Economic damages: This amounts to the financial contribution the victim would have made to the survivor had he/she been alive
- Non-economic damages: These include loss of consortium, companionship, comfort and support
Missouri’s wrongful death statute does not allow survivors to recover compensation for grief and bereavement. The law mandates that the wrongful death lawsuit must be filed in a timely manner.