The pain of losing a loved one is intensified when the loss is caused by another’s negligence.
A wrongful death is defined as a death that is caused by an action of another person in which the victim would have been able to file a personal injury claim to recover any financial compensation for the injuries sustained. A victim’s survivors have the legal right to pursue a personal injury claim on the victim’s behalf.
Types of Accidents Classified As Wrongful Death
A wrongful death is a death caused by the negligent action of someone else such as when:
- a driver rear-ends a motor cycle or another car because he or she got drowsy or fell asleep behind the wheel
- a driver fails to stop the vehicle when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk
- a driver is speeding and runs down a pedestrian or cyclist
There are several other situations in which a wrongful death may occur. The ones listed above are just a few examples.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
In Missouri, there are rules in place with respect to who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. The first person eligible is the surviving spouse, and if there is no living spouse, children can file a lawsuit. If there are no children alive, grandchildren can file a lawsuit. If there are no surviving closest relatives, a surviving sibling may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit may also be brought by an appointed personal representative if there are no representatives related to the victim. In the absence of a personal representative, the court may appoint a “plaintiff ad litem”.
Types of Damages
Types of damages that can be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- medical treatment expenses if the deceased received medical treatment
- funeral expenses
- pain and suffering the deceased experienced before succumbing to injuries
- the monetary value of potential wages earned if still alive
- loss of consortium, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training, and support the deceased person provided to his or her family
Survivors can also receive damages if the deceased person provided elder or child care to another family member at least 50 percent of the time. There is no limit on a wrongful death claim for non-economic damages such as those related to pain and suffering.
Time Limit For Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
In Missouri, there is a time limit of 3 years from the date of death for filing a wrongful death claim. If you fail to file a case within this time period, you may lose your right to compensation. If you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, immediately consult a St. Louis automobile accident attorney. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.