Losing a loved one due to the recklessness or carelessness of another person is an overwhelmingly traumatic experience that is often difficult to recover from both emotionally and financially. Though the damages done are irreversible, many families who have tragically lost a member should seek some form of financial compensation for their loss to cover the extra expenses that have resulted from the death. The following will provide some key information regarding filing wrongful death cases in Missouri for those who are looking to receive damage related payments.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case?
When it comes to the filing of a wrongful death case in Missouri, certain family members are prioritized in the following manner
- Class 1 – Kids, spouse, and parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim.
- Class 2 – Brother and sister or heirs of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim if no class 1 beneficiaries exists.
In a situation where none of the previously mentioned parties are alive, a person who desires to file a wrongful death case could go through the court system and have the courts assign another individual to pursue the case on their behalf.
When dealing with wrongful death claims, it is important that families work together. If surviving family can’t reach common ground, then it is wise to quickly obtain a lawyer to prevent certain members (sibling, parent, step parent) from filing their own wrongful death claim apart from the rest of the family.
Limits of Compensation
In Missouri, the law allows the family of the individual who passed to receive compensation for each of the following:
- Medical and funeral cost
- Impacted income
- Emotional damages related to having lost a source of support and loving companion
For the majority of wrongful death cases in Missouri, no limit is enacted on how much financial compensation a family can receive from a filed claim. The only situation where a limit on compensations unrelated to finances will be enacted is in cases involving medical mistakes made by medical professionals.
Statute of Limitations
In Missouri, the time a family member has to make a wrongful death case is three years; however, in cases that involve medical mistakes made by medical professionals, the statute of limitations is two years. After this time frame, cases are not accepted. In cases where the reason behind the death has yet to be determined, the time frame for filing can be altered as a result of the discovery rule.
A survival action is a case that family members can make that seeks to provide compensation related to the personal damages the deceased individual had to endure when they were still alive and suffering from injuries. While in other states, wrongful death cases and survival actions may be filed separately, families in Missouri only have to file one case since the compensations related to wrongful death cases and survival actions are both included.
Bills of Decedent
Some wrongfully deceased loved ones may owe money or have outstanding debt due to medical bills at their time of death. Because different rules apply for each of class 1 beneficiary, certain survivors may not always be obligated to pay such “debt of decedent.” However, an issue could arise that would require you or another survivor to pay their remaining bills, so it’s always best to have a wrongful death attorney in your corner for legal protection.
Our Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyers Are Here to Help
All wrongful death cases require court approval, so it’s best to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side to ensure everything is handled properly. At Lanzotti & Rau, we understand that trying to recover from a tragedy involving a loved one on your own is extremely difficult. That’s why our lawyers are dedicated to helping you get through the emotionally draining, complex, and stressful road to normalcy by ensuring that you are rightfully compensated for your struggles. To learn more about how we can help, call us at 573-335-9300 for a free consultation.