Do You Qualify To Sue for Wrongful Death?

If you have recently lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim to seek justice and financial accountability. However, your right to sue for wrongful death depends on your relationship with the victim, as well as whether anyone else has a greater right under the law to sue.

Below, we explain who can sue for wrongful death in Missouri. If you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim, we can help you pursue justice for the loss of a loved one.

What Is Wrongful Death in Missouri?

In Missouri, a wrongful death occurs under the same circumstances that would allow the victim to pursue a personal injury case against the defendant. However, because the victim is killed in the accident, certain individuals have the right to stand in the victim’s shoes and pursue a claim on the victim’s behalf.  

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Missouri?

Under Missouri law, the following individuals have the right to sue for wrongful death in this order of priority:

  • Class 1, which includes the spouse, child, grandchild, or parent of the victim
  • Class 2, which includes the sibling, niece, or nephew of the victim if they suffered because of the death
  • A plaintiff ad litem the court appoints after someone entitled to the damages recovered in the suit applies for this designation

If there is a person at a higher level, they have priority in filing the claim. Only one wrongful death action can be brought against a defendant.

Potential Damages in a Missouri Wrongful Death Case

Missouri law also establishes the damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death case. One category of damages is economic losses caused by the death. 

This may include compensation for:

  • Loss of income
  • Medical expenses from the last illness or injury
  • Funeral expenses 
  • Loss of financial support
  • The reasonable value of the services the deceased provided 
  • The damages the deceased suffered between the time of injury and death they would have had the right to pursue had they lived

The law also provides legal assumptions regarding certain losses, such as the value of a homemaker’s or caregiver’s contributions. 

Additionally, compensation for the following non-economic losses can be sought in a wrongful death case:

  • Loss of consortium 
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of instruction, guidance, counsel, and training
  • Loss of comfort

There are typically no limits to the potential value of compensation that can be recovered in a wrongful death case. One exception is in medical malpractice cases, in which the non-economic damages are capped at $457,749 for non-catastrophic injuries or $801,061 for catastrophic injuries in 2023.

Time Limit To File a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri

Each state has its own unique set of statutes of limitations that say how long a person has to file certain legal causes of action. In Missouri, the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is generally three years from the date of the victim’s death. 

While there are some exceptions to this general rule, it is important to act quickly following what you suspect is a wrongful death. If you wait too long to pursue a claim, the court can dismiss the case as untimely, and you can lose your right to recovery through the courts.

To find out the time limit that applies to your case and whether you can pursue a wrongful death claim, contact an experienced Missouri wrongful death lawyer.

Contact Our Wrongful Death Law Firm For Help Today

For more information, please contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.

St. Louis Office
1430 Washington Ave Suite #226 St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 400-0000

Kansas City Office
1509 NE Parvin Rd, Suite A., Kansas City, MO 64116
(816) 408-3448

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