Missouri Law: Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Missouri Law: Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you lose a loved one due to negligence, you may wonder what legal options are available to pursue justice. You want to file a lawsuit against the negligent party, but you’re unsure if you’re eligible to file a claim or if another party must do so.

Before you do anything, you should recognize your rights as the family of the decedent. Under Missouri law, only specific parties may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Below, we’ll detail who can file a claim and what happens if none of the eligible parties are available to take legal action.

Who Files the Claim?

Missouri law limits wrongful death lawsuits to certain family members. The law prioritizes certain relatives first and then proceeds down the family line until they exhaust all options.

For instance, first in line to file a wrongful death lawsuit are the deceased person’s surviving spouse and children. Next in line would be a surviving grandchild is one does exist. After that, the surviving parents may file a wrongful death claim. The parents are the most common party to file a wrongful death claim when the situation involves a child decedent.

What Happens if No Surviving Relatives Exist?

If the decedent has no surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents, the next in line is a surviving sibling. When no surviving sibling is present, the option to file a lawsuit falls on the deceased person’s personal representative. The personal representative can be another family member or close friend responsible for managing the deceased person’s estate.

If the deceased does not list a personal representative, the court may choose a plaintiff ad litem. The court will appoint this person if another individual selects the plaintiff ad litem to share in the compensation should the wrongful death case succeed.

Our Springfield wrongful death attorneys can help explain your rights if you lose a loved one due to negligence. Rely on Strong-Garner-Bauer to be your guide through challenging legal matters. We’ll be the advocates your family needs to move forward.