Springfield Wrongful Death Attorney
What is Considered a Wrongful Death?
If your loved one was killed as a result of someone else’s negligent, reckless, or careless actions, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. By Missouri law, dependent family members have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their loved one.
Through this lawsuit, you can fight to recover damages for funeral and burial expenses, medical costs, and pain and suffering. Our wrongful death lawyers in Springfield are dedicated to assisting families with this difficult, but important process.
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If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, contact Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C. We will fight for the justice your loved one deserves.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Common causes of wrongful death include:
- Car accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Product liability
- Construction accidents
- Nursing home neglect
- Medical malpractice
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Missouri, the law is specific about who may sue for wrongful death damages. The law prioritizes the victim's closest relatives and then proceeds down the family line. Those who would first be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim would be the victim's surviving spouse and children. Next in line would be a surviving grandchild if 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 victim is a child. If the decedent has no surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents, the next in line is a surviving sibling. If none exists, it then 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 victim does not list a personal representative, the court may choose a plaintiff ad litem with suitable entitlement to damages.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Missouri?
While you may not consider filing a lawsuit when thinking about your family during this challenging time, you should recognize the importance of a legal claim. Even more vital is understanding the timelines associated with filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Missouri law allows just three years for the family of the decedent to file a lawsuit for the wrongful death. The statute means that the family must file a claim within three years from the date of the death. Failure to do so can result in forfeiture of legal action.
Compensation for Economic Damages
When a family experiences the loss of someone they love, it is devastating. Not only do you have to grieve over the loss, but you must also figure out several aspects of life moving forward, including how to pay for the funeral and deal with lost income.
Missouri law allows you and your family to pursue compensation if the death resulted from someone else’s negligence. One type of compensation you may recover is an economic loss. This compensation covers a wide range of death-related expenses, including:
- Medical Expenses - If your loved one had to go through medical treatment before he or she passed away, there might be hospital expenses to consider. Economic damages can help you recover for any procedures and the hospital stay from the date of the injury until the time of death.
- Funeral and Burial Costs - A funeral can cost significant amounts of money. You must pay for the plot, the coffin, the services, and more. These fees can extend to the range of thousands of dollars. They are also unexpected, meaning you more than likely don’t have the funds to cover the costs on your own. Taking legal action for economic losses can help cover these expenses.
- Loss of Income - For your family, few things become more challenging than having to cover for lost wages due to the death of your loved one. If your loved one was a primary provider for your family, death causes significant struggles, including paying bills and affording the cost of living.
How long do I have to file a personal injury case in Missouri?Every state has a time limit for how long you have to file a personal injury claim called the statute of limitations. In Missouri, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is five years from the date the injury occurred or could have been reasonably discovered. If you fail to file your personal injury lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires then the defendant will most certainly file a motion to dismiss the case.
What does a personal injury lawyer do?
Personal injury lawyers are legal experts dedicated to helping those who have been injured in an accident navigate the complex issues on their road to recovery. They specialize in tort law, protecting the rights of victims and ensuring they receive compensation for their suffering.
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Compensation for Non-Economic Damages
You may encounter significant problems regarding your financial losses following the death of a loved one. However, these losses don’t compare to your mental anguish. Nor do they account for the pain and suffering you endure after a wrongful death.
The statutes in Missouri allow for you and your family to sue the negligent party in pursuit of non-economic losses. These losses are not quantifiable and don’t have a numerical value associated with them. Instead, they factor in your emotional loss and hardship.
The courts in Missouri may award your family compensation for:
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of services
- Loss of training
- Loss of support
- Loss of counsel
- Loss of instruction
The courts will look at the parties involved in the lawsuit to determine which non-economic losses apply. When you are a surviving spouse filing a wrongful death lawsuit, many of the above apply. The jury may award a significant sum for the non-economic damages.
Does Missouri Have a Cap on Non-Economic Damages?
However, Missouri does place a cap on the amount of non-economic compensation the jury can award in any given case involving medical malpractice. In these cases, non-economic damages cannot exceed $350,000. This number accounts for inflation each year.
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