Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Missouri is complicated process that should be left to an attorney that is knowledgeable and experienced in wrongful death actions as well as authorized to practice law by the Missouri Bar. This article is written with the intention of giving a brief overview of when a person may file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you have recently lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless acts of another, you should contact a wrongful death attorney about your particular facts and circumstances.
Missouri Revised Statutes section 537.080
Missouri defines wrongful death as “the death of a person resulting from any act, conduct, occurrence, transaction, or circumstance which, if death had not ensued, would have entitled such person to recover damages in respect thereof.” Wrongful death is a cause of action where the deceased’s death was caused negligently or intentionally by another party. The person that died is no longer able to file a lawsuit, instead, the deceased’s survivors in interest must pursue the action.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Missouri?
Specific rules exist in Missouri that dictate who may bring an action for wrongful death in civil court. The law states that that a surviving spouse, child, or grandchild are first in the order of who may file a wrongful death lawsuit in Missouri. A parent of the person that died may also bring an action for wrongful death in civil court in Missouri.
When the deceased does not have a surviving spouse, child, grandchild, or parent, a surviving sibling may pursue a wrongful death action. In cases where there are no surviving siblings the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the estate does not have a personal representative the court will appoint a “plaintiff ad litem” at the request of a person entitled to a share of any award of damages in the decedent’s wrongful death action.
If you have lost a loved one and are seeking compensation for their loss, contact a wrongful death attorney to determine if you may bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri
As with most civil actions in Missouri an action for wrongful death must be brought within a certain time period. This is known as the statute of limitations for wrongful death actions. A lawsuit for a wrongful death must be filed within three years of the date of death otherwise a court will likely dismiss the lawsuit.
Retaining a Wrongful Death Attorney in Missouri
Contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible if you have lost a loved one as a result of the negligent or intentional acts of another. In Missouri, the purpose of the civil justice system (for civil injuries like wrongful death) is to “deter” bad behavior – to prevent the offender from being negligent or reckless again in the future. Missouri courts achieve the goal of deterrence through a jury verdict that fully and fairly compensates the family of the deceased. You are entitled to full justice for the loss of support and companionship the loved one provided as well as the emotional distress you have endured. When you are considering retaining a wrongful death attorney in Missouri it is in your best interest to search for one that is knowledgeable, experienced, and has the resources to fully litigate the case if necessary.
If you have lost a family member or spouse, filing a wrongful death lawsuit may be the answer. It is critical that you seek the advice and counsel of an experienced wrongful death attorney in order to ensure that your rights are protected and you recovery what you may be entitled to. At Sanders.Law, we hold accountable those individuals responsible for the wrongful death of others. Contact our wrongful death attorneys in Kansas City, Missouri today for a free consultation.