The loss of a loved one is one of the most tragic events imaginable. The rippling effect that results when a family member dies leaves lives shattered. If a family loses a wage earner, financial devastation further complicates an already horrific loss. It is important that surviving family members are aware of the remedies available to them while they begin their grieving process.
Missouri Wrongful Death Statute
While a life can never be replaced, the State of Missouri provides family members of a deceased a method for the reimbursement of their harms and losses. Missouri wrongful death law is codified in Chapter 537 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. The Missouri wrongful death statute provides the surviving members direction as to whom has the right to sue on behalf of the deceased.
Who Has The Right To Bring A Wrongful Death Claim?
Section 537.080 of the Revised Statute of Missouri states that if a person dies as the result of a negligent act of another, the following people are entitled to bring a lawsuit on their behalf:
1. The children, spouse, or lineal descendants of any deceased children, or by the mother or father of the deceased. (For purposes of this section, natural or adopted descendants have the same rights)
2. If there is no one in the first class above who are entitled to bring suit, then by the sister or brother of the deceased, or their children, so long as they can establish a right to those damages as set forth in section 537.090 as a result of the death;
3. If no one is entitled to to bring suit in classes 1 and 2 above, then a plaintiff ad litem shall have the right to bring a claim. A plaintiff ad litem must be appointed by the court upon application by someone who is entitled to share in the proceeds of the suit.
Only one lawsuit is allowed to be brought on behalf of the deceased and consultation with an experienced Missouri personal injury lawyer can help address any questions or concerns of the surviving members of the deceased. Please also remember that simply because someone has the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit does not mean they are entitled to financial reimbursement. Anyone desiring to bring suit must prove that they have suffered a loss as a result of the tragedy.
Why Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
A Missouri wrongful death claim can serve multiple purposes. First and foremost, while financial reimbursement cannot bring back a loved one, it can help to provide reimbursement for lost wages a family will lose as a result of the death. In addition, burial and medical expenses can leave a grieving family with additional suffering.
Another extremely important reason to pursue a wrongful death claim is to ensure the negligent conduct which led to the tragedy does not happen to anyone else. If a negligent semi truck driver takes the life of a fellow motorist due to driving in excess of the driving hour restrictions imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the company needs to be held accountable. Failure to hold negligent drivers accountable allows dangerous drivers to continue to place others in the community at risk.
Making a Missouri wrongful death claim can is something no one wants to address following the loss of a loved one. However, failure to act in a timely manner can result in the loss of needed evidence. In addition, large insurance corporations will immediately go to work gathering evidence favorable to their side of the claim. Insurance corporations have the advantage in a Missouri wrongful death lawsuit because substantial evidence must be gathered immediately in order to refute the testimony of surviving individual.
If you have lost a loved one as the result of the negligent act of another, contact a Missouri wrongful death lawyer today by calling toll-free 855-402-7274. Information is power.