After listening to evidence in Jackson County, Missouri, a jury made the unanimous decision that a former police officer from Missouri, Caleb Horner, his brother John and their “sect” members, as well as acting midwife Amber Horner Leather, were collectively responsible for the wrongful death of Misty, Caleb Horner’s wife.
The jury returned the $108.6 million verdict just before Christmas in favor of the parents of Misty Horner. They had filed a lawsuit citing a case of wrongful death against Caleb Horner, John Horner and their followers stating that Misty was brainwashed, which caused her to endure a brutal and agonizing death after a bungled home-birth.
John Horner, who was the head of the religious sect, claims he is an apostle for the church he formed which promotes the use of prayer to heal those who are sick and does not accept the powers and healing properties of modern medicines. The culture of the sect, revealed by Misty’s parents, taught women that they should obey their husbands and that it was sinning against God if any sort of medical treatment was undertaken.
As a result of these beliefs Misty agreed to a home birth, but as it turned out she did not receive the required care for a person in her physical state and she was denied the right to modern day diagnostic techniques. When complications occurred in the later stages of pregnancy and it was discovered that she would have a breech birth, her husband took over with a pair of unsterilized scissors to try to release the baby. However, in the process it died of asphyxiation and meanwhile Misty’s body became badly infected but she was denied medical attention as faith healing was used instead which resulted in her dying a slow, lingering death over a 31 day period despite her attempts to get herself to hospital.
The jury decided that Misty was not responsible for her own death so it was a case of wrongful death, due in part to the actions of the deceased baby’s father and other sect members.
Wrongful Deaths Exacerbate Grief
These cases are some of the saddest and most gruesome incidences of wrongful death. Life is not only lost needlessly, but it could have been prevented as the likely course of events could have been predicted and avoided if certain action had been taken in a timely manner. This differs quite markedly from a death in an auto accident as once the death is about to take place little can be done to prevent it at that point in time. There is not much that can be done to reverse the movement of an out of control vehicle and one can only wait for the inevitable collision or crash to happen and then deal with the consequences.
Filing for a Wrongful Death in Missouri
Wrongful deaths do take place frequently in Missouri through various accidents and mistakes. Vehicle accidents, defective products, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice and workplace accidents are some of the commonest cases of wrongful death.
Wrongful death is taken to be a part of personal injury law and if you have lost a family member in Missouri, the Missouri wrongful death statute enforces the requirements that surround filing a compensation claim for a wrongful death. However, a Missouri wrongful death lawyer is required to ensure that no time is wasted interpreting the statute.
There is a time limit set for filing a case against the person who caused the wrongful death, so it is necessary to think quickly and carefully so to ensure your legal rights are upheld. In the state of Missouri, the statute indicates that the spouse, children whether natural or adopted, illegitimate or legitimate and parents of the decadent whether adoptive or natural all have equal access when it comes to filing a wrongful death claim. Siblings of the decedent do not have equal rights to closer relatives.
Assessing a Wrongful Death Claim
When the amount is assessed for any wrongful death and if the person had been an economic asset to the close family through a job or career then this is factored into the compensation claim. Also any medical expenses before the death took place are included in any claim along with funeral expenses. This is not all that is permitted in this type of claim as there is also the non-economic component which covers any loss that has created suffering as a result of the absence of that person in the lives of the remaining family.
The breakdown of the claim for the wrongful death of Misty Horner has not been elaborated, but the assumption is from the role she appeared to play as the wife and partner of Caleb that her economic role may not have been substantial, so any close family members would not have benefited from her economically before her wrongful death. The bulk of the payment would have been assessed on the basis of her non-economic value to her close family which, of course, is irreplaceable and as no one was prepared for her unexpected demise the grieving process may take months or years before a true acceptance of Misty’s untimely death is finally reconciled and the family moves on with the next stage of their lives.
A Wrongful Death is Often Hard to Understand
When someone dies of as a result of a preventable death which has no warning, it is far harder for those close to the person to fully reconcile their loss. All losses of family members entail understanding and acceptance but as a wrongful death is circumstantial, there is always that nagging feeling in the back of the mind that someone could have prevented it happening. This is, of course, true as all wrongful deaths are as a result of careless or negligent actions by another person that, with some thought or sensible action, could have been prevented.
If a family member has suffered a wrongful death, contact a Missouri wrongful death lawyer to discuss filing your Missouri wrongful death claim. Call 314.409.7060 today.