Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim

Empathic young lady embracing soothing crying

No one is ever prepared to receive the news that their close family member was killed in a preventable accident. If someone else’s carelessness costs your loved one’s life, you likely feel confused, devastated, and angry. You have the right to feel this way, and you could be entitled to seek answers, justice, and fair compensation through a St. Louis wrongful death claim. 

One way you can seek justice and a bit of closure after a loved one’s death and protect your financial future is to file a wrongful death claim. Missouri law allows individuals with specific relationships with the deceased to file wrongful death lawsuits. 

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to Section 537.080 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, wrongful death is when someone dies due to another party’s negligent actions or failure to act. When someone is killed due to someone else’s wrongful act, specific individuals are entitled to file a lawsuit. 

A wrongful death lawsuit allows surviving family members to pursue financial compensation on behalf of the deceased, provided the deceased would have had grounds for a personal injury lawsuit had they survived their injuries.

Accidents That Can Result in Wrongful Death in St. Louis

Many different kinds of accidents could potentially cause a wrongful death in St. Louis, such as:

  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Slip-and-fall accidents
  • Premises liability injuries
  • Accidents caused by defective products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Intentional acts of violence

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Missouri law established two categories of plaintiffs who can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased. If the deceased has a surviving spouse, surviving children, or surviving parents, they get priority to file a wrongful death lawsuit. 

If there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the deceased’s siblings or their children have the right to file a wrongful death claim. To be eligible to file a wrongful death claim, the deceased’s siblings or their siblings’ descendants must prove the loss of their loved one has injured them.

If the deceased has no surviving spouse or other relatives, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased did not name a personal representative for their estate, then the courts may appoint someone to represent the deceased in a lawsuit. However, this person must be eligible to recover compensation from the estate to be named as the deceased’s representative.

What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered?

Potential compensation from a Missouri wrongful death lawsuit includes:

  • The deceased’s funeral and burial expenses
  • The deceased’s medical expenses related to their injury or illness
  • The deceased’s wages and benefits they would have earned had they lived
  • The deceased’s pain and suffering between the time of the accident and their death
  • The loss of emotional support from the deceased (This is sometimes referred to in legal terms as “loss of consortium.”)

How Can the Sumner Law Group Help Me?

The St. Louis wrongful death attorneys at Sumner Law Group want to help you pursue fair compensation after losing a family member. Our team can investigate the accident or incident, lay out your options, and aggressively pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve for the loss you have suffered. 

Contact the Sumner Law Group today for a free consultation, and let us provide the compassionate and knowledgeable representation you and your family deserve.

Brent Sumner

Brent A. Sumner is the Managing Partner at Sumner Law Group, LLC. He focuses his practice exclusively on cases that involve serious personal injuries. Over the years, he has successfully represented thousands of individuals and families, recovering millions of dollars in compensation for injured accident victims.