Who Gets the Money From a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri?

Wrongful death lawsuit

If you have suffered the unspeakable tragedy of losing a loved one because of someone else’s wrongful actions in Missouri, you could be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. The point of such a legal action is to seek financial compensation as a form of justice and accountability for your loved one’s untimely death.

At this point, you might wonder: “Who gets the money from a wrongful death lawsuit?” This is a common question and one the team at Sumner Law Group, LLC, can answer.

Who Can File a Missouri Wrongful Death Claim and Who Benefits?

Missouri Statute 537.080 limits who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Missouri, starting with the decedent’s:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Lineal descendants of any deceased children
  • Natural or adoptive parents of the deceased

If none of these individuals are available or capable, the deceased’s siblings or their siblings’ descendants can file. If there are no eligible parties in either of these categories, a plaintiff ad litem appointed by the court can bring the action on behalf of those entitled to share in the settlement proceeds.

Is There a Priority Order for Wrongful Death Recoveries?

Yes, Missouri law distributes any money recovered through a wrongful death suit in roughly the same order as it allows survivors to file. Those in Class 1 – the spouse, children, or parents – have the first right to file a wrongful death claim and will decide how to split any money they recover. Only if there is no one in this class does the right pass to Class 2 – the siblings or their descendants – in which case compensation is distributed according to the members of that class. If there is no one in either of these classes, the court can appoint a plaintiff ad litem, who distributes compensation following  the laws of descent.

What Could You Receive for Your Loved One’s Death?

The compensation you could recover through a wrongful death claim might include money for:

  • Medical expenses from between the deceased’s injury and death
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • The value of wages and benefits the deceased would likely have earned
  • Non-economic damages like loss of companionship and consortium

The specifics vary with each case, depending on factors such as the deceased’s age, health, occupation, and earning capacity.

Why You Need Our Missouri Wrongful Death Lawyers

Given the complexity of the law and the emotional burden of pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit, it is crucial to engage an experienced, empathetic attorney. At Sumner Law Group, LLC, our knowledgeable Missouri wrongful death lawyers are ready to evaluate your situation, answer your questions, and fight tirelessly to pursue the maximum compensation you deserve. We understand the devastation of losing a loved one and want to help you seek the justice and closure you and your family deserve.

Get Help from Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Today

Missouri law is quite clear when it comes to who gets the money from a wrongful death lawsuit, but the road to a successful settlement or verdict can be a difficult one. You don’t have to travel that road alone. Contact the dedicated legal team at Sumner Law Group, LLC, today for a free and confidential consultation about your legal options.

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.