Requirements for filing a wrongful death claim

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

When a person’s negligence or reckless behavior causes another person’s death in Missouri, it often leads to litigation in civil court. A successful claim could result in the court granting a monetary judgment against the party found responsible for the death and the financial damages that resulted. But certain requirements must be met to be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.  

A person considering filing a wrongful death claim must have grounds to do so, which basically means that if the decedent had lived, he or she would have had grounds to sue for damages. For example, if a motor vehicle collision occurred because a driver ran a red light and struck another car, resulting in injuries to someone in the vehicle at the time, the surviving victim would be able to file a personal injury claim. If that person’s injuries result in death, another party may file the claim on behalf of the decedent. 

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Missouri? 

To meet the requirements for filing a wrongful death claim, a plaintiff is typicallye an immediate family member of the decedent, such as a surviving spouse, adult child, parent or guardian. However, in some cases, when there is no immediate kin or person of direct lineage to file a claim, the court may appoint a “plaintiff ad litem,” who may then seek compensation for damages on behalf of the decedent and anyone else who may be entitled to a share of any subsequent financial award. A personal injury attorney can help determine whether someone considering filing a claim is eligible to do so. 

Damages may include funeral expenses, loss of consortium and more 

When a person suffers the sudden loss of a loved one in a Missouri motor vehicle collision that was caused by another party’s negligence, compensation for damages may include funeral expenses, as well as loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of the benefits of a familial relationship. To determine additional damages, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney before heading to court.  

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