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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Powell

Here Is How to File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in Missouri

An accident can have a host of different outcomes, some of which mean a world of limitations for victims. This could be because of paralysis, loss of limbs, etc. However, many would say that the worst possibility is death.

Of course, in many of these accidents, the fatality is the result of a negligent or intentional action that another party commits. Such incidents may mean that a surviving spouse or some other allowed person can file a wrongful death claim.

Here is a look at how these claims are defined, how they work, and what needs to be done to file one successfully.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri?

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri?

Under Missouri law, the concept of wrongful death speaks to a situation where there is an occurrence, transaction, form of conduct, or act by a party that would allow damages to be recovered by another affected party, if the latter did not pass away.

Put simply, wherever negligent or intentional actions happen that cause the death of someone, such a claim may be filed. For help filing a claim, St Louis wrongful death attorneys may be able to assist.

Do Criminal Cases Negate the Possibility of Civil Case Filings?

A Missouri wrongful death lawsuit is a civil matter, as it falls under the umbrella of personal injury claims. Therefore, whatever liability rests with the defendant is expressed in the form of financial compensation for the damages that may have been suffered.

Note, however, that in a matter where a deceased person passed away because of the actions of someone else, there may be criminal charges laid against the latter. Instead of damages being awarded to persons affiliated with the victim, the potential penalties span jail or prison time, probation, state fines, and more.

It is still possible to seek compensation via a wrongful death case where there may be a criminal proceeding for the same incident.

Who Is Allowed to File Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

Like other states, Missouri has established rules about who the personal representative of a deceased party can be in the civil courts. The first set of allowed people include a surviving spouse, live children, or descendants of dead children.

Should there be a case where no such person in that category is alive, then surviving siblings or their descendants may file the suit.

If everyone from either category hasn't passed away or no such person exists, then the court may choose to appoint a "plaintiff ad litem." This is a party suitable and competent to prosecute the action on behalf of someone who is entitled to share in the proceedings of the claim.

Potential Damages That a Successful Wrongful Death Claim May Yield

As indicated before, since this is a personal injury matter, the defendant may be ordered to pay damages to the plaintiff, whoever the latter may be. What the amount looks like will depend on what applies to the situation.

There will be a total figure that will consist of economic and non-economic damages. The economic class speaks to those that have an attributable dollar value based on documentation such as receipts. On the other hand, non-economic damages require a more involved valuation process, which will be undertaken by a retained attorney, since these fall under the quality of life umbrella.

Some of the typical damages include:

  1. Medical bills that were the result of the accident

  2. Funeral and burial expenses

  3. Lost wages that the loved one's death may have introduced

  4. Pain and suffering the deceased person may have experienced between injury and death

  5. Loss of services, comfort, companionship, guidance, etc., that the victim may have provided before dying

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Missouri?

The Missouri wrongful death statute of limitations indicates how long the filing party has to put the personal injury claim forward before the window for compensation to be sought closes permanently.

This is three years from the date of the death. It may seem like a long time, but legal proceedings can be complicated, so anyone looking to file is advised to retain an attorney and begin the process in the shortest possible order. They can also help with how to file a lawsuit for a dog bite in Missouri.

How Is a Wrongful Death Civil Lawsuit Filed?


Those looking to recover damages by filing a claim on the deceased person's behalf should start by engaging an experienced wrongful death attorney who will review the case to see if a successful claim is possible. There will also be advice provided on the next steps and what actions will need to be taken by the legal professional and the plaintiff to increase the likelihood of a favorable result.


A case-building process will take place, which will see the attorney gathering the required documentation, interviewing the relevant experts, etc., to further improve the client's chances.

Filing the Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The next step is for the lawyer to file the claim on behalf of the client, which will make the defendant aware of the case and what kind of settlement is being sought. This will allow the negligent party (or their insurance company, depending on the circumstances) to retain legal assistance too. Powell Law Firm can also go into detail about how to file a lawsuit for workers compensation in Missouri.

The Negotiation and Representation Phase

Negotiations will then take place between the attorney and the other side with the aim being to secure the most favorable outcome. While many claims will be resolved here, some cannot and will require a trial, which will see the legal professional aim to secure the settlement in court.

How Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Prove the Claim Being Made?

How Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Prove the Claim Being Made?

Wrongful death cases require proving that someone else's negligence or intentional misconduct caused the death. Additionally, there needs to be a linkage showing that the kinds of damages specified by Missouri law were incurred as a result.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with an Experienced Missouri Wrongful Death Attorney Today!

Dealing with the death of a loved one is never an easy task. It gets worse when you need to fight against the party responsible for the untimely passing because they don't want to pay the compensation that is undoubtedly deserved.

Why do it on your own when Powell Law Firm is here for you? Schedule a free consultation today with an outstanding wrongful death attorney!


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