How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Suit in Missouri?

When you lose a loved one, the pain of such a staggering loss can impact your ability to even function on a daily basis. When your loss was brought about by someone else’s negligent actions, this knowledge will not only inflict an unspeakable burden, but compound the suffering and distress you are feeling.

The compassionate attorneys at OnderLaw can help you to determine your best legal options if you believe negligence caused your loved one’s death. The law defines a limited timeframe in which to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Missouri, so it is best to consult with a trusted legal professional promptly if you think you may have a case.

Timeline to File a Wrongful Death Case in Missouri

Missouri law allows a specific window of time for you to proceed with a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Missouri are 36 months. This three-year window begins on the day your loved one passed away, and in most cases, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit in Missouri within three years after the date of their death.

If you miss that deadline, you may be left without any legal recourse, even if someone’s negligence was the sole reason behind your loved one’s death. However, unique circumstances can affect the standard statute of limitations. For example, if your loved one passed away, but it was not immediately apparent what the cause of death was, and the reason for the injury that caused their death is later traced back to someone’s negligence, it could impact the underlying filing deadline.

If you believe you may have legal grounds to bring forward a wrongful death lawsuit, the best thing you can do is speak with an attorney who is deeply familiar with this area of law and can provide tailored advice specific to the facts and circumstances of your potential case.

Starting a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri

Common causes of wrongful death include:

In addition to establishing strict parameters around how long you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit, Missouri law also outlines the parties that are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

The decedent’s spouse, parents, children, or grandchildren have priority in the eyes of the law to bring a claim when a person or company’s negligence causes their loved one’s wrongful death. If none of these individuals are living, the decedent’s siblings or even their siblings’ children can bring forward a case.

In the rare case that no such individuals survive the decedent, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may have legal grounds to file a wrongful death claim, or the judge may designate such an individual to act on behalf of the estate.

Collecting Damages in a Missouri Wrongful Death Claim

In order to establish liability in a wrongful death claim, you need to prove that someone violated a legal duty of care, and that this violation was the cause of your loved one’s death. For example, suppose that you are alleging that a negligent driver caused your loved one’s death.

Drivers have a legal duty of care to observe traffic laws and to operate their vehicles with reasonable care. If a driver fails to do so and causes an accident that kills someone, they could be legally liable if the family of the decedent files a wrongful death lawsuit.

Family members who bring a successful wrongful death lawsuit could recover multiple types of compensation, including the value of the loved one’s medical bills, funeral costs, and the lost wages incurred due to their death. You could also recover the value of the pain, suffering, emotional anguish, and lost companionship you have sustained because of your loved one’s death.

Our dedicated attorneys can help you collect the full body of proof you would need to support a wrongful death claim. These could include evidence such as:

  • Autopsy reports
  • Accident reports
  • Photos and videos
  • Accident reconstruction reports
  • Eyewitness and expert witness statements

Contact a Compassionate Missouri Wrongful Death Attorney

If negligence played a role in your loved one’s death, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You do not have to face the system alone, but waiting too long to start a case could mean losing the right to take legal action.

Our experienced legal team will walk alongside you through this unimaginable time and fight for maximum financial recovery from the responsible party or parties with unwavering tenacity. If you have questions about filing a wrongful death claim in Missouri, do not hesitate to contact OnderLaw today to receive your free, confidential case review.