There may be nothing more heartbreaking and traumatizing than the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one. Death is never an easy experience to deal with, and this is even more true when the death was caused by a senseless or negligent accident that could have been prevented. It is in these circumstances that the loss of life seems even more unfair.
While money can’t bring back your loved one, it can be a powerful motivator. Holding those responsible for an accident accountable for their negligent actions by pursuing compensation can make them feel some of the pain of your loss. Gaining monetary compensation may not resolve your feelings of anger and grief, but it can bring the financial stability that you need to get back on your feet and provide for your family, just as your loved one would wish.
At OnderLaw, LLC, our team of compassionate and understanding attorneys is ready to help you seek the financial compensation you deserve following a tragic accident. While you focus on your family and your recovery, we work to recover the maximum possible compensation for your situation.
In your grief, you may be vulnerable, a quality that some companies and insurance adjusters may try to take advantage of. Before you accept any settlement offer, talk to a skilled attorney who has experience handling Columbia wrongful death cases. Contact the Columbia personal injury lawyers at OnderLaw, LLC to discuss your situation. The consultation is confidential and free. Call us today at (314) 963-9000. We’re ready to work for you.
Why You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney on Your Side
Dealing with the aftermath of a death is never easy. As wave upon wave of grief and anger wash over you, questions are constantly popping up about the funeral, medical costs, and bills. That’s not to mention the constant calls you may be fielding from third parties or insurance companies asking for information or trying to dissuade you from taking legal action. You may feel like you are facing the storm alone, but you don’t have to.
At OnderLaw, LLC, we understand that the thought of pursuing legal action at this time may seem daunting, exhausting, and overwhelming. While it may not be easy, this time in your life can be far from debilitating when you put your trust in a skilled and experienced legal team.
The compassionate attorneys with OnderLaw, LLC can take on the weight of this task while allowing you the time and space you need to focus on healing from the traumatic incident. We can shoulder the burden of securing records, gathering evidence, taking witness statements, and finding expert testimony to craft a solid case that aims to seek the full and fair compensation you deserve after a serious and fatal accident.
The company, entity, or individual that caused this accident deserves to be held accountable for their negligent or reckless actions. This can’t happen without the cooperation of family members willing to stand up and say, “this is unacceptable.” At OnderLaw, LLC, we help make sure that your voice gets heard and that you get the money you need to financially recover from this disaster. While money can’t bring back a loved one, it can at least provide a safety net for you and your family.
Are you ready to consider your legal options? Then the team at OnderLaw, LLC wants to talk to you. Contact us at (314) 963-9000 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Let’s talk about your options and the ways we may be able to help.
Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death Accidents
Unlike car accidents or premises liability cases, wrongful death is a broad area of practice. Why? Because there are numerous causes, incidents, and mitigating circumstances that can result in a case being called a “wrongful death” case.
The state of Missouri defines wrongful death as any action, behavior, occurrence, transaction, or circumstance that results in the death of an individual. However, the law is more specific than that. It goes on to say that in order to qualify for a wrongful death claim, the circumstances must be such that if the individual had survived, they would have been entitled to seek compensation for the accident. Essentially, this means that since the accident resulted in their death, their family may be the ones to pursue compensation in their stead.
Yet, you can see how broadly the law paints wrongful death claims. Any “act, conduct, occurrence, or circumstance” covers a lot of territory. For the most part, wrongful death accidents can be broken down into a series of “most common” causes. Breaking the accidents down in this way may help people get a better understanding of what types of occurrences may be considered under “wrongful death.”
These common causes include:
- Car and truck accidents
- Pedestrian fatalities
- Aviation disasters
- Medical malpractice
- Defective drugs and medical devices
- Defective of faulty consumer products
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability accidents
If someone’s reckless actions or negligence resulted in the death of a loved one, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim and obtain financial recovery. The attorneys with OnderLaw, LLC can review your individual situation and give you legal advice on how we can help you pursue compensation.
Compensation Available for Wrongful Death Claims
The purpose of the claim is to seek monetary damages, or compensation, for the loss of the loved one. Compensation may be available for the following:
- Funeral costs
- Burial costs
- Medical bills related to the individual’s injuries before they passed away
- Loss of income or value of wages and benefits that the person would have earned had they lived
- Loss of companionship or support
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering inflicted on the individual before death
Even if an individual was only working part-time, their family may be entitled to 110 percent of the state’s average weekly wage if the deceased was responsible for caring for another family member for at least 50 percent of their time. “Caring for another family member” could include being a caregiver for a child, an elderly parent over the age of 65, or a disabled individual according to Missouri law.
Family members of deceased minors may also be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death claim. The “lost wage” compensation for a minor is actually based upon their parents’ wages. If only one parent works, their salary will be used to determine a minor’s lost wages. If both parents work, the average of their salaries will be used.
Family members should also bear in mind that in some situations, Missouri will cap the amount of non-economic damages that a family can receive. Non-economic damages cover things like emotional distress and pain and suffering. In cases of medical malpractice, the state places a $400,000 cap on cases that involve non-catastrophic injuries and $700,000 for catastrophic injuries. This cap rises on a 1.7 percent basis per year. The Missouri Department of Insurance details what the cap is on an ongoing basis, reflecting the 1.7 percent annual increase.
Those wishing to pursue a wrongful death claim need to also understand that there is a strict time limit, or statute of limitations, for filing a suit. Descendants only have three years from the date of their loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim. Not filing within this time frame can result in a case being thrown out without it ever being heard in court, leaving family members with little recourse for gaining compensation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Missouri state law very specifically lays out which family members are entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one. This hierarchy dictates who may be allowed to recover financial compensation in the event of a death. The first in line are the deceased individual’s surviving spouse or children. The law states that children can be biological, adopted, legitimate, or illegitimate. The deceased individual’s mother or father is also in this first category.
If the deceased had none of the above, then the next in line would be the individual’s siblings or their children. If the individual had no siblings, then the courts are allowed to appoint what is known as plaintiff ad litem. This is an individual given power by the courts to bring an action to the courts on behalf of the deceased and the deceased’s estate. This plaintiff ad litem must demonstrate that they are entitled to share in the compensation of a successful wrongful death claim.
Only one claim can be made for the death of any one person. That means that if a surviving spouse files a wrongful death claim, the deceased individual’s mother can’t also file a claim.
Contact OnderLaw, LLC Today for Help with Your Wrongful Death Claim
The sudden loss of a family member can come as a complete and utter shock. It is typically not something that a family prepares for, and the loss can severely impact a family both emotionally and financially.
If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident, talk to the experienced legal team at OnderLaw, LLC. We may be able to help bring you a sense of justice by holding those responsible for the accident accountable for their actions. For more information about recovering the compensation you and your family deserve, contact us at (314) 963-9000. The initial consultation is free.