If your loved one died in an accident due to the negligent actions of another person, do not hesitate to contact the O’Fallon personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw. We can review your case and determine whether we can represent you in court. You might be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party, and we want to help.

Wrongful death stems from an act, occurrence, circumstance, transaction, or conduct done by or caused by someone else. The intentional or negligent actions of that person or entity should entitle your family member to compensation for their losses if they had survived the accident. In other words, a wrongful death lawsuit might be possible if the deceased could have filed an insurance claim or lawsuit had their injuries not been fatal.

At OnderLaw, our O’Fallon wrongful death lawyers have the extensive knowledge and experience required to handle cases like this. We know the pain you’re enduring and how traumatic it can be to lose someone in an avoidable accident. You might face financial struggles while paying for funeral arrangements, medical bills, and other expenses. You should not be responsible for those costs when someone else caused your relative’s death. We can help you hold them liable for their wrongdoing.

Call OnderLaw for a free consultation and learn more about our legal services.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Various scenarios could lead to a person’s fatal injury or death. Unfortunately, human error is a common cause of wrongful death throughout the country. Whether it’s a doctor administering the incorrect medication, a motorist running a red light, or a manufacturer selling a defective product, the mistakes someone makes can have deadly consequences.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

In 2020, 989 people died in traffic-related accidents in Missouri. Drivers are supposed to focus on the task at hand so that they arrive at their destinations safely. Unfortunately, distractions, such as texting and other dangerous factors, can contribute to fatalities. The most common causes of car crashes are:

  • Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions
  • Driver fatigue
  • Distracted driving
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Defective vehicle parts

Premises Liability

Anyone could suffer injuries on another person’s property. Homeowners and business owners should take the necessary precautions to keep their properties safe for guests. Fatal accidents often occur from poor maintenance or inadequate repairs. The most common causes of premises liability cases include:

  • Negligent security personnel
  • Slip/trip and fall accidents
  • Falling debris
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Defective staircases
  • Exposed electrical wiring
  • Malfunctioning escalators or elevators
  • Uneven or cracked sidewalks
  • Slippery floors

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other medical provider causes harm or death to their patient by a negligent act or omission. The most common fatal errors healthcare professionals make are:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Inadequate pre- and post-operative care
  • Performing an unnecessary surgery
  • Using unsterilized tools
  • Implanting a defective medical device
  • Prescribing the wrong medication

Defective Products

A manufacturer or retailer can be held liable when they provide consumers with products containing defects. These companies must meet quality standards and perform testing to ensure their products are safe for use. The most common products that can lead to a person’s death are:

  • Children’s products
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Furniture
  • Motor vehicles
  • Medications

Workplace Accidents

There were 4,572 preventable work-related deaths in 2019. That’s a 2% increase in fatalities from the previous year. Dangerous working conditions typically contribute to occupational fatalities. Common causes of fatal accidents include:

  • Lack of safety equipment
  • Exposure to dangerous chemicals
  • Fall from heights
  • Defective equipment
  • Fires
  • Electric shock
  • Falling debris
  • Insufficient lighting

Nursing Home Abuse

The staff at nursing homes must have the necessary experience and training to care for elderly patients. Low wages, staffing shortages, and other factors could contribute to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Older adults are more vulnerable to poor treatment because they can’t defend themselves, and in some cases, a cognitive illness may prevent them from remembering what happened. The most common causes of nursing home patient fatalities include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Infection
  • Falls
  • Asphyxiation
  • Internal bleeding

You should contact OnderLaw for a free consultation if your loved one died for any of these reasons. You don’t have to go through this devastating ordeal alone. You will have a dedicated legal team in your corner to be your advocate and stand up to the negligent party.

Family Members Who Are Entitled to Pursue a Wrongful Death Case

If you want to sue the at-fault party for causing your loved one’s death, you must follow the statute of limitations. This is a strict deadline, and once it passes, you could lose your right to compensation. Missouri has a three-year statute of limitations that begins on the date of the victim’s death.

Only a handful of surviving relatives are allowed to seek compensation for the loss of their loved ones. The only eligible parties, in this specific order, are:

  • Spouse or natural or adopted children or a natural or adoptive parent
  • Sister or brother or their descendants
  • Plaintiff ad litem – A court-appointed personal representative of the deceased’s estate on behalf of any person entitled to compensation

If you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you must represent your interests and the interests of other surviving relatives, as only one wrongful death lawsuit may be filed. The monetary award you receive should compensate for the losses you and your family suffered.

Compensation You Can Pursue in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The amount of your compensation will depend on multiple factors that the judge will review when determining the monetary value of your case. They will consider the total expenses incurred from the fatal injury or accident and any intangible losses suffered by surviving family members.

The losses you could potentially pursue are:

  • The estimated value of lost wages and benefits the deceased might have earned if they survived the accident
  • The reasonable value of lost consortium, guidance, services, companionship, comfort, and support
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical costs related to the deceased’s illness or injury
  • Pain and suffering the deceased experienced

There isn’t a maximum limit on the financial award you could receive for most cases. However, if you lost your loved one from medical malpractice, the most you could recover for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, is $700,000.

Pure Comparative Negligence Could Reduce the Monetary Value of Your Case

Missouri follows a pure comparative negligence rule. That means you might receive lower compensation than you deserve if a jury determines your loved one’s actions contributed to their death. They will review the circumstances of the accident and assign a percentage of fault to both parties. They will then subtract the percentage from your total losses.

For example, let’s say you end up with $100,000 in losses from your relative’s fatal accident. If a jury finds that they were 20% to blame for their death, you could only pursue up to $80,000 in compensation. Under normal circumstances, you would be allowed to seek the full $100,000 if the negligent party were 100% at fault.

Why Hire OnderLaw ?

The O’Fallon wrongful death lawyers of OnderLaw have worked hard to earn a stellar reputation. We have recovered over $3 billion in compensation for clients throughout Missouri. We owe our success to an experienced and dedicated legal team that goes above and beyond to meet the needs of accident victims and their families.

When you hire us, you will receive the personalized one-on-one attention you deserve. We’re available 24/7, so you can reach us whenever you need us. Unlike other law firms, we don’t make you wait days or weeks for a return call or email. You will feel like a priority from start to finish of the legal process.

Prestigious legal organizations, such as Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, recognized us for the positive results we’ve achieved over the years. We care about our clients and believe in holding people accountable for their actions. Founding Partner Jim Onder received an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating an attorney can receive.

Providing legal services isn’t the only thing we care about. We want to protect the members of our community and make our hometown a safer place. That’s why we’re proud to support various organizations, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Parents for Window Blind Safety, and St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness, to name just a few examples.

Contact Our O’Fallon Wrongful Death Attorneys

At OnderLaw, our O’Fallon wrongful death lawyers will fight for your rights and pursue the compensation you and your family deserve. We know that no amount of money can bring your loved one back, but we want to help you relieve your financial burden so that you can afford the expenses associated with the accident.

We will remain by your side from start to finish of your case and diligently work to achieve your desired outcome. We can’t make any promises, but we make it our mission to recover the highest possible monetary award, so you’re not forced to pay for anything out of pocket.

If someone’s negligence caused the death of your loved one, contact OnderLaw immediately. One of our O’Fallon wrongful death lawyers can discuss your case during a free consultation and determine your legal options.