A wrongful death can arise in many circumstances, whether from a car accident, an act of medical malpractice, or an incident involving criminal intent. When you lose a loved one because of someone’s recklessness or purposeful act, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against that individual or entity.

Our dedicated team of wrongful death attorneys at OnderLaw could help aggrieved family members seek full and fair damages in St. Louis wrongful death cases. We could collect evidence, speak with witnesses, and investigate all parties who may have caused or contributed to your loved one’s death to build the strongest possible case for compensation.

Overview of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Several eligibility criteria must be satisfied to claim damages in a St. Louis wrongful death lawsuit.

Eligibility to File Suit

First, you must be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. Missouri law affords the closest family members of the decedent the primary right to file a wrongful death case, and only if none of these individuals survive the decedent can other relatives bring this type of legal action.

In order, those immediate family members who are legally eligible to initiate a wrongful death action are the decedent’s:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Parents

When none of these family members survive the person who has passed way, their brother or sister has the next priority to file a wrongful death claim, followed by their children. A person appointed by the court to represent interested family members may be able to file a wrongful death action when none of the aforementioned relatives survive the deceased.

Proving Negligence

In addition to being entitled to file a lawsuit by nature of your relation to the deceased, you also need to demonstrate legal liability for your loved one’s death to recover damages in a wrongful death case. Many wrongful death claims are founded on the concept that someone’s negligence caused the death.

To prove negligence, you need to show that someone owed your loved one a legal duty, breached that duty—and as a result—they were injured and succumbed to those injuries. For example, if your family member was killed in a car wreck caused by a negligent motorist, the at-fault driver failed in their legal duty to drive with reasonable care.

If you can demonstrate that the negligent motorist’s actions were the direct cause of your loved one’s death, you could establish a viable wrongful death case seeking monetary damages. We could collect a wide range of evidence to build the strongest possible claim for compensation, including your family member’s medical records, photos or video of the accident and fatal injuries, police reports, and more.

Recovering Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

To collect damages in a St. Louis wrongful death claim, you must first ensure that you take the necessary legal action by the filing deadline. You must file a lawsuit no later than three years from the date of your loved one’s death. Missing that three-year deadline could forfeit your right to compensation forever.

It is also important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible about bringing a wrongful death suit. These cases are highly complicated and may involve multiple at-fault parties who could be named as defendants in your wrongful death case. Conducting an investigation, collecting evidence, and negotiating a full and fair settlement takes time, so it is wise to consult with an attorney if you believe you may have grounds to launch a wrongful death action.

Recoverable damages could include the dollar-amount costs connected to your loved one’s death, such as their medical bills, lost income, and funeral and burial expenses. You could also seek payment for the intangible losses you have sustained as the result of the gaping hole their death has left in your life. This may include your pain and suffering as well as the loss of their companionship and guidance.

Call a St. Louis Wrongful Death Attorney About Filing a Case for Damages

No amount of money can make amends for the hole that your loved one’s death has left behind. However, the law can provide a means for you to hold the responsible parties legally accountable and receive compensation for the financial, emotional, and psychological losses you have endured because of your family member’s death.

Available damages in St. Louis wrongful death cases will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. At OnderLaw, we offer a free case consultation to review your prospective wrongful death claim and provide advice about the next steps. Contact us today to speak with one of our trusted lawyers and get more information about your legal options.