Columbia Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one due to the negligence of another person is a tragic experience no family should have to endure. Not only could their loss be painful to bear, but the financial burden that comes with funeral expenses and potential medical costs could leave your family in a financial bind. However, through civil action, surviving family members may be able to take legal action for compensation.
Though no amount of payment could make up for the passing of a family member, a compassionate attorney could help you and your family hold the at-fault party accountable. To learn more, reach out to a Columbia wrongful death lawyer today.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
When someone dies as a result of another’s negligence, their death does not eliminate the right to recover damages. Instead, the deceased’s kin may bring a claim on their behalf. Under Revised Statutes of Missouri § 537.080, only certain relatives of the deceased may sue for wrongful death damages.
Those able to bring forth a wrongful death claim include a spouse, child, or parent of the deceased. If the deceased has no children, parents, or spouse, a brother or sister, or the brother’s/sister’s descendants may bring a wrongful death action. Otherwise, the court may appoint a representative to file a claim on the deceased’s behalf.
What is the Deadline to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.100, anyone recovering from a wrongful death must file their lawsuit within three years from the day their loved one passed away. If medical malpractice is the basis for the claim, this time limit gets extended to two years. A proactive attorney in Columbia could help a family adhere to these time limits and protect the strength of their wrongful death claim.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
In most wrongful death cases, a judge or jury would determine the damages awarded to the plaintiff. The following is a list of typical damages that may be available in a wrongful death case:
- Medical bills resulting from the injuries or illness before death
- Deceased’s lost past and future income
- Funeral expenses
- Deceased’s physical pain and mental suffering before death
- Family member’s emotional anguish and suffering as a result of the death
- Loss of society
Loss of society, also known as loss of consortium, protects the emotional or psychological aspects of family relationships lost due to the wrongful death. The judge or jury reviews several factors and what is just and fair for the emotionally driven damage categories. This includes ascribing a value to the deceased’s services, companionship, comfort, guidance, and protection no longer available to surviving kin. Additionally, damages may vary depending on the age of the deceased. Special rules guide judges and juries if the deceased was especially young or old.
It can be challenging for a family to understand the full scope of compensation they deserve, but a seasoned lawyer in Columbia could assess the wrongful death claim and help them advocate for substantial monetary damages.
Schedule a Consultation with a Columbia Wrongful Death Attorney
As a survivor, you have the ability to pursue the wrongdoer for damages stemming from the death of a loved one. The person or entity at fault for the accident, injury, or illness should be held accountable.
An attorney could help you review your options for legal recovery. The aftermath of a death is confusing and painful. Empathetic legal counsel could stand by your side and advocate for your rights. Contact a Columbia wrongful death lawyer today to learn more.