St. Louis County Wrongful Death Lawyer
Every death is a tragedy for a decedent’s surviving family members. Not only would you need to deal with the immediate aftermath of the death such as arranging a funeral or paying outstanding medical bills, but you also need to make plans for the future and any loss of support that the death has thrust into your life.
While not every death may be the subject of a wrongful death claim for damages, certain legal situations do arise where another party is directly responsible for the loss of your loved one. In these situations, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against an individual, company, or insurance companies.
A St. Louis County wrongful death lawyer could help you to pursue these claims to provide needed compensation for your family. A compassionate attorney could work to identify all possible defendants and demand all applicable damages needed to set things right.
When Would Someone File a Wrongful Death Suit?
A wrongful death claim is applicable when the facts of the case would have allowed the decedent to bring a personal injury claim had they survived the incident. As a result, common fact patterns that may lead to wrongful death claims include:
- Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents
- Slips and falls
- Defective product claims
- Medical malpractice claims
In all these examples, the plaintiff must show that a defendant’s negligence led to the incident that resulted in death. Of course, selecting a plaintiff is an important part of a wrongful death case. According to MO Statute §537.080(1), there is a strict hierarchy of people who have the right to demand compensation in a wrongful death suit. Normally, a surviving spouse or child must serve as a plaintiff. However, there are situations where a sibling or plaintiff ad litem may represent the decedent’s estate. A St. Louis County lawyer could help to determine whether a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate and to select the proper plaintiff withstanding to bring the claim.
What are Some Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?
The goal of a wrongful death claim is not just to demand payments for any outstanding costs associated with the incident, but also to make things right for the family’s future.
As a result, MO Statute §537.090 outlines the damages that juries in wrongful death cases may award a decedent’s family. Of course, these include all funeral costs and outstanding medical bills associated with treatment. Other damages a family could recover for may include:
- Loss of guidance or instruction for children
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of services to a family
When recovering damages, it is essential to make accurate calculations when making demands for payments in both settlement talks and court proceedings. A St. Louis County wrongful death lawyer could help families to measure their losses and to demand appropriate payments as compensation for the loss of a loved one.
Settling a Wrongful Death Case in St. Louis
Typically, St. Louis wrongful death claims are settled far faster than other personal injury cases. However, determining whether or not to settle a wrongful death case out of court can be a difficult decision. In many instances, the negligent party only has a certain amount of insurance and assets that they can actually pay into the claim, so a settlement may make sense. However, in instances where the decedent has died because of the defendant’s criminal violations, such as a drunk driving accident, some family members may want to pursue a civil case against the negligent party to make a point.
Although this process can be very expensive and cost more money than can be recovered in some wrongful death cases, it is understandable why some family members may choose this route. This is a very personal choice that must be determined by each beneficiary on their own.
How are Wrongful Death Cases Handled Differently in St. Louis County than in Other Jurisdictions?
St. Louis County wrongful death cases operate differently than in other jurisdictions in several different ways. When it comes to valuing cases, the amount of compensation calculated in this county’s wrongful death cases is generally much higher than in many of the claims from the rural counties. However, cases in this area are still sometimes valued for less than a plaintiff deserves, which is why it is extremely important to have a skilled lawyer take the lead.
Hire a St. Louis County Wrongful Death Attorney
An unexpected death would always throw a family into chaos and uncertainty. Not only would a family need to consider the immediate future, but they may also need to consider how their future may look. The loss of a primary earner in a family may also result in economic devastation as well as emotional trauma.
A St. Louis County wrongful death lawyer could help to represent the interests of your family in these cases. Whether the death was the result of an accident, a doctor error, or even a homicide, an at-fault party is liable to pay. This could include payments for medical costs, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. Contact an attorney today to discuss your options.