Damages in St. Louis County Wrongful Death Cases
The death of a loved one is a traumatizing experience that can impact grieving family members for years. If a person’s death occurred in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, this loss may be even more painful. Fortunately, a family in this situation may be eligible to recover financial compensation to offset the costs of their loved one’s death and give them some sense of comfort and peace of mind. If you have lost someone in this manner, a St. Louis County lawyer could help you recover damages in a wrongful death case.
Purpose of Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
Damages in St. Louis County wrongful death cases can include a variety of elements, and they are meant to provide financial security to the deceased person’s family and compensate them for the harms they have endured. If the case is not able to settle, it is ultimately up to the jury to decide the true value of a particular claim. They will take a number of factors into consideration to make this decision, such as:
- The life expectancy of the decedent;
- The lost earning capacity over the decedent’s life span;
- The pain and suffering that the decedent may have experienced in the accident;
- The overall grief and suffering of the surviving family members.
Economic damages can be a very powerful tool to increase the value of a wrongful death case. This kind of compensation involves concrete amounts that can be rather easily quantified, such as the lost earnings of the decedent calculated over their lifespan. An economist or other financial expert may be needed to complete these calculations accurately. The family can also be reimbursed for the decedent’s medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, loss of inheritance, and any lost benefits from the decedent’s assets.
There are a variety of other damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death case that are more abstract and are not as easily calculated, such as grief, loss of love and affection, loss of compassion, loss of society, and loss of consortium. All of those can be valued in a variety of different ways. Grief, for example, can be valued by determining the value of the relationship between the plaintiff and the decedent, and loss of love and affection can be valued in a very similar way and is typically applicable to the significant other of the decedent. Loss of consortium can only be recovered by the spouse of the decedent.
Who is Eligible to Recover Compensation in a St. Louis County Wrongful Death Case?
The individuals who are eligible to file a wrongful death claim depend on the tier they are categorized under pursuant to Missouri law. Eligibility is divided into three different tiers. If there is no one in the first tier, someone in the second tier could recover compensation. If there is no one in the second tier, then they would move on to the third tier.
Eligible members in the first tier include the parent, spouse, and the children of the decedent. If there are no living parents, spouses, or children, then the second tier provides that any brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews may recover from the loss of the decedent. If there are no eligible people in the first two tiers, then the court can appoint a plaintiff ad litem who could make a claim against the parties for the wrongful death of the decedent.
Get in Touch with a St. Louis County Attorney to Recover Damages in a Wrongful Death Action
When filing a wrongful death action, it is important to have a qualified attorney at your side who is sensitive to your unique situation and is capable of employing the best strategies to make your case compelling in court. A St. Louis County lawyer from Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers could work diligently to help your family recover the damages you need to heal from the wrongful death of your loved one. Call us today to schedule a consultation and learn more.