Things you need to know about filing a Wrongful Death claim

If your loved one's death resulted from the negligence of another party, you likely have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Given the grief and emotional trauma that typically follows the untimely death of a beloved family member, there's always the potential of failing to take such action until it is too late. Missouri's statute of limitations for filing such a claim is three years, and filings after that period might be invalid.

Statute of Limitations

The time limit to file a wrongful death claim  starts at the time of your loved one's death. That's why it is very important that you contact an attorney that handles such serious cases at the earliest opportunity so that your claim can be properly investigated and worked up.

Damages you can claim

The financial consequences of an untimely death can be overwhelming. Bills from doctors, hospitals and other services will start arriving soon. Furthermore, the expenses related to the end-of-life arrangements and the loss of your loved one's earnings will likely bring hardship. However, you may pursue damage recovery of the following:

  • Financial damages: This covers more than just the costs you may incur for medical and funeral expenses. Your claim could also include the loss of the deceased family member's future income and the family's medical and pension benefits along with the loss of inheritance as the result of the premature death.
  • Non-economic losses: These are intangible, or "personal" damages, and determining the monetary values may be challenging. However, you may regard these as more significant than the financial losses. These claims may include compensation for the deceased's pain and suffering before dying along with the reasonable value of the loss of the following:  The deceased family member's services, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training and support. It is very important that you have a legal team that understands the importance of clearly articulating each and every one of these areas of personal loss you have suffered.
  • Punitive damages: If the jury determines that your loved one's death resulted from gross negligence or extremely offensive conduct by the defendant, it could award a monetary judgment which includes punitive damages that could double or triple the award.

The legal process

Although it is tough to deal with these issues at a time when your grief is overwhelming, you may find comfort in knowing that an experienced wrongful death attorney can effectively advocate for you by fully investigating and preparing to file the necessary paperwork with the appropriate civil court to start the lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations. An experienced wrongful death attorney knows what to expect and can guide and support all of the surviving family members throughout the complicated legal proceedings that may follow to ensure the very best odds of receiving the maximum amount of damages to which they are entitled. Knowing you are in competent hands and sure to receive the maximum available recovery for your loss allows you and your family members the opportunity to grieve and heal from your life-changing loss.

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