What Are the Wrongful Death Laws in Missouri?
By Chris Dixon
If a Missouri resident dies because of another person’s negligence, their immediate family members and designated heirs could be eligible to recover compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering. Each state in the U.S. has its own wrongful death laws, and the state of Missouri isn’t an exception. If you lost a family member because of another person’s negligence and need to know more about the wrongful death laws in Missouri, a lawyer can offer information on the state’s laws and develop a plan to recover full compensation for your family member’s wrongful death in Missouri.
Missouri Wrongful Death Statute
If someone dies from unnatural causes, there is a time frame for how long a victim or the surviving family members of the victim have to file a wrongful death claim in Missouri. The
Statute of Limitations in Missouri for wrongful death claims is up to three years after the victim’s death. After this point, claims are denied, and the victim’s family forfeits all rights to recover damages from the person that caused their relative’s death.
If a wrongful death claim is filed within three years of a victim’s death, surviving family members could be entitled to recover damages that the victim experienced before their death. Recoverable wrongful death damages generally stay the same from case to case, but the settlement amount varies significantly depending on the circumstances of the accident, how long it’s been since the victim’s death, and whether a lawyer was involved when filing a wrongful death claim. Hiring an experienced lawyer to represent your case is vital because no one understands the wrongful death laws in Missouri better than a Missouri Wrongful Death Lawyer.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri?
If someone wrongfully dies in Missouri, a wrongful death claim can be filed by a victim’s immediate family members under the guidelines of Missouri’s wrongful death laws. According to Missouri’s wrongful death laws, there are two categories of people that are eligible to file a wrongful death claim; immediate family members such as spouses, children, and parents, and if no one is available from the first category, the victim’s siblings or descendants could be eligible to submit a suit. If you recently lost someone in an unexpected accident, and are unsure of your rights to file a wrongful death claim in Missouri, an experienced lawyer can analyze your situation, quickly determine your eligibility, and develop a plan to recover the maximum amount of compensation from the negligent party that caused your family member’s wrongful death.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in Missouri for Wrongful Death?
Generally, in the State of Missouri, if someone dies because of another person’s negligence, the at-fault party is required to compensate the victim’s family for damages. There are two types of recoverable wrongful death damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are losses that have a dollar amount affixed to them such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and funeral/burial expenses, while non-economic damages are non-monetary damages that the victim or their family experienced such as pain and suffering or loss of affection. Compensation for non-economic damages is calculated by multiplying the total of economic damages by 4 or 5 and reaching a settlement that includes reimbursement for both economic non-economic damages.
There isn’t a damages cap for most types of wrongful death cases, but in the past ten years, a limit has been set for medical malpractice settlements. In 2015, a bill was passed in Missouri that limits the amount of compensation that victims and their families are eligible to recover for medical malpractice claims. The damages cap for catastrophic medical malpractice injuries is $748,828, and according to the Missouri Department of Insurance, this number has risen by at least $10,000 every year since 2015, and is expected to continue rising annually.
Talk to a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Missouri Today
Wrongful death cases are complex and often require extensive knowledge of a state’s laws to achieve desirable results. If you have lost a family member in an unexpected accident, and you need a lawyer to assess your case and offer information on the wrongful death laws in Missouri, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today. Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Missouri are passionate about helping the surviving family members of victims obtain justice for their loved one’s death, offer free consultations, and are dedicated to doing everything possible to recover full compensation for the wrongful death cases of Missouri residents.