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Wrongful death lawsuits: What they are and when to file

Accidents will happen, or so the saying goes. Unfortunately, accidents can often be fatal, whether related to a car wreck, medical mistake, tragic fall or some sort of criminal activity. And when the negligent or careless actions of one individual or entity resulted in the fatality, that party could be liable for a wrongful death.

If your loved one died in a tragic accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. While monetary gain may be the farthest thing from your mind in the time of mourning, a successful claim can cover the cost of medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages and other damages.

In Missouri, only specific individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit in the civil courts. Typically this right is granted to surviving spouses, children or grandchildren. If the victim was a child, then the parents may file the claim. If there is no surviving spouse or offspring, then a sibling may file. If there are no siblings, then the personal representative of the estate may bring the case to court.

When dealing with wrongful death cases, it is important to act quickly to obtain justice for the deceased. Missouri requires that wrongful death lawsuits be filed within three years of the date of the victim's death. After that time, the courts will most likely refuse to hear your case.

As with any legal claim, you have the right to seek legal representation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help to build a strong case and advocate for compensation on your behalf.

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