Wrongful death and personal injury claims are often mentioned in relation to one another because they are based off of the same legal principle: wrongdoers who cause physical injury to another through negligence, recklessness or intentional action should be responsible for paying the costs and losses resulting from their acts. But the key difference is that, in a personal injury action, it is usually the person who suffered the injury himself or herself who brings the claim, while in a wrongful death claim, the injured party has died from his or her injuries and others bring the wrongful death claim. Which raises the question, who can bring a wrongful death claim in Missouri?
The Order of Individuals Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim
Missouri state law sets out an order of individuals who can bring a wrongful death claim based on another’s wrongful death. What this means is that individuals within one class may bring a wrongful death claim, and if there are no eligible plaintiffs in that class, then the next class of individuals may bring a claim. Put more simply:
The first group of people who may bring a wrongful death claim are the spouse, parents, and any children or grandchildren of the deceased (If the grandchildren’s parents are deceased). This includes adoptive parents and children as well as illegitimate children.
If no one in the first group exists to bring a claim, then brothers and sisters of the deceased or their children if they can establish dependence on the deceased.
If no one in the first two groups exists, then the court can appoint a plaintiff ad litem to bring the claim instead.
What Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
Generally, the court can award the following types of damages to eligible plaintiffs in a successful wrongful death action in Missouri:
“The reasonable value of the services, consortium, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training, and support“ that the deceased would have provided the plaintiffs had he or she survived
The damages suffered by the deceased between the time of the injury and death, including pain and suffering and medical bills
The damages available in a wrongful death claim in Missouri can be quite substantial, especially where the plaintiff was relatively young and was providing for family members.
Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri
The Missouri wrongful death attorneys at The Law Store, located inside Walmart locations inside Joplin, Neosho, and Springfield are available days, nights and weekends to provide First Free Advice on your potential wrongful death or personal injury claim. Simply call to schedule an appointment, schedule an appointment online, or just drop by one of our locations to speak with an attorney regarding your situation.