Wrongful Death Claims in St. Louis
Winning Your St. Louis Wrongful Death Claim
What Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Do For My Case?
What Can a St. Louis Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Do For My Case?
You only have one chance to make the person who ended your loved one’s life pay for what they have done and to receive monetary damages that alleviate your financial concerns for yourself and your family after the accident. To make sure you have the best chance of obtaining a full recovery, you need to find a skilled wrongful death attorney who has experience winning cases like yours.
There are many qualified wrongful death lawyers and law firms to choose from in St. Louis and the surrounding Missouri and Illinois areas. You will have to make the decision that is best for you and find the wrongful death lawyer you feel most comfortable with. There are numerous benefits of hiring a wrongful death lawyer.
Take the workload off of your plate. Rely on your wrongful death lawyer to handle all the administrative and other aspects of your case so you can focus on the things that matter to you. We have a fully staffed firm of legal professionals who can handle filing the proper paperwork, communicating with the defense and other parties involved, obtaining evidence to make your case and other clerical tasks.
Know the value of your claim. As an experienced attorney who has been handling cases like yours for more than two decades, your Burger Law wrongful death lawyer in St. Louis knows how to properly calculate the value of your claim. Without this experience, it is next to impossible to understand the monetary value of damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of support. Even when it comes to economic damages like medical bills and loss of income and benefits, your lawyer will make sure that every dollar is accounted for and that you and your family are demanding what your case is truly worth.
Make your case. This is what you hire your lawyer to do. A strong wrongful death attorney in St. Louis is prepared to go to any lengths to make sure you get what you and your family deserve. This includes collecting evidence; presenting an argument for negligence, fault, and damages; negotiating a settlement with the defense; and taking your case to trial in front of a jury of your peers if necessary. The litigation and trial experience of your wrongful death lawyer greatly increases your chances of success in your wrongful death suit.
Offer support and guidance. One of the most valuable things your lawyer can do for you is to simply be there for you and your family. We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time. You have lost someone you love suddenly and tragically, and now you have to deal with the legal process of your wrongful death suit. The St. Louis wrongful death attorneys of Burger Law take our responsibility of representing and counseling mourning families very seriously and we understand that sometimes what you need from us most is encouragement, a kind word, or a hand to hold. We are here for you. We can provide you with sound legal advice on your options and the best course of action to take and we can listen when you need to unload. The role of your wrongful death attorney is one we wear with honor.
When Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
When Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri?
Wrongful death cases have several special considerations. In most cases, a wrongful death claim can only be filed by a child, spouse or parent/guardian of a deceased individual, and if the claimant is successful they may receive restitution for their financial losses.
Wrongful death suits can be filed under a myriad of circumstances. As long as a person is killed due to negligence or an intentional criminal act, most courts will hear a wrongful death case. Wrongful death claims are often filed in the wake of deaths caused by:
- Fatal automobile accidents
- Defective or dangerous products
- Medical malpractice
- Occupational accidents
- Maritime and offshore accidents
- Criminal activity
Even if a person is found not guilty by a criminal court, they can still be held financially responsible in civil court if a family chooses to file a wrongful death suit. This is because the burden of proof is not as great in civil court since the jury there can award monetary damages but cannot levy criminal charges.
Who Can Be Held Liable For Wrongful Death?
Who Can Be Held Liable For Wrongful Death in St. Louis and Missouri?
Accidents do happen, but when they are avoidable, individuals and organizations can be held legally liable if they did not take reasonable steps to prevent the accident from occurring. Wrongful death cases are frequently governed by a legal principle known as negligence. Individuals and organizations that do not take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of others are said to be negligent if their actions or inaction result in an accident.
When Can I Sue a Company or Manufacturer for Wrongful Death?
When Can I Sue a Company or Manufacturer for Wrongful Death in St. Louis, Missouri?
If a loved one has been killed or diagnosed with a terminal illness after using a product, you need to establish a connection between their use of the product, their illness, and the company. Proving product liability requires the following pieces of evidence:
- Proof of purchase - copies of receipts or in workers' compensation cases, invoice records from your employer
- Injuries caused by the product - past and present medical records from a physician
- The product's defect - police and medical reports can prove that the accident was caused by the product's defect and are strong pieces of evidence in product liability claims
- Proper use - that you were using the product as intended and following the manufacturer's instructions when using it
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in?
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in St. Louis and Missouri?
Generally, only a family member can file a claim, but there are some exceptions. Missouri Revised Statute §537.080 lays out a series of certain groups of people who can file a wrongful death claim after someone's death. These groups are listed in order of preference. In other words, if someone from the first group exists and has the capacity to file the claim, then they must do so. It is only if no one from the first group is available that someone from the second group can file. Likewise, someone from the third category can only file a wrongful death claim if nobody else from the first two groups is able to do so.
The groups of people who may file a wrongful death claim in Missouri are:
- The spouse, parent, or child of the decedent
If the decedent has an able husband, wife, parent, or child, then they will have to file the wrongful death suit. If the decedent's children are deceased, then other direct descendants such as grandchildren may file.
- The siblings of the decedent
If the decedent has no living parents, spouses, children, or grandchildren, then their sibling can file a wrongful death claim. As in the first category, if the siblings to the decedent have passed away but they have direct descendants such as children or grandchildren, then the descendants of the decedent's sibling may file.
- A court-appointed plaintiff ad litem
If no family members are living or able to make the claim, Missouri courts may appoint a special individual to represent the estate of the decedent. This person must be requested by somebody who would be entitled to receive a share of the compensation awarded if they were to be successful in the wrongful death suit.
An experienced lawyer in St. Louis can help establish liability in your case, protect you and your family from the company's insurance agents, and recover a settlement for your damages in trial or with an out of court settlement.
How Is a Settlement Determined in a Wrongful Death Claim?
How Is a Settlement Determined in a St. Louis Wrongful Death Claim?
Settlements for wrongful death claims vary significantly, based on case-specific factors such as liability, the health of your loved one before an accident and other factors that determine a wrongful death settlement:
- Your loved one's age
- Pre-existing conditions
- Liability in the accident that caused your loved one's death
- Proof of the negligent party's fault
- The victim's future earning capacity/income at the time of death
- Medical bills that the victim incurred because of the negligent party
- Funeral and burial expenses that the victim's family had to pay for out-of-pocket
- Lost wages
While most wrongful death settlements are reached outside of court, some wrongful death cases end up going to trial. Burger Law's wrongful death attorneys are experienced trial lawyers who are not afraid to take the fight in front of a judge and jury if we have to.
Will a Wrongful Death Settlement Cover All of My Loved One's Lost Wages?
Will a Wrongful Death Settlement in St. Louis Cover All of My Loved One's Lost Wages?
Wrongful death settlements are designed to help the surviving family members of people killed by another person's negligence maintain the same quality of life that they had before the their loved one's death. While recovering compensation won't take away the pain of losing a family member, it can help offset expenses that the family has struggled with since losing their loved one. Lost wages in a wrongful death claim are the most commonly reported damages, pertains to any financial benefits the deceased contributed to their household income before their death including:
- Health insurance
- Retirement benefits
Can You Sue Someone's Estate for Wrongful Death?
Can You Sue Someone's Estate for Wrongful Death in Missouri?
When a person dies, all of the property and assets that they possessed while alive are listed under the deceased's estate. An estate is represented by the personal representative of the deceased as defined by Missouri Revised Statute § 473.110, most often, the victim's spouse, child, or parents. Personal representatives are responsible for allocating the deceased's estate to the correct parties, including those listed in the person's will, and handling claims against the deceased's estate from debt collectors, attorneys, and other parties.
If your family is struggling with the death of a family member caused by another person's negligence, and you are wondering, "Can I sue the estate of a deceased person for wrongful death?" The answer is yes, but there are rules for suing a person's estate. When suing someone's estate, there are limitations on who can sue for wrongful death, how long a person has to sue an estate for damages, and elements that need to be present when suing an estate for wrongful death.
The statute of limitations for suing an estate is different in every state. In Missouri, the time limit for suing a person's estate for wrongful death is within six months of the estate going into probate, according to Missouri Revised Statute § 473.360. Probate is the process that an estate goes through before dispersing a person's will. During the first six months of probate, claims against a person's estate are assessed and either approved or denied. When making a wrongful death claim against a person's estate, it's essential to have proof of:
- Your loved one's death (autopsy, police report, death certificate)
- The estate holder's responsibility for your family member's death (police report, medical report, witnesses)
- Your eligibility to sue for your loved one's wrongful death - a personal representative must be the victim's spouse, child, parent, or if none of these parties are available, the victim's sister or brother
- Damages that your family incurred because of your family member's death
If you are thinking about suing someone's estate for wrongful death, you are going to need a lawyer. Suing an estate for wrongful death requires extensive knowledge of Missouri's legal process, wrongful death laws, and experience negotiating damages. Without an attorney by your side, you could miss the time frame for filing a wrongful death claim, risk having your claim denied, or recovering fewer damages for your wrongful death claim in St. Louis.
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Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions
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Burger Law's Missouri wrongful death law firm based in St. Louis has a team of gifted litigators and trial lawyers with more than 70 years of combined experience practicing law and protecting the vulnerable and those who have experienced loss at the hands of others. We will fight to get you maximum compensation in any injury claim in Missouri, including the case types listed here. Click for more information.
Other Wrongful Death Resources
Other St. Louis Wrongful Death Resources
Our skilled wrongful death attorneys in St. Louis, MO serving all of Missouri and Illinois have the knowledge, resources and background to demand justice and full compensation for you and your family after the tragedy of losing a loved one to someone else's reckless behavior. You deserve a complete financial recovery for your St. Louis wrongful death case. While it will not undo the profound loss you have experienced, a financial recovery in your Missouri wrongful death case will allow you to honor the memory of your loved one and move forward as a family. Hire Burger Law's capable wrongful death lawyers to represent you in your claim and offer personal support and counsel during this difficult time so that you do not have to worry about paperwork or legal requirements while processing your loss.
Our MO wrongful death attorneys of Burger Law have decades of experience working on and winning wrongful death cases. We will answer your questions for free now at (314) 500-HURT. In addition, we have produced additional resources for individuals and families in St. Louis and throughout Missouri going through a wrongful death or personal injury claim. Check out some of these additional resources below.
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