Southern Missouri Wrongful Death Attorney

person who is holding a loved one's hand in the hospital and needs a wrongful death lawyer in southern missouri

Have you recently lost someone you love because of the wrongful acts of another party? If so, Missouri gives you the right to file a wrongful death claim against the people to blame for this tragedy. While nothing can undo the hurt and trauma you and your family have experienced, a successful claim can provide you with both the financial security you deserve and the sense of justice that comes from holding the responsible parties accountable for what they’ve cost you.

Let the Southern Missouri wrongful death lawyers with Privette Law Office be your ally during this difficult time. We can shoulder the work of your case on your behalf, from investigating the fatal incident to negotiating with insurers for an out-of-court settlement to representing you at trial as necessary – all without charging you an upfront fee for our work. While we handle your case, you can focus instead on putting your life back together.

Contact us today to get started with a free consultation, and let us honor your loved one’s memory through our commitment to you.

What Is a Wrongful Death?

Missouri Revised Statutes Section 537.080​ defines a wrongful death as one resulting from “any act, conduct, occurrence, transaction, or circumstance which, if death had not ensued, would have entitled such person to recover damages.” In plain English, this means that if someone would have been able to file a lawsuit against another party had they lived, their survivors can instead file a wrongful death claim against that party.

Here are some hypothetical examples of fatal incidents that could give rise to a wrongful death claim:

  • A driver runs a red light and collides with another vehicle, causing the death of a passenger in the vehicle they hit. The deceased passenger’s family can file a wrongful death claim against the driver who ran the red light.
  • A patient dies when a surgeon makes a critical mistake during a routine surgical procedure. The surgeon fails to follow established medical protocols, leading to complications that result in the patient’s death. This situation could lead to a wrongful death claim filed by the patient’s family against the surgeon and perhaps even the medical facility.
  • A consumer is fatally electrocuted while using a clothes dryer that has a faulty wiring issue, which the manufacturer failed to address or warn consumers about. The deceased’s family could file a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer that put an unsafe product on the market.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Missouri law stipulates who may file a wrongful death lawsuit, prioritizing the deceased’s closest relatives. Initially, the lawsuit can be filed by the deceased’s spouse, children, or surviving lineal descendants of deceased children. If the deceased has no surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren, the right to sue passes to the parents of the deceased. In the absence of these immediate family members, siblings or their descendants are then eligible to file.

However, if there are no qualifying relatives, the court can appoint a plaintiff ad litem to bring the suit on behalf of anyone entitled to share in the proceeds of the action. This structured priority ensures that those closest to the deceased have the first right to seek justice and compensation for their loss.

What Compensation Is Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Missouri Revised Statutes Section 537.090 specifies that a wrongful death lawsuit allows for the recovery of several types of damages, reflecting the economic and non-economic effects of the loss, including the following:

  • Pecuniary Losses: Compensation for the financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family over a lifetime
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: Costs associated with funeral services and burial
  • Loss of Consortium and Companionship: Compensation for the loss of the love, companionship, comfort, guidance, and support the deceased would have provided to family members
  • Value of Services Lost: The reasonable value of the services, instruction, guidance, counsel, training, and support the deceased would have provided
  • Pain and Suffering of the Deceased: Conscious discomfort and emotional turmoil the deceased may have suffered from the time of injury until the time of death
  • Expenses for Care, Treatment, and Hospitalization: Related to the final injury or illness of the deceased

Several different factors can influence the amount of damages awarded in a wrongful death claim, including the deceased’s age and health at the time of death, as well as the nature of their relationship with the claimants.

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Missouri gives you three years from the date of the deceased’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This statute of limitations applies regardless of the cause of death, including cases involving medical malpractice, where the standard statute of limitations is two years. It’s important to note there are certain exceptions to this rule, such as the discovery rule, which can affect the start date of this three-year period based on when the cause of death was discovered or should have been reasonably discovered.

How a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Missouri Can Help You

The aftermath of a sudden loss is a difficult time. You deserve the time and space to focus on your family and mourn your loved one, yet at the same time, you have a limited time in which to pursue fair compensation effectively. An experienced wrongful death lawyer in Southern Missouri can help you by shouldering the legal burden on your behalf. Moreover, their skill and experience in handling such claims may give you a better chance to obtain the money you deserve.

The team at Privette Law Office can help you by:

  • Thoroughly investigating the incident that led to your loved one’s death, recovering critical evidence that someone else was at fault
  • Calculating the fair value of what you’ve suffered, taking into account both easily identifiable costs like medical expenses and more subjective ones like the value of the household services and affection your loved one provided
  • Identifying sources of compensation, including relevant insurance policies
  • Filing demand letters with liable parties and negotiating aggressively for an out-of-court settlement
  • Taking your case to trial and representing you in court if liable parties will not make you a fair offer

Contact Our Experienced Southern Missouri Wrongful Death Attorney

The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin work on your claim. Reach out to Privette Law Office today for a free consultation with a Southern Missouri wrongful death attorney, and let’s demand justice and accountability for what you’ve suffered.