Wrongful Death Attorneys in St. Louis
Shock and fearful panic is the only way to describe what it feels like to suddenly lose a loved one. How to pay for the funeral? What arrangements need to be made for those left behind? How do I protect my family’s rights? Will the Defendant be held Accountable? How can we prevent this from happening to others? Wolfgram Law is the only call you need to make to have your questions answered. Wolfgram Law will carry the burden of the daily details, comforting you by taking action and leaving you and your family time and space to grieve.
We recommend speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer to file a wrongful death claim as soon as possible following the tragedy, especially before signing any complicated insurance documents — you could be signing away important rights.
While you take the time you need to grieve, we can get to work for you. We will get to the bottom of why the death occurred and who is legally responsible for the incident. Once you finally receive what you are owed, you can begin to move on from your loss.
What is Considered a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is defined as a death that has been caused by the fault of another party. Wrongful deaths are usually due to negligence or misconduct. Some examples include deaths caused by:
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Car accidents
- Semi truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Boat accidents
- Plane crashes
- Medical malpractice
- Failing to diagnose a fatal disease
- Dangerous prescription medication
- Unsafe work conditions
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
- Criminally negligent behavior
- Inadequate warnings, or failed products or parts
- Unreliable structure or building
In Missouri, the wrongful death statute of limitations is three years. This means that a Missouri wrongful death petition must be on file with the court within three years from the date of the relative’s death. For more information, read our blog “The Missouri Wrongful Death Statute – When A Loved One is Taken Too Soon”
Damages Awarded for Wrongful Deaths in St. Louis
A personal injury attorney will seek compensation for the death of a loved one in the form of pecuniary loss, which is out of pocket money loss directly related to the injury and death, and for non-monetary items that the surviving family members were deprived of due to the death.
Examples of damages that can be owed are:
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost earnings for support of a child or spouse
- Pain, suffering, or mental anguish suffered by survivors of the deceased
- Family services/guidance/counsel
- Punitive damages – In certain circumstances, a jury may award punitive damages when your loved one’s wrongful death was caused by a willful act such as accidents caused by a drunk driver or a driver that was drag racing. Seeking punitive damages intends to punish the wrongdoers for their horrible conduct and prevent them from harming others in the future.
Factors considered in determining pecuniary losses in a wrongful death case include the age, health, condition, life expectancy, intelligence, character, and earning capacity of the deceased.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
If multiple individuals are pursuing a wrongful death claim against a defendant, their cases must be brought together as one — only one legal action may be brought against a defendant for the wrongful death of a person.
First in line to file a claim is:
- Spouse, children, or grandchildren of the deceased (natural or adopted)
- Parent of the deceased (natural or adoptive)
If the deceased person has no surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents:
- Siblings of the deceased or their descendants
If there are no surviving siblings or descendants:
- The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate
If there is no personal representative:
- Court appointed “plaintiff ad litem”
Contact Our St. Louis Wrongful Death Lawyers
Hiring a personal injury attorney experienced in wrongful death is essential to get adequate compensation in a claim. The responsible party needs to be held accountable for their actions and/or negligence. Contact the compassionate lawyers at Wolfgram Law for a free consultation.