In a moment, your life can be turned upside down with the death of a loved one. Enduring the death of a mate or family member is overwhelming, and many times the survivors are at a total loss on how to move ahead. If that death was due to the negligence of another person, business, or government agency, Missouri law provides the family of a deceased to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to seek justice and financial compensation. The law acknowledges that the careless person's responsibility extends past the passing of the deceased. In no way will monetary compensation substitute the loss of a loved one, but it may ease the strain connected with the family's economic burdens. The McCollum Injury Law Firm has years of experience advocating for clients and holding defendant's liable for the deaths of their loved ones.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When a person dies from a negligent act, the surviving members of the victim's family may begin a wrongful death lawsuit. Under RSMo. § 537.080, negligent persons can be held liable under a theory of tort law as if "death had not ensued (occurred)." Wrongful death cases are filed when a person's death is caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of other persons or entities. In other words, a wrongful death suit is that it is similar to a personal injury case where the injured person is no longer able to bring the case of their behalf. Thus, the law provides that individual family members may file a wrongful death suit.
McCollum Injury Law Firm understands wrongful death cases. We are dedicated and experienced advocates that litigate cases involving injuries with a range of minor damages to fatalities. We have the resources and passion for providing you the best lawyer in the area. We combine that with a personal touch that gives you responsive and considerate legal representation.
A: Under the old common law, when someone was killed in an accident, their injuries died with them. There was no way to recover for the person's death once the individual died. As a result, families could not recover damages from negligent acts that caused the death of their loved ones'. The Missouri Legislature understood this as innately wrong and unconscionable. The state of Missouri then enacted a statutory right to file a lawsuit known as a wrongful death lawsuit. Under RSMo. § 537.080, negligent persons can be held liable under a theory of tort law as if "death had not ensued (occurred)." Wrongful death cases are filed when a person’s death is caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of other persons or entities.
A: Under RSMo. § 537.080, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by:
A: The particular sums that are recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit depend on the facts and circumstances of what happened. In every action brought under the section, RSMo. § 537.090, for wrongful death the trier of the facts may award such damages as the trier of the facts deems fair and just for the death and loss thus occasioned.
Pecuniary losses suffered because of the death include:
Importantly Missouri does not award damages for what the law terms "grief and bereavement" because of the death.
A: The I.R.S. Publication 4345 states that damages for claims concerning death are to be considered compensation for bodily injuries. As a result, the money received is generally not regarded as taxable income for the survivors. However, if punitive damages are part of the award you may be required to report that as income on your tax return. Finally, if the settlement terms required a nondisclosure clause, the I.R.S. can claim that it was negotiated for and make all of the award subject to taxation. You should avoid signing an agreement that includes a nondisclosure clause unless you obtain a deal from the defense that he or she will defend against the I.R.S. and indemnify you if you are required to pay taxes on the settlement funds.
A: Many different situations can arise in which wrongful death may result. Some of the most prevalent examples include the following:
If your loved one died because of the neglectful or careless acts of another person, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit. The attorneys at McCollum Injury Law Firm can review the events of what happened and speak to you about whether you have a legal basis to file a lawsuit.
A: Missouri has a stringent limitations periods within which wrongful death lawsuits must be filed. In Missouri RSMo. § 537.100, states, "every action instituted under section 537.080 shall be commenced within three years after the cause of action shall accrue." If you fail to file a lawsuit within that three year time period, you will forever be barred from filing a claim to recover damages. Getting help quickly after the death of a family member can help to protect evidence that may otherwise be lost. It also allows your lawyer time to conduct a thorough investigation so that the case might be stronger than if you wait.
Although engaging an experienced Kansas City wrongful death lawyer is important, if your loved one is killed from the negligence of another, it is also essential that you have resources to educate yourself.
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