The loss of a loved one is never easy, especially if they died as a result of the careless or irresponsible actions of another party. Our Springfield wrongful death lawyers believe that the surviving family members should be able to make the offending party pay for the unnecessary and untimely death of a loved one.
Wrongful death cases are civil actions that fall under the purview of personal injury law but have some unique differences. The major difference is that the victim is no longer able to speak on their own behalf, leaving the legal entanglements up to their loved ones.
Wrongful death is almost the equivalent of suing for the damages that an incident would have caused the victim had they survived, but the claimed damages often extend to the departed’s lost potential. Our Springfield wrongful death attorneys help surviving family members and loved ones claim damages for the financial support they would have received from this victim had they lived.
How Do Wrongful Death Cases Work?
In wrongful death cases, the claim needs to be filed by the survivors or a representative selected by the survivors. The people who could potentially file a wrongful death suit may be:
- Family members, including children and spouses. In some situations where no immediate family exists or is able to sue on behalf of the departed, other family members, such as siblings, grandparents, or cousins, may be legally able to file a wrongful death action.
- Dependents or life partners, or anyone who was under the care or guardianship of the departed.
- Anyone who financially suffers from the loss of the deceased victim. Even if they have no blood or familial ties to the departed, if they depended on them for their livelihood, they may be able to sue for wrongful death.
For Springfield and the state of Missouri, if there are no relatives or a personal representative of the departed person’s estate, then the court may appoint a “plaintiff ad litem” to pursue the wrongful death claim.
The damages that may be pursued in a wrongful death claim may extend to:
- Funeral and interment expenses
- Any medical expenses from the victim’s final injuries or illness
- The potential wages the departed would have reasonably earned had he or she survived
- The pain and suffering experienced by the departed prior to their death
- The value of the financial security provided by the deceased to their surviving loved ones
- The financial support provided to other individuals by the deceased through business relationships
One of the most important things to keep in mind with a wrongful death case is that although it may tie into personal injury law in several ways, wrongful death claims are handled according to statute. There are some very clear steps the claimants must follow for a wrongful death case in order to have a successful outcome. In some cases, the defendant will not only face the civil action from the surviving family or representative of the departed, but may face criminal charges levied by the state.
Contact a Springfield Wrongful Death Lawyer
In any wrongful death case, the right legal representation will make an incredible difference in the success of your claim. The attorneys at Douglas, Haun & Heidemann have been defending clients in Springfield and Bolivar, Mo., and the surrounding area for more than 100 years, since our firm’s founding in 1912. We have the experience necessary to navigate the statutes and state requirements to pursue a wrongful death claim successfully. Get in touch with our experts if you have any questions about wrongful death laws in Missouri or if you think you have a case and want to start reviewing the facts.