It is very difficult to lose a loved one. It can be even more upsetting to lose a close friend or family member as a result of carelessness. Wrongful death or fatality cases refer to those situations where someone was killed because of an automobile accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident, a fall on dangerous property, due to a defective consumer product, defective drug, workplace injury, or medical malpractice.

Whether your loved one was injured in Missouri or Illinois, there are very specific rules dealing with wrongful death cases. The rules tell us who can sue, when, and what harms and losses will be compensated. Such lawsuits are brought by immediate family members such as spouses, parents and children. Typically, an individual who has lost a family member or loved one to carelessness can recover the funeral expenses, medical bills, lost income and lost companionship.

Who can file a lawsuit?

Such lawsuits are brought by immediate family members such as spouses, parents and children, in that order. There is a hierarchy of who may bring these claims. A spouse has the ultimate right to bring a lawsuit for the death of a spouse. If there is no spouse, the lawsuit may be brought by the children or parents, if alive.

How long do you have to file the lawsuit?

In Missouri, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within three years from the date of death. In Illinois, the lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of death.

What harms and losses will you recover?

Much like in regular injury cases where a death does not occur, wrongful death lawsuits are designed to compensate the injured for the harms and losses suffered on account of the defendant’s wrongdoing. In a wrongful death case, the “injured” person is the family member who lost a loved one. Both “economic” and “noneconomic” damages are recoverable in wrongful death claims.

Economic damages include funeral expenses, medical bills and lost income. As the term “economic” implies, these damages are those that can actually be calculated to a specific number. Noneconomic damages are, opposed to economic damages, those that simply cannot be calculated. There are no words to describe the loss of a loved one. However, the law tries to help us recover for those severe emotional losses. An individual may recover noneconomic damages for things such as lost emotional support of the deceased family member, the loss of companionship, and the loss of a spousal relationship.

Wrongful death cases are very complex and require an attorney who specializes in injury claims. In order to recover, you must be able to show that your loved one’s death was the result of someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness. We will need to hire expert witnesses on your behalf to testify that the death was a direct cause of defendant’s actions. We will need experts to testify as to how much this loss has cost your both financially and emotionally. The damages can be quite high in these lawsuits so it is very common for the insurance company to fight tooth and nail to avoid having to pay. You will need someone on your side who not only knows the law but is willing to fight just as hard for you.

As St. Louis injury attorneys, we handle Missouri and Illinois wrongful death cases. We handle death and fatality cases from St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles, St. Peters, O’Fallon, and other surround areas. We also handle such cases in the Metro-East, Illinois and Southern Illinois. If you would like to talk to us about a potential claim, please Contact our St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney or call (800) 517-0602.