Columbia, MO Wrongful Death Attorney
Settling a Wrongful Death Claim in Columbia, MO
When a loved one dies as the result of another person's or organization's negligent or wrongful act, you and your family are left to deal with the aftermath. You may be overwhelmed by grief, unsure of where to turn for help, and worried about how you will make ends meet. You need someone you can trust to guide you through the legal process of seeking compensation for your loss. Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C. is here to help you through this difficult time.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When someone dies as the result of another person's or organization's negligent or wrongful act, the victim's family may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
In a wrongful death claim, the victim's family can sue the at-fault party for monetary compensation for damages, such as:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred by the deceased person before their untimely passing
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional turmoil
- Loss of support
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of inheritance
- Punitive damages
The goal of a wrongful death claim is to help the victim's family recover compensation for their losses, as well as ensure that the at-fault party is held responsible for their actions.
To succeed in a wrongful death claim in Missouri, you typically need to prove several key elements:
- Duty of Care: You must establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. This duty of care can vary depending on the circumstances. For example, a doctor owes a duty of care to their patients, while a driver owes a duty of care to others on the road.
- Breach of Duty: You must show that the defendant breached their duty of care. This means they failed to act in a manner that a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances. It's essential to demonstrate that the defendant's actions or inactions fell below the accepted standard of care.
- Causation: You need to establish a direct link between the defendant's breach of duty and the death of the person. This means proving that the defendant's actions were the proximate cause of the death. In other words, the death would not have occurred but for the defendant's negligence or wrongful act.
- Death: Obviously, you must prove that a death occurred. This can be established through medical records, death certificates, and other evidence.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri?
In Missouri, a wrongful death claim can be filed by specific individuals who are designated as "plaintiffs" under the state's wrongful death statute. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to provide compensation to surviving family members and dependents when a person's death is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, default, or misconduct of another party.
Here are the key parties who can typically file a wrongful death claim in Missouri:
- Surviving Spouse: The surviving spouse of the deceased person is usually the first person with the right to file a wrongful death claim in Missouri. If there is a surviving spouse, they generally have the exclusive right to bring the claim within the first 90 days after the death.
- Children: If there is no surviving spouse, the deceased person's children may have the right to file a wrongful death claim. This includes biological children, adopted children, and potentially stepchildren who were financially dependent on the deceased.
- Parents: If the deceased person is a minor child, the parents may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Additionally, if the deceased person was an adult and had no surviving spouse or children, the parents may have the right to file a claim if they were financially dependent on the deceased.
- Personal Representative of the Estate: If there are no surviving spouses, children, or dependent parents, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate may file a wrongful death claim. This representative is typically named in the deceased person's will or appointed by the court.
- Siblings and Other Relatives: In some cases, when there are no surviving spouses, children, parents, or a personal representative, Missouri law may allow siblings, other relatives, or individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased person to file a wrongful death claim. However, the rules governing this can be complex, and it's advisable to consult with an attorney in such cases.
Our Columbia, MO wrongful death lawyer can help you file a claim for your loved one's estate if they died due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person or organization. We can help you seek compensation for your losses and ensure that the responsible party is held responsible for their actions.
“My husband was in a car accident, we called Aaron Sachs, and are very glad we did! First of all, they sent someone to our home to interview my husband, so he did not have to drive all the way to Springfield to their office while he was in pain.” - Former Client
“I was rear-ended by a non-insured driver. My car was totaled and I ended up having surgery on my shoulder. I was thrilled to get a settlement way larger than I could have dreamed.” - Former Client
We make sure that we are available to answer our clients’ questions, breaking down the complex legal jargon and using plain English. There is no “one size fits all” answer — your case needs and deserves individual attention, and this is what we are prepared to provide.
Our team has over 235 years of combined experience, handling over ten thousand personal injury cases. We are committed to professional excellence in every aspect of what we do and how we do it. We have over 65 employees with an exclusive focus on injury claims.
We strive to meet our clients where they are and provide the service they need. Suffering an injury is a difficult time in an individual’s life; you need representation that understands both the worries you may be feeling and the world you are now dealing with. Let us help ensure your rights are protected.