Can a wrongful death suit help your family recover from a loss?

Losing a loved one through a tragic accident can leave you struggling financially and emotionally. Only social support, counseling and time will help as you grieve an unexpected loss, but your emotional response isn't the only complication that a sudden death can cause.

You will also have to deal with the loss of income of your deceased loved one, expenses such as medical and funeral costs, and the need to start filling the role your loved one played around the house, possibly by doing more childcare, cooking or housework.

While a wrongful death lawsuit does nothing to stave off the emotional consequences of a sudden and tragic loss for your family, it can help protect you from the financial implications of a death that resulted from someone's actions or negligence.

Who has the right to bring a wrongful death suit?

There are only certain situations where people can bring wrongful death claims and only certain people who have the right to do so. Typically, only those who are financially dependent on the deceased or who have a direct relationship with them can bring such a lawsuit.

Under Missouri law, those with the priority right to file a wrongful death lawsuit include spouses, children and grandchildren. Parents can also bring a claim, and siblings have a right if there are no closer family members.

Additionally, there will need to be some evidence that proves that the other party caused the death, possibly through wrongful actions or negligence. The person or people bringing the suit typically need to take action within three years of the date of death.

What kind of compensation can you seek?

The most common forms of compensation people seek with a wrongful death claim typically reflect their real-world financial losses related to the death: medical costs incurred prior to their loved one's death, funeral expenses, lost wages and the reasonable value of the deceased party's contributions to their household and family. It's also possible to seek up to $350,000 in compensation for the pain and suffering of your loved one.

Considering a lawsuit can be a way for your family to recover in a practical sense after a death and may give you the resources to help you better process the emotional and social consequences of your loss.

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