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Columbia, MO Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Wrongful death claims are heartbreaking for family members who must relive how a loved one died because someone else was negligent. These deaths are invariably shocking because they are unexpected.

Wrongful death claims are possible if the decedent could have filed a personal injury claim had they been injured instead of killed. Gathering evidence to prove negligence can take a while, and death may not immediately follow the injuries leading to it. That is why state law gives you time to consult a wrongful attorney. The time you have to file a claim is the Columbia, MO wrongful death statute of limitations. The attorneys at AW Smith Law will confer with you at no charge to explain how we can help with your case.

Who is Entitled to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

There is a hierarchy for filing a wrongful death claim, and only one claim can be filed against one defendant. According to the Missouri Revisor of Statutes § 537.080, a valid spouse generally assumes the role of plaintiff in a wrongful death claim; however if there is no spouse, or a spouse is too distraught to file, the hierarchy consists of:

  • The decedent’s children or if a child is deceased, their lineal descendants, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the decedent, whether the children or descendants are biologically related, adopted, legitimate or not born of the marriage
  • The parents of the decedent have the same right to file a wrongful death lawsuit as a spouse or child when they choose not to, and said parents can be natural or adoptive
  • If the decedent has no spouse or children and the parents are deceased, the decedent’s siblings can file a wrongful death suit, as can their lineal descendants if they can establish their right to do so under state law
  • If there are no siblings or their lineal descendants, the court can name a plaintiff ad litem after persons entitled to share in a damages award apply to the court to appoint a representative, who may be required to post a bond

Prior to a wrongful death action, the attorneys at AW Smith Law will negotiate with the insurer representing the party who caused the death. Our lawyers pinpoint exactly how much a claim is worth, and we do not settle for offers that diminish what a loved one’s life and death are worth. We head to court in Columbia within the wrongful death statute of limitations to win a respectable damages award if settlement talks break down.

State Statute of Limitations

R.S.Mo. § 537.100 permits people eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit three years from the time of death to bring the action to court. If the defendant leaves the state or cannot be found and served papers, the time absent does not count toward the statute of limitations. Our attorneys work with many clients on a contingency basis and offer free consultations to reduce the financial stress losing a breadwinner imposes on a family. We can discuss how a wrongful death has impacted your family, how we can negotiate with an insurer or make sure your case is filed within the statute of limitations in Columbia, and how winning a suitable amount for you can stabilize your future.

The Columbia Statute of Limitations Restricts Filing

When a loved one is a parent or spouse and provides for their family financially, the emotional trauma of losing that person suddenly is compounded by losing their contributions for shelter, food, and other necessities. The pressure mounts because there is a limited time to recoup these losses from the defendant.

The Columbia, MO statute of limitations ensures that the threat of a lawsuit does not hang over a defendant’s head indefinitely, and it recognizes that evidence and witness testimony disappear over time. The attorneys at AW Smith Law file claims expediently and routinely win settlements and awards to pay for a loved one’s final expenses, including medical care, and for what the family would now do without, including the decedent’s lost wages, future wages, and having to live without your family member. Call now for your free consultation.