As defined by Missouri law, a wrongful death case is a claim for damages made against either a negligent person or a company whose actions caused the death of another. Some of the leading causes of wrongful death in Boone County and Columbia are motor vehicle collisions, like motorcycles and tractor-trailers. Boone County, being the central hub in middle Missouri with Highway 63 and I-70, is very heavily traveled. Motor vehicle collisions are one of the leading causes of wrongful deaths in the area.
There are many unique aspects of Columbia wrongful death cases. Speak to a skilled wrongful death attorney at the A.W. Smith Law Firm to learn about the nuances of a personal injury case as well as your legal rights and options.
Wrongful death differs from other personal injury cases because with traditional injury cases the individual has been injured but has survived the act which caused the damages. In wrongful death cases, the injuries led to that person’s death. Not only is that one of the most significant factors, but it differs by who could bring a cause of action for wrongful death.
In traditional personal injury cases, the person who is injured usually files a lawsuit. In wrongful death cases, the decedent’s surviving family such as the spouse, children, parents, or other heirs as specified in Missouri Law are able to file a claim. Also, they look into the economic damages as it pertains to medical bills, and pain and suffering. Additionally, they look at the damages such as loss of companionship and loss of support. Those are what make wrongful death cases differ from their traditional personal injury cases.
Columbia wrongful death cases are settled in central Missouri. The statute of limitations in Missouri for wrongful death actions is three years. This means that the plaintiff has three years from the date of the death to file a lawsuit. If the claim is not filed within the deadline, they may be unable to recover compensation for damages.
Cases could be settled prior to the filing of the petition, which begins the litigation, or they could be settled at any time during the litigation process. As more information is gathered and the occurrences become more alike, at any varying junction of the litigation process, a wrongful death case could be settled.
The costs and benefits of settling a wrongful death case in court take into account the valuation the jury may give a case. Perhaps there may be more value given to it by a jury, but a person is taking a certain amount of uncertainty when they try to settle a case in court. The mark of a great litigator is the ability to not only present the wrongful death case to the jury but be able to maximize recovery for the deceased surviving heirs.
The cost and benefits of settling a wrongful death case out of court vary. Settling a wrongful death case out of court has many benefits, especially if they were able to settle it without a jury verdict. They are able to have a settlement amount without the uncertainty of a jury verdict.
A wrongful death attorney could significantly help the decedent’s surviving estate’s case. Since there are several unique aspects of Columbia wrongful death cases, it is best to reach out to a seasoned lawyer. An experienced attorney will know what is needed to have a successful case. They could conduct an independent investigation and collect evidence to prove their case.
Call the A.W. Smith Law Firm to discuss your legal options.