Missouri & Illinois Wrongful Death Attorneys
In many injury cases, the person who is injured is able to bring claim on their own behalf to seek compensation for their injuries. But what happens if, instead of an injury, a death occurs? Someone who has passed away can’t show up in court and advocate for themselves. If their death was caused by the carelessness or recklessness of someone, who acts as the voice for the deceased to ensure that justice is still found?
Who is eligible to bring a wrongful death claim?
In both Missouri and Illinois, wrongful death cases are guided by sets of laws that control who can bring the claims on behalf of the deceased, and what types of compensation is available to those people.
Missouri Wrongful Death Claims
In Missouri, there are several categories, or “classes”, of people who may bring a claim on behalf of a loved one who has passed away. The priority goes first to one of three groups of people: the deceased’s spouse, the deceased’s children, or the deceased’s father or mother. Both the parents and children may be adopted; the right to bring a claim is not limited to only “natural” children. Any one of the people in this category can initiate the claim or lawsuit, there doesn’t need to be agreement or consent between all members of the class.
If the deceased doesn’t have a spouse, children, or living parents at the time of their passing, the right to bring a claim falls to the next “class” of people. Under these circumstances, the deceased’s brother or sister, or any of the brother’s or sister’s descendants, has the right to bring the claim. A person who falls into this category is only able to bring a claim if there is no one that fits into the prior category of people.
Illinois Wrongful Death Claims
Illinois’s wrongful death laws are similar to Missouri. Illinois’s statutes permit a wrongful death claim to first be brought by the spouse and “next of kin” of the deceased. “Next of kin” includes the parents of the deceased and the children of the deceased, natural or adopted. If the person dies with no spouse and no next of kin, then the responsibility to bring the claim goes to whoever is appointed as the personal representative to administer the deceased’s estate.
What types of damages are compensable in a wrongful death claim?
Often, personal injury cases come down to what medical care and treatment the injured person needed. However, in the tragic circumstances where a person passes away because of a car crash or other unfortunate circumstances, there may not have been any medical care administered between the time of the incident and the death.
Categories of Wrongful Death Damages in Missouri
The categories of damages in Missouri wrongful death cases are set forth in statutes. The law states that anyone who brings a wrongful death claim is entitled to ask for compensation for the “pecuniary losses suffered by reason of the death”. In other words, the loss of monetary support that the deceased might have provided to the people bringing the claim. Plaintiffs are also entitled to request compensation for the reasonable value of the loss of companionship, comfort, support, guidance, and counsel of the deceased. The person bringing the claim can ask to be compensated for funeral expenses. Claimants are also allowed to seek compensation for any damages, such as pain and suffering, the deceased may have suffered between the time of injury and the time of death. However, the statute does not permit damages for grief or bereavement by reason of the death.
Categories of Wrongful Death Damages in Illinois.
Illinois also permits the recovery of “pecuniary”, or monetary, damages that result from the loss of the deceased. Claimants in Illinois are also permitted to seek compensation for “grief, sorrow, and mental suffering” to the surviving spouse and next of kin.
The Death of An Unborn Child
Missouri courts have long held that a cause of action exists for the death of a viable fetus. Under the law, a viable fetus is considered a “person” under the wrongful death statute. This means a natural parent is permitted to bring a wrongful death claim if their unborn child tragically passes away, but they survive injury. Illinois similarly recognizes an unborn fetus as a “person” and parents may recover damages for the death of their unborn child.
Why Choose Keane Law LLC for your Wrongful Death Case?
You might be tempted to call the first number you see on a billboard if someone you love passes away. Keane Law LLC will give your case the personal attention you deserve. We are not a billboard-and-tv-ad mill, churning out case after case. That approach makes sense for attorneys just looking to make money—who cares if the client is happy when the massive advertising machine will generate as many clients as you need? But Keane Law LLC views “success” in terms of client success. If you got the compensation you or your loved one deserves, we are happy. We are not going to toss your important case into a pile and survive on volume. If you want an attorney who actually cares about you and your matter, call us today for a free consultation.
What Our Clients Have To Say
The attorneys at Keane Law are committed to ensuring our clients’ voices are heard. Whether we are representing one client in a personal injury case or fighting for many in a class action, we always have their best interests in mind. But don’t take our word for it. Here are a few testimonials from some of our clients.