Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri?

When a loved one dies because of the negligence of others, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Although the deceased may leave several loved ones mourning, Missouri law provides that only one wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by the surviving family members. 

Missouri law also limits who can file a wrongful death lawsuit to family members that fall into one of three classes.  The three classes are numbered - class one through class three - and the lower class number is a closer relation to the deceased.  This is important because if there are any living family members in class one, people in classes two and three cannot sue.  Likewise, a class three family member cannot sue if there is a family member in class two. 

Class one family members include the deceased’s spouse, the deceased’s natural or adoptive parents, and the deceased’s natural or adopted children.

Class two family members include the deceased’s brothers or sisters, and the descendants of the deceased’s brothers or sisters. 

The third class of wrongful death plaintiff is a plaintiff ad litem.  If there are no class one or two members, then a plaintiff ad litem may be appointed by the court. 

As hard as it is after a loved one’s death, it is important for the deceased’s family members to act in a timely manner.  In most situations, wrongful death lawsuits must be brought within three years after the death.  

The lawyers at Wilkins Schneller Law have the experience in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits that you need by your side after an injury or death.  They approach wrongful death lawsuits with sensitivity and will help you work through your options after a loved one dies.