St. Louis Wrongful Death LawyerRequest Free Consultation
When someone dies through the negligent act of another, a St. Louis wrongful death claim can result. In this type of case, the personal representative of the estate of a deceased person is authorized to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the person’s death. A St. Louis wrongful death lawyer can help you bring forward a case from any type of personal injury including causes from medical malpractice, car accidents, construction accidents, truck accidents and many more.
The death of a family member is a profound and horrible event. Lives change instantly and you are left trying to cope with the physical pain and sorrow caused by a wrongful death as well as the worries over medical bills, funeral bills, and other financial obligations. Our St. Louis wrongful death attorneys understand that while money alone cannot relieve your pain and suffering or restore your loss, the law provides a remedy.
We assist our clients with basic legal issues that arise after a death and how important it is that the wrongful death action be aggressively prosecuted so that a full financial recovery can be obtained.
If you lost a loved one, please contact a St. Louis personal injury lawyer from our firm for a free consultation.
Get Compassionate Representation from Our Wrongful Death Lawyers
Put Our Expertise to Work
At Miller & Hine Attorneys at Law, our compassionate wrongful death lawyers understand the devastating toll the loss of a beloved family member takes on those left behind. We also understand how financial harm from the loss can add to the layers of grief and anguish you experience. Once our team puts their over 50 years of combined experience behind you in representing your family’s best interests, we can greatly maximize your chances of gaining ample compensation. Our strong local reputation in St. Louis and experienced legal team will work on your behalf as we:
- Investigate all aspects of the injury that caused the wrongful death
- Identify the liable party and the appropriate insurance company
- Draft a demand letter and negotiate strongly on your behalf for the best possible settlement out of court
- Defend your rights in courtroom litigation if we can’t reach an acceptable settlement agreement through out-of-court negotiations
Our team achieves positive results for our clients even in the most complex legal cases. We treat our clients like family and pull out all the stops to achieve the most favorable outcomes.
No one should have to face this type of preventable loss alone. A successful wrongful death claim can help you and your family achieve a sense of justice as well as relief from undue financial burdens.
“From beginning to end Jason explained everything in a clear and compassionate way. He answered any and all questions and put my mind at ease. I can’t imagine navigating through this trying time without him.”
– David T. Via Google.
View more client testimonials here.
Meet Our Attorney
Introducing Jeff Hine, a seasoned attorney dedicated to seeking justice for those affected by wrongful death. A distinguished graduate of the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University School of Law, Jeff’s commitment to justice is backed by his exceptional trial record, Jeff was honored with the Lon O. Hocker Trial Lawyer Award by the Missouri Bar Foundation in 1993. His relentless advocacy for clients extends beyond the courtroom, as he tirelessly fights for rightful compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of others.
St Louis Wrongful Death Quick Links and FAQs
- Why Choose Our St. Louis Wrongful Death Lawyers
- How Can An Experienced St. Louis Wrongful Death Attorney Help Me?
- What Is a Wrongful Death, and Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in St. Louis?
- What Compensation is Recoverable Through a St. Louis Wrongful Death Claim?
- Who Can Be Liable for Wrongful Death?
- How to Prove Negligence in a St. Louis Wrongful Death Claim
- Will I Have to Go to Court for My Wrongful Death Claim?
- The Statue of Limitations For Wrongful Death Claims in Missouri
- Wrongful Death Cases vs. Criminal Homicide Cases
- How to Prepare for a St. Louis Wrongful Death Case
- Common Causes of Wrongful Death in St. Louis
- Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney in St. Louis, MO
How Can An Experienced St. Louis Wrongful Death Attorney Help Me?
Finding out that a loved one was killed in an accident due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing can be overwhelming. It can be challenging to piece together whose fault it was and why it happened, especially while you are grieving the loss of a family member.
If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death accident in St. Louis, it is important to hire an experienced St. Louis wrongful death attorney to assist you with navigating the legal process at this extremely difficult time. Here are some reasons why:
An experienced wrongful death lawyer will think clearly and objectively while focusing on the law while you and your family are rightfully consumed with grief.
Assessing the Value of Your Claim
The right St. Louis wrongful death attorney will know how to assess the value of your wrongful death claim correctly. This includes accounting for often overlooked non-economic damages, such as your loved one’s final medical expenses and their pain and suffering prior to death.
Time, Money, and Effort
Succeeding in a wrongful death suit can take a great deal of time, money, and effort, and even more so when you are pursuing the case without the assistance of a qualified wrongful death lawyer.
Knowledge and Understanding
An experienced St. Louis wrongful death lawyer will have in-depth knowledge of Missouri wrongful death laws and understand the elements that must be demonstrated to hold the wrongdoers fully accountable for your loved one’s death.
Skill and Expertise at Trial
Not every St. Louis wrongful death case goes to trial. However, if your case must go to trial, you will need the skill and expertise of an experienced trial lawyer to advocate on your behalf and win a favorable judgment.
What Is a Wrongful Death, and Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in St. Louis?
As mentioned above, wrongful death can essentially be explained as any death resulting from an act or circumstance that, had they lived, would entitle the victim to recover damages through a St. Louis personal injury claim. In other words, a wrongful death claim can be brought against anyone whose negligence or wrongdoing resulted in someone’s death.
A wrongful death claim must be filed by someone on behalf of the deceased person. Individuals entitled to file a wrongful death claim on a deceased person’s behalf in Missouri are as follows:
- Children or their descendants
- Siblings or their descendants
If none of these individuals has survived the decedent, anyone entitled to benefit from the proceeds of the wrongful death claim may request that the court appoint a “plaintiff ad litem” to bring the wrongful death claim on their behalf.
What Compensation is Recoverable Through a St. Louis Wrongful Death Claim?
Although no amount of money will ever replace your loved one, a monetary settlement can help ease the financial burden on your family. The settlement may include compensation for:
- Loss of the support and services of the deceased person
- Loss of the deceased person’s companionship, protection, instruction, and guidance
- The deceased person’s final medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The deceased person’s lost wages, benefits, and income from the date of their injury to the date of their death
- The value of the income and benefits the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to earn had they lived
Our St. Louis wrongful death lawyers understand how important it is for a wrongful death action to be tenaciously prosecuted so that the financial burden of the loss of your loved one is shifted from you and your family to those responsible for your loved one’s death.
Who Can Be Liable for Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death results from negligence, reckless behavior, or willful wrongdoing on the part of one person or entity when it results in the death of someone else. Some common defendants in wrongful death suit include:
- Negligent, reckless, or intoxicated drivers
- Product manufacturers
- Truck manufacturers
- Medical providers
- Violent offenders
Whether an individual, medical provider, employer, manufacturer, or business causes a death, if an act of negligence or reckless disregard for potential harm results in a death, the court holds the offender liable for the resulting damages to family members left behind.
How to Prove Negligence in a St. Louis Wrongful Death Claim
As in personal injury cases, proving negligence in a wrongful death claim requires showing that the defendant owed a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent injury, such as a driver’s duty to obey traffic signals or a doctor’s special duty to treat a patient at the industry-accepted level of care. Proving negligence means showing that the defendant is liable by demonstrating the following legal points:
- That the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased and others to prevent harm
- That they breached this duty through an act of negligence, recklessness, or purposeful wrongdoing
- That the breach of that duty directly caused the injury and death of the deceased family member
- That the death has caused real financial losses for the family members as well as grief and anguish
Once a St. Louis wrongful death attorney can clearly demonstrate negligence on the part of the defendant they can draft a strong demand letter to the appropriate insurance company to seek an ample settlement as compensation and justice for those left behind.
Will I Have to Go to Court for My Wrongful Death Claim?
The majority of wrongful death claims settle out of court. Some estimates show over 95% of personal injury and wrongful death claims never see courtroom litigation but instead settle through negotiations outside of court.
An experienced wrongful death attorney in St. Louis can maximize your family’s chances of achieving an ample settlement without requiring a judge and jury. Only if the appropriate insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith or fails to present an offer will your attorney proceed to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Missouri. Sometimes a judge will send both parties to mediation to further attempt a settlement before taking the decision to a jury. While family members of wrongful death victims may have to wait longer for a resolution in cases that require a lawsuit in court, jury awards tend to be larger than settlement offers.
The Statute of Limitations For Wrongful Death Claims in St. Louis
The wrongful death attorneys at Miller & Hine know that when you lose someone you care about in a catastrophic accident, the furthest thing from your mind at the time is filing a lawsuit. Unfortunately, your timeframe to file a Missouri wrongful death claim is limited.
If your loved one was killed because of another person’s negligence, you must act quickly to file a claim on their behalf. In Missouri, a wrongful death lawsuit must generally be filed within three years of the date of their death.
This deadline is referred to as the statute of limitations. If a wrongful death lawsuit is not filed before this deadline, it may be barred from ever being filed.
Wrongful Death Cases vs. Criminal Homicide Cases
Success in a wrongful death case, like in other civil cases, relates solely to the amount of monetary compensation the defendant is ordered to pay to the deceased person’s family or estate. On the other hand, success in a criminal homicide case relates to the accused being found guilty of homicide and the amount of prison time, probation, fines, and other penalties they receive for the conviction.
Furthermore, in criminal cases, the state or federal government has the burden of proving that the accused is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”—the highest legal standard of proof. But, in civil cases, the plaintiff must only establish the defendant is at fault for the death by “a preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that the defendant is more likely than not responsible for the death.
It is possible for a person’s death to give rise to both a civil case and a wrongful death case. In other words, a criminal homicide case being prosecuted against a wrongdoer does not preclude you from pursuing a wrongful death claim against the same defendant, or vice versa.
How to Prepare for a St. Louis Wrongful Death Case
If your loved one died as the result of negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing, it’s important to prepare for a wrongful death suit and increase your chances of recovering compensation by taking the following steps:
- Keep all medical bills from any accident-related treatments before the death
- Keep all bills for funeral and burial expenses
- Obtain any accident or incident reports associated with your loved one’s death
- Keep a journal during the days, weeks, and months after the death to chronicle all the ways the loss impacts the family both emotionally, financially, and through the loss of their regular services to the family and home
- Provide evidence of the deceased family member’s normal income to calculate the total amount they would have earned in the remainder of their working years as well as what would have been added to their retirement benefits
- Provide evidence of loss of health insurance benefits if appropriate
- Gather all documents and hire an experienced St. Louis wrongful death lawyer to represent your family’s best interests throughout the legal process ahead
You know when your loved one was lost due to the fault of another party because of a preventable accident. By preparing as soon as possible for a wrongful death claim, you can increase your chances of obtaining an ample settlement.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in St. Louis
Just as in claims of personal injuries that don’t result in death, wrongful death claims stem from negligence or wrongdoing from one party that causes harm to another—in wrongful death lawsuits, the harm results in death to the victim and financial damages to family members left behind. Common causes of wrongful death claims in St. Louis include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Defective product injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Intentional violent attacks
Liability in wrongful death cases is expressed through monetary compensation in civil cases with or without a simultaneous charge in a separate criminal investigation. Defendants found liable in wrongful death cases must provide compensation for family members—typically paid through their car insurance, property insurance, liability insurance, or medical malpractice insurance. In rare instances, a defendant in a wrongful death case may be held personal responsible for providing financial compensation to family members.
What Our Customers Say About Us
“I was very pleased with the representation I received from Jason and his firm. He responded promptly to my inquiries, was very professional, and helped me to achieve a good result with my claim. I would highly recommend his services.” – Hilary L.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Wrongful Death Attorney
The law governing wrongful death claims in Missouri is complex. Our St. Louis wrongful death attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to build a solid case against all negligent parties.
If you have lost a loved one due to circumstances caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, please call Miller & Hine at (314) 413-2053, or visit our contact page to schedule a free case evaluation.
If you are concerned about how much it will cost to hire us to represent you and your family, don’t be. We do not charge any attorney fee unless we win your case.
We serve all of St Louis County, including:
Central West End, Soulard, Lafayette Square, Downtown, The Hill, Benton Park, Old North, Tower Grove South, Shaw, St. Louis Hills, Skinker DeBaliviere, The Ville, Compton Heights, Forest Park Southeast, Carondelet, Lindenwood Park, Southwest Garden, Tower Grove East, Grand Center, Jeff-Vander-Lou, Hi-Pointe, Franz Park, St. Louis Place, Downtown West, Bevo Mill, Gravois Park, Benton Park West, Botanical Heights, DeBaliviere Place, Clayton-Tamm, Princeton Heights, McKinley Heights, The Gate District, Greater Ville, Holly Hills, Northampton, Wydown Skinker, Ellendale, Clifton Heights, The Southampton, Marine Villa, Walnut Park East, Walnut Park West, Wells-Goodfellow, Kings Oak, Carr Square, North Riverfront, LaSalle Park, Fox Park