Fatal Car Accidents

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Posted by Christopher Combs on January 30, 2024

Fatal Car Accident Lawyer St. Louis, MO. Losing a friend or loved one in a car crash can be a truly devastating experience. Between depression, the absence of companionship or guidance, and survivor’s guilt, the emotional impact of the sudden death of a friend or family member in an auto accident is unmeasurable. Many families are also left with large medical bills, funeral costs, and other financial hardships resulting from the death of a loved one–and with their income no longer available due to their death, many St. Louis, MO families cannot handle these additional bills.

The experienced St. Louis, MO fatal car accident lawyers at Combs Waterkotte are here to help families grieving after the loss of a loved one due to another driver’s negligence. While we understand that nothing will ever replace the life of your loved one, we will fight for your maximum compensation and are unafraid of taking on even the biggest insurance companies. Our firm also values personal communication and compassion, and takes all our St. Louis, MO fatal car accident cases on a “no-win, no-fee” basis”, as we believe that no one should have to pay extra to receive fair compensation and top-notch legal counsel. Contact us either online or by calling (314) 900-HELP for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and legal discussion.

Filing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Following the death of a spouse or family member in a car accident, if that death was caused by someone else’s careless actions or negligence, the surviving parties are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who was responsible for the accident. If the negligent driver was behind the wheel in a commercial capacity (for instance, if they were driving on behalf of a company, or were a ride-share driver), you could also sue their employer as well.

In Missouri, wrongful death lawsuits are governed by Missouri Revised Statute 537.080. It seperates who can file a wrongful death suit into three classes:

  • Class 1 is the spouse, children, parents, or grandchildren of the deceased.
  • Class 2 consists of the siblings of the deceased, or their children. They can only file suit if the person who died did not have any members of Class 1 either still living or able to bring a wrongful death suit.
  • If no members of Classes 1 or 2 are able to bring a suit, Class 3 then applies, which allows the creation of what is called a plaintiff ad litem. This is a person appointed by the court who represents someone who is entitled to share some proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Unlike other personal injury cases in Missouri, where there is a five-year statute of limitations, a wrongful death case must be filed within three years from the death date of the person on behalf of whom the suit is being filed.

In a Missouri wrongful death lawsuit, plaintiffs can recover a wide variety of damages, including:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Medical bills incurred by the deceased
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of future income and/or benefits
  • Loss of emotional support, guidance, or instruction
  • Loss of familial companionship

Missouri has a three-year statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits, two years shorter than its statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits.

We Fight For Maximum Recovery and Closure

At Combs Waterkotte, we believe that St. Louis, MO wrongful death lawsuits should be handled with a blend of intelligent legal strategy and compassionate, personal care. Our firm gathers evidence, consults with experts, and aggressively pursues your claim in order to get you the justice and financial compensation you are entitled to. We also understand that losing a loved one is a difficult process, and that for many people re-living the accident that caused the death of a family member can bring back tragic memories. To this end, we offer our clients 24/7 access to their attorney in order to discuss their case and answer any questions they might have. We also maintain a wide network of mental health professionals that our clients can access, free of charge if need be.

Our firm offers free initial consultations to discuss St. Louis, MO fatal car accidents, so talk to us online or call (314) 900-HELP to speak with an attorney and see how Combs Waterkotte can help your family after a fatal car accident.