Helping Surviving Family Members Recover Compensation for the Loss of a Loved One
Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience, and lawsuits that arise from fatal incidents are never easy to go through. Unfortunately, family members who are in mourning may be required to engage in a contentious legal battle in order to recover compensation. Thankfully for survivors, the St. Louis wrongful death lawyers of Kilo Flynn are available to represent family members and other loved ones of people who have lost their lives in preventable accidents.
Wrongful death is a highly complex area of law, and cases involving fatal accidents differ in several important ways from those involving “simple” personal injury. Below is some information about wrongful death litigation in Missouri. For more information, call our office today.
A Fatal Accident Could Result in Both Civil and Criminal Liability
It is important to distinguish between the criminal and civil legal actions that could arise from an accidental death or intentional killing.
- Criminal – The State will typically bring a criminal action against the individual(s) or company believed to have caused the death of the individual. For example, such as a case where a drunk driver kills an innocent pedestrian or motorist. The result of the criminal lawsuit could be that the party at fault go to jail or pay a penalty for their actions.
- Civil – The family of the deceased individual can bring a civil action against the individual(s) or company believed to have caused the death. If the family bringing the civil action prevails, they are typically awarded damages in the form of money.
Civil cases do not follow the same standard of proof as in criminal cases. Guilt in a criminal trial typically must be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt,” whereas the standard of proof for recovery for wrongful death in a civil case requires the plaintiff(s) – the person or persons who bring the suit – to demonstrate liability by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is why it can be possible for an individual to be held liable in a civil case even if the party responsible for the death is found not-guilty in the criminal case.
Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims can come about in a number of situations. Generally speaking, when a person is killed and the death is a result of another’s actions (or inactions), then the surviving members of the deceased may sue for wrongful death. Examples include (but are not limited to):
- Medical malpractice resulting in a patient’s death
- Dangerous and defective products and machinery
- Pedestrians struck by automobiles
- Exposure to toxic substances or hazardous conditions
- Criminal or negligent behavior (i.e. drunk driving)
- Automobile or airplane accidents
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
As family members are painfully aware, it is impossible for a court to bring a loved one back. As a result, the law provides for recovery of monetary damages to help make families whole for their loss. These damages can include loss of support (parental or spousal), loss of prospective inheritance, pain and suffering, medical bills, and certain other losses authorized by the law. In determining the total damages awarded, the court will look at a number of factors such as the deceased’s age, job or occupation, and any other relevant circumstances at the time of death.
Call a St. Louis Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you have lost a loved one due to an accident or injury that was caused by another’s actions (or failure to act), you may be able to bring a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. Companies can be found liable for a wrongful death caused by their employees as well. Although it may be tempting to accept an offer from a liability insurance company for your losses, it is critical that the monetary damages paid adequately reflect all of losses incurred and the pain suffered as a result of the loss of your loved one.
Contact Kilo Flynn today to discuss your wrongful death claim. Our attorneys are patient, understanding, and will fight to get you the recovery you deserve for your loss. The attorneys at Kilo Flynn represent clients throughout the area, including the City of St. Louis, and the surrounding Missouri counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin and Crawford; and the Illinois counties of Madison, St. Clair and Monroe, to name a few. Call us today for a free consultation. Call today 314-647-8910.