Losing a loved one to an accident in Missouri or Illinois, or due to the negligent actions of another person is a very difficult situation. You may not immediately think about a lawsuit, but it is an option depending on your relationship to the person who died. Under the law, some individuals can sue for the wrongful death of a loved one. Before you look into this option, make sure that you know whether or not you can bring this type of case to court.
State law states that you may bring a wrongful death case to court if you are an immediate family member of the person who died. This includes being the person’s spouse, parent or child. Grandchildren are also included in this. Legitimacy does not matter in the case of children and neither does adoption. As long as there is a legal relationship as a child or direct descendent, you can sue for wrongful death.
In the event that the person had no spouse or children and his or her parents are no longer living, then you may be able to make a claim if you are the person’s brother or sister. If the person has no living relatives of these close relations, then there is the option of a plaintiff ad litem who will sue on behalf of anyone who may be entitled to damages for the loss. The court will appoint this person.
Do note that only one case may go to court for the wrongful death of a person. That means if you are the spouse and you file a lawsuit, then the parents cannot do so. This information is for education and is not legal advice. Please contact attorney Andy Toennies at 618-530-6889 for more information or if you have further questions.