Wrongful Death Lawyer


When you are suffering the loss of a loved one, it’s hard to think straight or make a plan for what to do next – especially if you feel like your loved ones death was caused by someone else’s negligence. You may also fear that if you don’t take legal action, someone else could end up injured or even lose their life.

Sotiriou Wilmowski are skilled personal injury attorneys who understands that you may be navigating the hardest time in your life. If you believe your loved one’s death was due to the wrongful actions of someone else, contact our office for a free consultation. We are ready to help you evaluate the situation.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death case is a legal action pursued when an individual’s death is caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party. Essentially, it is a civil lawsuit filed by the surviving family members or beneficiaries of the deceased seeking compensation for their losses resulting from the death. Wrongful death claims are distinct from criminal charges, as they are focused on providing financial relief to the surviving loved ones rather than punishing the responsible party through imprisonment or fines.

In Missouri, as in many other states, wrongful death claims typically arise in various circumstances, such as car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, defective products, or even criminal acts. These claims aim to hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions and to provide financial support to the surviving family members who have suffered emotionally and financially due to the loss of their loved one.

Through a wrongful death claim, surviving family members can seek compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost wages and benefits, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering endured by the deceased before death.

How to Prove Liability for a Wrongful Death

Proving liability for a wrongful death in Missouri typically involves demonstrating that the defendant’s actions or negligence directly caused the death of the victim. Here are some key steps and factors involved in proving liability:

Establishing Duty of Care: The first step in proving liability is to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. This duty of care varies depending on the circumstances but generally means that the defendant had a legal obligation to act reasonably and avoid causing harm to others.

Demonstrating Breach of Duty: Once duty of care is established, the next step is to show that the defendant breached this duty through their actions or negligence. This could involve proving that the defendant acted recklessly, failed to follow safety regulations, or engaged in behavior that directly contributed to the death.

Causation: Causation is a crucial element in any wrongful death claim. It must be demonstrated that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the victim’s death. This requires establishing a clear link between the defendant’s actions and the fatal outcome.

Each case is different, particularly depending on what type of wrongful death action you are pursuing. It’s important to speak with a qualified attorney to discuss the details of your particular case, rather than rely on general information.

Causes of Wrongful Deaths

Wrongful deaths can occur in various situations, each with its own unique causes and contributing factors. Some common causes of wrongful deaths include:

  • Car Accidents: Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of wrongful deaths in Missouri and across the United States. These auto accidents can result from factors such as speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, reckless behavior, and road hazards.
  • Medical Malpractice: Wrongful deaths can occur due to medical errors, including misdiagnosis, surgical mistakes, medication errors, birth injuries, anesthesia errors, and failure to diagnose or treat a medical condition properly.
  • Workplace Accidents: Fatal workplace accidents can occur in various industries, including construction, manufacturing, transportation, and agriculture. These accidents may result from factors such as falls, equipment malfunctions, electrocutions, and exposure to hazardous substances.


  • Defective Products: Deaths caused by defective or dangerous products can result from design defects, manufacturing defects, or inadequate warnings or instructions. Defective products can include automobiles, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, household appliances, and children’s toys.
  • Dangerous Premises/Premises Liability: Property owners and managers have a duty to maintain safe premises for visitors and guests. Wrongful deaths can occur due to slip and fall accidents, inadequate security leading to assaults or homicides, swimming pool accidents, fires, and other hazardous conditions on the property.
  • Violent Crimes and Intentional Acts: Wrongful deaths can also result from intentional acts of violence, including murder, assault, battery, and domestic violence. In such cases, the responsible party may face both criminal charges and civil liability for the victim’s death.

These are only a few examples of common causes. It’s important to have a consultation with an experienced lawyer to talk about your situation and the facts surrounding your loved one’s death.

Types of Wrongful Death Claims

In Missouri, wrongful death claims encompass various situations where a person’s death is caused by another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. Common types of wrongful death claims in the state include those arising from car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, defective products, premises liability incidents, and intentional acts of violence. These claims may involve scenarios such as drunk driving accidents, medical errors, fatal workplace injuries, defective products, hazardous premises, and intentional acts like assault or domestic violence leading to death.

To pursue compensation for their losses, surviving family members often rely on the expertise of personal injury lawyers to navigate the legal complexities, identify liable parties, and seek justice on their behalf. By understanding the various types of wrongful death claims that can arise, individuals can take appropriate legal action to hold negligent parties accountable and obtain the compensation they deserve.

What Damages Can Be Recovered After a Wrongful Death?

In Missouri, surviving family members may be entitled to recover various types of damages in a wrongful death claim, aimed at compensating them for the losses and hardships resulting from the death of their loved one. These damages typically fall into several categories:

  1. Economic Damages: Economic damages are intended to compensate for the financial losses incurred by the surviving family members due to the death. This may include compensation for medical expenses incurred prior to death, funeral and burial expenses, and loss of the deceased’s future earnings and financial support. Calculating economic damages often involves assessing the deceased’s income, earning potential, and financial contributions to the family.
  2. Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages are meant to compensate for the intangible losses suffered by the surviving family members, such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. These damages aim to acknowledge the emotional toll of losing a loved one and the impact it has on the survivors’ quality of life.
  3. Punitive Damages: In certain cases involving egregious misconduct or intentional wrongdoing, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the responsible party and deter similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the surviving family members but rather to hold the defendant accountable for their actions and send a message that such conduct will not be tolerated.

Let us help you

As former insurance defense lawyers, personal injury attorneys Deme Sotiriou and Tom Wilmowski of Sotiriou Wilmowski pride themselves on using their inside knowledge of the insurance industry to obtain maximum value — and often more — for their clients.

How Can A Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

The process of seeking damages in a wrongful death claim requires the expertise of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can assess the circumstances of the case, quantify the losses suffered by the surviving family members, and advocate for fair compensation on their behalf.

By pursuing damages for economic and non-economic losses, as well as potentially punitive damages in cases of extreme misconduct, surviving family members can seek the financial relief.

If you believe your loved one’s death was due to the wrongful actions of someone else, contact our office for a free consultation. We know it’s hard to take the first step. Sotiriou Wilmowski will make sure that your situation is handled delicately and that your loved one gets the justice they deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Under the Missouri wrongful death statute, a wrongful death lawsuit can by filed by the parents, the spouse, or children (or their descendants). If the decedent doesn’t have a spouse or child, then the siblings or their descendants can file a suit. Or, if the decedent doesn’t have siblings either, the court can appoint a “plaintiff ad litem” to bring the claim.

How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

In Missouri, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is generally three years from the date of the deceased person‘s death. However, there may be exceptions or variations depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

What Can You Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?

In a wrongful death claim in Missouri, surviving family members may be entitled to recover various types of damages, including economic damages for medical and funeral expenses, loss of the deceased’s future income and financial support, as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress. Additionally, punitive damages may be available in cases involving extreme misconduct.

What Do You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Claim?

In a wrongful death claim, you need to prove that the death resulted from another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. This involves demonstrating that the defendant breached their duty of care, directly causing the death. Evidence must establish causation between the defendant’s actions and the fatal outcome, and damages, both economic and non-economic, must be quantified. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help navigate the legal process to ensure fair compensation for the surviving family members.

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