A wrongful death suit is filed in Missouri when a person dies due to the negligence of another. Sometimes, the negligent act occurs alongside illegal activity. For example, if a person drinks and drives and causes a fatal car crash, that person has both broken the law and acted negligently in causing another’s an untimely death. If the negligent party faces criminal charges for the fatal accident, they will be prosecuted via the criminal court system. If the family of the deceased individual seeks damages, they can do so in the civil court system through a wrongful death suit.
Recently, the family of a Missouri man encountered both types of court systems in addressing the death of their 23-year-old loved one. A corrections officer killed the man in 2008; the officer was later charged with involuntary manslaughter after shooting the young man in the back during the course of investigating a complaint. However, in the fall of 2008, the officer was found not guilty of the manslaughter charge.
Regardless of whether the criminal justice system works for a deceased person’s family, they often have the option of filing a wrongful death suit in civil court. The estate of the Missouri man later sued for wrongful death, excessive force, and civil rights violations. In 2012, a jury awarded the man’s children $1 million following the civil suit. Court documents reveal that an appellate court recently upheld the jury’s decision.
The civil court system offers an avenue for families and estates seeking damages after the sudden death of a loved one. A wrongful death suit can hold a negligent individual accountable for causing another’s demise and can also compensate a family for the loss of a breadwinner, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Source: The Daily Statesman, “$1M award upheld for children of slain Dexter man,” Katherine Webster, June 20, 2015