A wrongful death claim may arise when a loved one’s death occurs because of the negligence of another person. The law gives some people a right to claim damages from the responsible party through the civil law system.
Unfortunately, the law does place a limit on who can make a wrongful death claim. According to the Missouri Revisor of Statutes, your relationship to the deceased and other claims can impact your ability to file a lawsuit.
First in line
The idea behind a wrongful death lawsuit is to recoup money lost due to the death. The court will consider various expenses, such as medical care, and the financial impact of the death upon the person bringing the claim. So, you need to have some financial impact due to the death to make a claim.
The first in line to have the right for a wrongful death claim is the spouse and children. The spouse always has the first claim, but if there is no spouse, then the children can bring the claim.
Next of kin
If there is no spouse or children, the law then will look to the next of kin. The next of kin is the next closest relation to the deceased. Parents and siblings will come next in line. If there are no close relatives, the court may appoint a plaintiff ad litem in the case to serve as the claimant.
One thing you want to keep in mind is that there can only be one wrongful death lawsuit. You may end up having to go to court to fight for your right to make the claim if you are someone who is the next of kin without being the spouse, child or parent.