How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works

While we all know that death is an unavoidable part of life, however, dealing with it is still one of the hardest things we do. The death of a loved one can be even harder to accept when it was preventable. Knowing that you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence can make their passing much harder to experience. While you can’t change the past, you can get help to make the situation more manageable going forward. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can help you receive financial compensation for the damages your family has and will face.

If you think you have a wrongful death case, you need to speak to a wrongful death lawyer to get help. Learn more about how a wrongful death lawsuit works.

What is a Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death is a death caused or contributed to by someone else’s negligence. Wrongful deaths occur in many different situations. For example, wrongful deaths may occur from a car accident, work-related accidents, or defective products. While many wrongful deaths result from an accident caused by negligence, someone who was intentionally killed can also be considered a wrongful death, such as those who suffered due to criminal acts. Knowing if a wrongful death occurred can be difficult, which is why it’s extremely important for their loved ones to work with a personal injury lawyer who can help in these types of cases.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

All families are different. States have different rules regarding which family members may file a wrongful death claim depending on their relationship to the deceased. Immediate family members, meaning spouses, children, and parents, can sue for wrongful death. Sometimes, even someone who wasn’t legally married to the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. In some scenarios, other relatives, like siblings and grandparents, can also sue for wrongful death. Again, the rules for who can bring a claim of wrongful death vary greatly by state. Thus, contacting an attorney who practices in the state where the death occurred is critical.

How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death?

Proving that a wrongful death occurred can be challenging. Proving a wrongful death is similar to what needs to be proven in a personal injury lawsuit. Had the person survived the incident, they might have filed a personal injury lawsuit for the damages due to injuries. Wrongful death lawsuits can also require a large amount of evidence to prove that negligence occurred, which can be difficult for loved ones to gather independently without legal representation.

Here are four elements that need to be proven in a wrongful death lawsuit.


First, it needs to be proven that negligence caused or contributed to the cause of death. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another. So what is “reasonable care”? Reasonable care is the degree of caution and concern an ordinarily prudent and rational person would use in a similar circumstance.

Breach of Duty

We all have a duty to act responsibly in different aspects of our lives. For example, all drivers have a duty to drive safely when they’re on the road to prevent an accident. For a wrongful death to occur, someone would need to have breached a duty they owed to the deceased. Each wrongful death is very different, and each case depends on the facts of the incident.


Proving that negligence and a breach of duty occurred isn’t enough to prove wrongful death. It also needs to be proven that these actions directly caused or contributed to the cause of death. Had these actions not occurred, the death may not have happened.


The deceased’s loved ones have to prove damages. This may seem obvious, as the family member lost a loved one. However, these damages are often financial damages related to the death, such as medical bills for treatment they needed, the funeral costs, and their lost income for those who depended on it. Other damages can include non-economic ones, like pain and suffering, which can be harder to prove. Family members may assert additional damages such as loss of consortium, depending on the family member bringing the claim.

Get Help From a Wrongful Death Lawyer

A wrongful death lawsuit is extremely complicated and not something you should try to handle on your own, especially during an already difficult time. To ensure that your case is taken care of properly and that you have the right help on your side, you need a wrongful death lawyer in St. Louis, MO. At The Cagle Law Firm, we know the work that goes into wrongful death lawsuits and have the experience that it takes for you to receive compensation.

If you suspect that you lost a loved one due to wrongful death, don’t wait to get help. Contact us toll-free at (1-800) 685-3302 or locally at (314) 276-1681 to speak to a wrongful death lawyer today.

Contact Us Today

The Cagle Law Firm serves accident and injury clients throughout St. Louis and the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, including the eastern Missouri and southern Illinois communities. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with your personal injury case, call The Cagle Law Firm at (314) 276-1681 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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