Recovering for Wrongful Death in an Auto Collision

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | September 15, 2015
Recovering for Wrongful Death in an Auto Collision

The consequences of a serious car accident can be fatal. On average more than 30,000 people die every year in an automobile accident.1 When one of these tragic losses of life is your loved one, you may be entitled to seek wrongful death compensation.

The Basics of a Wrongful Death Claim

A claim for wrongful death allows relatives to sue when a loved one dies or is killed due to the negligence or intentional misconduct of another.2 The most basic successful wrongful death lawsuit requires four elements to be present there must be the death of a person, caused by negligence or intent to cause harm, the survival of at least one individual who suffers a monetary injury due to the loss of life, and an appointed personal representative.3 The personal representative, often the executor of the decedent’s estate, is the only person who is able to sue for wrongful death.4 Though the representative can sue on behalf of other survivors known as real parties in interest who suffer damages from the loss of their loved one.5 These real parties in interest may include immediate or distant family members, life partners, financial dependents, or all persons who suffer financially.6

The wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against any party that contributed to the negligence that is responsible for the ultimate death of the loved one. This may include distracted drivers, pedestrians, designers or builders of faulty roadways, drunk or fatigued drivers, government agencies responsible for maintaining proper roadways with adequate signage, the owner of the premises where the accident occurred if there was a roadway obstacle or vision impairment, or manufactures or dealers of a faulty vehicle.7

Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The typical wrongful death lawsuit will include three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and sometimes punitive depending on what state the lawsuit is filed.8 The main form of damages will be monetary or economic damages calculated with interest to compensate for the loss of support, services, lost prospect of inheritance, and medical and funeral expenses.9 Non-economic damages compensate for the survivor’s mental anguish or pain and suffering as well as loss of care, protection, guidance, nurturing, love, society, companionship, and consortium from the decedent.10 Wrongful death lawsuits pursuing full compensation from these forms of damages can be complicated mattes entwined by complex statute of limitations and legal rules, but an experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate your claim towards fair financial recovery.

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you have lost a loved one in an automobile accident, you may be able to recover compensation for a loved one’s death by pursuing a wrongful death claim. It is important to discuss the circumstances leading to your loved one’s death with an experienced auto accident attorney if you want to receive full and fair compensation for your loss. To contact an auto accident attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.


If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact The Bruning Law Firm today. We provide the comprehensive, professional legal representation you deserve at a time when you need it most.

Call or contact our office online today to schedule a free consultation.



A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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