who can sue for wrongful deathMotorcycle riding can be particularly dangerous.  Without the protection of a 3,000 pound steel frame, motorcyclists are incredibly more exposed to injury on the road than passengers in a car.  Although helmets and protective gear can significantly decrease the impact and injury sustained by a motorcyclist in an accident, the risk of serious or fatal injuries from a motorcycle accident is usually higher than in any other type of accident.  So, if someone you know has been killed in a motorcycle accident, you may be wondering who can sue when someone dies in a motorcycle accident.
Bringing a lawsuit for wrongful death
Whenever a personal injury results in death, the type of lawsuit that should be filed is referred to as a “wrongful death” suit.  Wrongful death is the claim that arises when one person dies as a result of the negligent or intentional conduct of another.  Normally, the person who is injured files the lawsuit.  However, because the person who is injured in a wrongful death case is now deceased, he or she cannot bring the lawsuit on their own behalf.  In that case, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, or that person’s heirs, will be allowed to bring the lawsuit to court.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
In Arkansas, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is required to file the wrongful death claim, if a personal representative has been appointed. Otherwise, the claim may be filed by the legal heirs of the deceased, including “the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings; persons standing “in loco parentis,” and persons to whom the deceased stood in loco parentis.”
Missouri’s rules regarding who may bring a wrongful death lawsuit, are a little different. The surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren are first in line to bring the claim. The parents of the deceased person may also bring a wrongful death claim. When the claim involves the death of a child, the parents are generally the ones to file the wrongful death claim.  However, if none of those individuals have survived the deceased, then a surviving sibling can bring the lawsuit.
There is a time limit for suing for wrongful death
Like all legal claims, there is a time limit, called the “statute of limitations,” for bringing wrongful death lawsuits.  Each state has its own time limit, typically set out in a statute.  In both Arkansas and Missouri, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death action is three (3) years.
If you have questions regarding motorcycle accidents, or any other personal injury concerns, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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