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Can a negligent killer recover from medical service providers for wrongful death?

Saint Louis, MO |

An entity I'm somewhat affiliated with is facing legal action against it for wrongful death. Essentially, the accusation is related to the outcome of the provision of medical services of someone who had been injured by a weapon. The action is being brought by a parent. The plaintiff's spouse, the other parent, is the one who did it. Law enforcement hasn't pressed charges against the attacker due to a lack of proof of intent. Is there any way that the plaintiff's spouse's fault reduces the defendant's liability?

Correction Jan 8 at 2pm: The second sentence should say .."provision of medical services TO someone who had been injured..." The offending parent's action, if intentional/reckless, would be along the lines of assault with a deadly weapon.

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Attorney answers 7


Yes, of course.

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I have to agree with Attorney Lassen.

-Michael R. Juarez Law Office of Juarez and Schaeffer PO Box 16216 San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 804-4327 This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice." Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different jurisdictions.


In Florida,maybe.


That should be researched by local counsel. State laws vary. Mo. may allow comparative fault reduction. It may allow comp reduction of certain elements of damage and not others. May be fact specific. If a dad accidently hit his son with a baseball when playing, and the boy had a broken nose, and then goes to hospital which gives him the wrong medication and he dies, I think comp fault is a stretch. If dad accidently shoots his son in a hunting accident, and son may not make it due to grievous injuries, and hospital screws up and he dies, better chance for comp fault. the analysis actually may not be comparative fault as much as it is an issue of causation. In 1st example, Dad's negligence didnt cause the death, the hospital's did. In 2d example, it may be dad caused the death, and hospital may not have been able to save the boy even w/o the screw up.



Missouri, to the best of my knowledge, does allow comparative fault reduction, such that a defendant who is 10% at fault pays 10% of the compensatory damages assessed.


If the plaintiff lives with the spouse then yes. If they were separated at time of shooting then it is not automatic.

This response should not be constued as legal advice on how to proceed as our firm does not have enough information to analyze the claim. Further, until we are in an attorney/client relationship we generally do not give specific legal advice.


I need more specific facts to give informed advice.


There are a lot of questions that need answers here but generally speaking yes.