Wrongful Death Attorney: Who, What and Why?
Wrongful Death Attorney in Kansas City and Missouri
We are living in a world, where we can’t expect everybody to be responsible. Irresponsibility can be in any field- be it at home, in a vehicle, or even on a road- it is everywhere.
Due to the irresponsibleness of some people, we come across different news of the deaths of thousands of people every day.
When we read or listen to a piece of news that says “X met with an accident in Kansas City and died at the spot.” We just listen. We can’t feel it unless the deceased person is someone who is very close to our heart. Is it not correct?
We can’t predict our future. We do not know what is going to happen to us in the next few minutes.
If you are someone who has lost his loved one, be it your father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, wife, or anyone due to the negligence of another person, then here in this article we are going to help you.
We understand that the sudden loss of your loved one is very painful and it is very difficult to cope with.
It becomes more painful when you realized that they were with you and now, they are no more. You only have the memory.
It becomes more devastating when you realize that this all happened due to reckless behavior and the negligence of the other company or person. Indeed, you are now devastated realizing it as wrongful death.
No monetary compensation can get back your beloved one. But, it will reduce your financial stress to some extent.
Without further delay, let’s delve deeper. We are going to comprehensively cover everything that you would need starting from wrongful death attorney to wrongful death lawsuit.
What is wrongful death?
“Wrongful death” is a doctrine that tells that the death of one person is caused by someone’s recklessness, negligence, irresponsibility, or intentional conduct.
Every state in the United States of America has its own wrongful death statute or laws.
The wrongful death laws of Kansas are different from that of others, say Missouri.
Basically, the laws are different in the fields such as-
- How much compensation one can get
- Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and etc
If we trace the origin of it, the root lies in Lord Campbell’s Act. It was passed by the United Kingdom’s parliament in the year 1846. The act has also another name- The Fatal Accidents Act, 1846.
For the first time in the history of the UK, it passed such a law. The law became an Act.
And, the Act had the provision that if a person is killed due to the wrongdoing of other people, then the family or relatives of the person will be entitled to recover the damage.
At first, the law was prevalent in England and the Walls.
Common Types of Wrongful Death
The wrongful death is not always due to an accident. There are also many types of wrongful death.
And, depending upon the variety of circumstances, a wrongful death claim arises.
Further, there are a number of different incidents that may lead to a person’s death.
In some cases, you may find deliberate conduct of a person and in some cases, you will find the negligence.
However, these are some of the common types of wrongful death cases.
- Car Accidents: Due to the negligence of the other person, he collided and cause catastrophic injuries or even death.
- Motorcycle Accidents (Bike Accidents): Motorcycle wrecks as we call it. It was coming with a great speed and the negligence caused the accident.
- Bicycle Accidents: Someone from the other end coming with his vehicle and collided with you. You have some serious damages now.
- Truck Accidents (Truck Crashes): This may even lead to death in most cases. Generally, these types 18 wheeler truck accidents happen most of the time.
- Serious Injuries, for example, brain injury and spinal cord injury: Due to the accident, now the brain has damaged or spinal cord has been damaged. This is serious.
- Slip and Fall Accidents: These cases fall under “Premises Liability” claims. This happens when you trip or slip and you are injured on someone else’s property.
- Swimming Pool Accidents: Due to the negligence of the pool owner towards maintaining and operating the pool, if a person drowns in a swimming pool and succumbs to death, then the pool owner is liable.
- Premises liability accidents: This means the property owner failed to take reasonable care of his property due to which some unsafe and defective condition arose -that leads to a person’s death.
- Medical Malpractice: It is a legal doctrine that tells if a health care professional neglects or omits appropriate acts, deviates from accepted norms of medical practice which can lead to serious damage to the patient, then he is liable for this.
- Defective products: It is a product that can cause damage to a person because of a manufacturing defect, a design defect, or a marketing defect. For example, medical devices, food, etc.
- Workplace Accidents: Accidents due to Fire and Explosions, Trips, Slips, and Falls, Overexertion Injuries and Repetitive Stress, Vehicle Related Accidents, etc.
- Nursing Home Abuse and neglect: When residents in a nursing home do not get proper care and treatment from the staff as a result they go through mental and physical pain.
Wrongful Death Statistics
Wrongful death is not limited to a particular area, it is nationwide problem. That’s why some organization, both private and government prepares some statics regarding it.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, “All Unintentional Injury deaths” was the third-highest cause of deaths in the United States of America in the year 2019 causing 173,040 deaths.
If we compare this number with that of in 2015, it was 146,571. That’s an 18.05% increase within 4 years.
The death per 100,000 population was 52.7.
If we talk about the Unintentional Fall Deaths, then it accounted for 39,433 deaths. Motor Vehicle Accidents accounted for 37,595 deaths, while Unintentional poisoning deaths accounted for 65,773 deaths.
You should definitely take the help of a wrongful death attorney if your loved one was a victim of wrongful death.
What Is the Difference Between Wrongful Death and Homicide?
The pain, the grief, and the trauma that you go through when you lose your beloved one are beyond comprehension. At this point in time, you can’t properly make a decision.
It will be very difficult on your part to proceed with the case. Many questions will be there in your mind. How to proceed? When to proceed?
Furthermore, you might not able to understand the specifics of the legal matter or loss that comes in the way after you lose your loved one.
Of several questions that you might have, one important question is the distinction between wrongful death and homicide. These are two different claims. Over each claim, there has jurisdiction of two different legal systems.
The former can help the family with some monetary compensation while the latter can punish the wrongdoer.
If you are still confused, let’s understand this properly.
Wrongful death claims can arise if any person has an evil intention to kill or harm someone. It can also happen due to accidental, unintentional, or due to negligent actions.
Even if someone does not intend to cause any harm, he should be held liable for the same thing because of his negligent or careless act.
In the Kansas City Civil Court Hear, wrongful death cases are civil claims.
If the plaintiff can prove the defendant’s fault for the death of his loved one, then they will get some financial compensation.
If you could not understand the above, let’s understand it in a simpler way.
Suppose, a person is driving a car in Kansas City. From the opposite side, he immediately sees a car coming with terrific speed.
As the first person is also coming with some average speed, it is now not possible to slow down there instantaneously.
The second person’s car hit the former one’s. Though the second person had no intention to kill or harm the first person, he did. In fact, they do not know each other.
Now, in this case, the first person’s family is entitled to get some monetary compensation if their wrongful death attorney can prove the second person guilty.
Homicide is completely different from wrongful death.
Homicide is a concept that simply means murder. It is an act done by a person deliberately and intentionally. It is an unlawful killing of one person.
These types of cases go through Kansas City’s Criminal Courts.
The deceased person’s family does not file homicide charges, rather it is the state who prosecutes suspects and passes homicide charges.
Unlike a wrongful death case, there is no provision for the compensation of the family.
The Perpetrator will get punishments and penalties.
If the defendant is not found guilty of the crime, you can still be able to recover compensation for the wrongful death.
This is the best infamous example that we have.
In the case of O.J Simpson VS Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, the former was acquitted in the murder of the deaths of the latter two. But, the civil court found him liable for wrongful death.
As a result, a jury awarded both the families a total of $25 million in punitive damages and $8.5 million in compensatory damages.
So, it is also possible to win a criminal case and at the same time losing a wrongful death claim.
In the same way, it is also possible to win a wrongful death claim and losing a criminal case.
We can conclude that both these cases can go hand-in-hand, if and only if, a criminal deliberately and intentionally caused your beloved one’s death.
How to know if you have a wrongful death case?
If your family member was killed in an accident, (which could have been preventable), due to the oversight, negligence, and reckless behavior of another person, you may have a wrongful death lawsuit in your hand.
Even if your beloved person does is critically ill, severely injured, and did not die right at the spot, it still holds true. It does not necessarily always have to be with death.
In fact, the severely injured and critically ill person, who is alive and did not die right at the spot goes through immense pain.
And to take care of his everything starting from physical health to be mental health tends to be more difficult and costly.
For that, family members have to suffer and go through a lot of mental trauma.
If you have such a person, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Every state has some different laws regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Missouri (Wrongful Death Attorney)
If a person passes away due to wrongful death, then Missouri laws allow three classes of people who can bring the wrongful death lawsuit, this is according to the Revised Statutes of Missouri, RSMo Section 537.080.
The first class: The law allows a deceased person’s surviving spouses, children, and grandchildren to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The second class: If there is no person in the first class to bring the wrongful death lawsuit, then the deceased’s siblings or their descendants can bring the suit.
The third class: If there is no person in the first two classes to bring the lawsuit, an action can be filed by a plaintiff ad litem, who is a person appointed by a court.
Kansas (Wrongful Death Attorney)
In Kansas, the lawsuit is brought by the estate of the decedent and it is for the benefit of the “heirs at law.” (K.s.a.60-1902 and 60-1902)
In Kansas, it can be brought by any heir of the deceased. In simple words, the lawsuit can be brought by the deceased’s spouses, children, parents, siblings, or grandparents.
In the Fatal Accidents Act 1846, there were two provisions.
In the USA, there are also some states which allow the family of the descendant to bring two different types of claims.
- A Wrongful Death Claim: It is to recover the full value of the deceased person.
- A Survival Claim: This is on the behalf of the deceased’s estate to recover all the expenses such as punitive damages, funeral expenses, pain and suffering cost.
What’s the Deadline to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death “statute of limitations” tells that like other personal injury claims, there is a time limit to pursue the wrongful death claim before the expiration of the deadlines.
If someone files the claim after the deadline, then the claim will be barred and he will not be able to recover the compensation that he deserves.
The statute of limitations for the claim is different for different states.
Furthermore, the statute of limitations can be reduced in some specific cases. For example, if medical malpractices involved or liquor involved, it can be reduced to two years in Missouri.
A wrongful death attorney can help you in this case to a greater extent.
How a wrongful death attorney can help you?
As the name suggests “Wrongful death attorney”, they are experienced in their field. That’s why they know the law and how all these things work.
An experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you with every aspect of your Kansas City wrongful death claim. Some of the help that you can get but not limited to is mentioned below.
- Meeting the state’s strict deadlines & filing requirements.
- Collecting all the evidence, because it is important.
- Building a case for the civil courts.
You just need to contact a wrongful death attorney and he will take care of all things.
In the meantime, you need to take care of your family.
A Kansas City wrongful death lawyer is of utmost help as he will maximize the amount of settlement that you will get.
More often than not, the insurance companies will find excuses and will not pay you the required amount that you deserve.
But having a lawyer on your side will help to pressure them to offer a big amount during insurance settlement negotiations. In the end, it is an irrecoverable loss.
Hiring a dedicated wrongful death attorney will make sure that the insurance company will not give you some lowball settlement offers and go away. There are some law firms that will not take any money unless you win the case.
How Negligence Led to Wrongful Death? (Proving Wrongful Death)
To get monetary compensation, you need to prove certain required legal elements to establish a claim in Kansas and Missouri.
First of all, you need to provide some proof that you are the family member or relative of the deceased person and you have the right to recover the damages for the death of your beloved one.
The plaintiff needs to prove the following four elements which are very central to a negligence claim.
1. Duty of Care
The defendant could have been more careful. Thus he had an obligation towards the victim. They could have conducted themselves in a safe, responsible, and reasonable manner.
It needs to be proved that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased.
2. Breach of Duty of Care
After you have proved that the defendant owed a duty of care, the next step is to prove that he breached the same thing. Breaching the duty of care can be happened by many ways such as-
- Intentional harm
The defendant breached the duty of care. He did so by not conducting themselves in a safe and responsible manner.
Here, you must show that the breach of duty of care is the primary reason behind the decedent’s death.
Due to the wrongful death, you bore some emotional damage. You lost your loved one. Now, you can not get him back. But, you can get compensation. Death is compensable damage in Kansas City courts.
What damages can be claimed in a wrongful death case?
In a wrongful death case, there are two types of damages that can be sought.
- Economic damages: It includes all the financial losses that a deceased family suffered.
- Non-economic damages: It is to compensate for the emotional loss that occurred after the death.
You will receive financial compensation for the following things. It includes both economic as well as non-economic damages. All the pecuniary damages, non-pecuniary damages, punitive damages are mentioned below.
- Funeral expenses
- Burial costs
- Medical expenses
- Loss of Future earnings
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
- Loss of support
- Punitive damages
- Loss of guidance
- Emotional pain
Wrongful Death Attorney Fees
There is no fixed fee that wrongful death attorneys charge. It varies from attorney to attorney and from firm to firm.
But, some attorneys for wrongful death follow the policy of “No win. No Fee.”
That means the best wrongful death lawyers do not take a single dollar unless they win your case.
Because the average settlement for wrongful death lawsuit is high. If you have a doubt regarding wrongful death suit payouts, it is in millions.
For that, you need to reach lawyers for wrongful death, not lawyers that will take any case.
Average wrongful death settlement
Yes, it is true that the average wrongful death settlement is quite high.
Nonetheless, it varies from case to case.
Wrongful Death Attorney: Conclusion
Losing your loved one due to another person’s negligence is really painful.
The aftermath of the incident can be more painful if he was the only person earning in the family.
No financial compensation can replace your loved one. Still, the compensation that you will get will relieve your financial stress.
For that, you have to bring a wrongful death claim after contacting the wrongful death attorney. Just search for wrongful death lawyers near me, you will get many accidental death lawyers.
Choose one after going through the past record of those wrongful death lawyer Kansas city.