Wrongful Death Claims in Kansas City
The wrongful death of a loved one is perhaps the most devastating outcome of a serious accident. Aside from the physical, emotional and financial turmoil faced after an accident, the loss of life is a permanent and painful reminder of a tragedy that could have been prevented.
In the United States, unintentional injuries accounted for over 130,000 wrongful deaths in 2015—the 4th leading cause of death in that year. A family impacted by the wrongful death of a loved one may respond to their loss with grief, and perhaps a sense of hopelessness, as they face hefty medical expenses, funeral arrangements and legal worries.
At Wagstaff & Cartmell, our team of compassionate wrongful death attorneys are fully committed to helping you and your family through this trying time so that you can focus on what is most important—recovery.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim, and Who Can File a Claim?
When a loved one dies as a result of an accident caused by negligence, or malicious actions, the family or estate of the deceased can bring forward a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. The purpose of such a claim is for the family or estate of the deceased to receive compensation for the losses sustained due to the death of their loved one. These losses may include funeral expenses, punitive damages, loss of wages/support, emotional damages and more.
In Missouri, wrongful death claim must be filed by a specific person in the deceased’s family—usually, the surviving spouse, children or parents of the deceased. If the deceased has no surviving spouse, children or parents, a surviving sibling may file the claim instead.
Should the deceased have no immediate surviving family members, the claim may be filed by a plaintiff ad litem, as assigned by the court, if a person who is “entitled to share in the proceeds” wishes to bring the claim forward.
Please note that, according to Missouri’s statute of limitations, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the date of the deceased’s death.
What Constitutes as a Wrongful Death?
There are a number of reasons for which a wrongful death claim can be brought forward. These may include:
- Car Accidents
- Product Liability
- Train Accidents
- Boat Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Nursing Home
In any instance in which a wrongful death claim is brought forward, the amount of damages awarded are typically calculated based on if the damages are pecuniary (readily quantifiable) or non-pecuniary (not readily quantifiable). Some examples of these include:
|Pecuniary Damages||Non-Pecuniary Damages|
|Medical Bills & Funeral Costs||Emotional Distress (Pain and Suffering)|
|Loss of Income||Loss of Consortium|
|Loss of Benefits||Loss of Care/Advice from Deceased|
|Loss of an Inheritance||Loss of Companionship|
|Value of Goods & Services from Deceased|
How Do We Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim?
After a wrongful death claim is filed, the resulting litigation can be an emotionally and financially taxing endeavor. It is critical to turn to trusted wrongful death attorneys to represent your family’s interests and help recover compensation for your family’s pain and suffering.
For many auto accident and medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits, our job is to prove negligence on the defendant’s part—that is, proving that the other party’s reckless actions are responsible for your loved one’s death. Typically, this is done by gathering evidence which proves the following:
- The defendant owed the deceased a duty;
- The defendant breached that duty;
- The breach of duty caused the accident; and
- The death resulting in damages for the family or estate.
Once we have gathered evidence to support your claim, we will aggressively pursue justice and to ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim Today
The wrong and untimely death of a loved one is not a short-term tragedy—it is an event with consequences that can last a lifetime. While monetary compensation can never completely ease the pain of loss, it can help to alleviate some of the costs and losses sustained after a loved one’s wrongful death.
At Wagstaff & Cartmell, our compassionate attorneys are standing by to help you during this difficult time. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of another, contact an experienced wrongful death attorney today to discuss your case, and let us help you put your life back together.