The term “wrongful death” is defined differently in each of the 50 states and the laws pertaining to a wrongful death can also vary slightly. This article is a general overview of what is considered a wrongful death claim, who may be liable and who may sue for damages; it is brief for the nature of its content and will not discuss specific state statutes in detail or the death of an unborn child.
What is Considered a Wrongful Death Claim: A wrongful death claim occurs when a loved one dies due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another individual, automobile or other form of accident, medical malpractice, or product liability. Wrongful deaths claims materialize from a personal injury that results in death. Otherwise, the person who died could have filed a personal injury claim if they had lived.
Who is Liable: There are multiple scenarios, acts of negligence, and accidents that end in a wrongful death. An automobile accident involving a driver under the influence or a product malfunction that is the direct cause of death for an individual are two examples of what may be considered a wrongful death claim.
Who May Sue for Damages:
Kansas and Missouri differ slightly on the categorization of plaintiff’s that are able to sue for damages in a wrongful death claim.
- In Kansas, any heir who has sustained a loss by reason of death may bring the wrongful death suit, (KSA 60-1902).
- In Missouri, individuals who may sue for damages are prioritized based on lineal descendants or a court-appointed plaintiff ad litem, (Mo. Rev. Stat. 537.080).
The amount of reasonable damages are determined on a case by case basis and how it is awarded is governed by state statutes. The amount of damages can be classified as economic, non-economic, as well as punitive damages in Missouri or survival action damages in Kansas. Missouri’s statute of limitations or length of time to file a suit for a wrongful death claim is three (3) years and Kansas is two (2) years.
Experiencing the traumatic loss of a loved one is overwhelmingly emotional, which is what makes hiring a wrongful death attorney at law that much more crucial. Having a trusted and experienced attorney on your team to find answers, handle insurance companies and corporations and seek the damages you deserve is imperative. Contact Reginald Keith Davis, Attorney at Law, for a free consultation today.
Telephone: (913) 299-8789