Kansas City Wrongful Death Lawyer
A wrongful death is one of the most tragic events that a family can endure. The surviving family members have to deal with the loss of a loved one, knowing that their death could have been avoided. The reason is that a wrongful death is when a person dies from the injuries they suffered in what would have otherwise been a personal injury case. Since a personal injury is caused by negligence, that means the wrongful death is also the result of negligent behaviour on the part of someone else.
The sudden death of a loved one can cause upheaval in the surviving family members; there is the emotional trauma of course, but there can be financial consequences as well, especially if the deceased person was a major contributor to the family’s income. At the very least, a personal injury attorney can help the family to avoid the financial hardships that come with the loss of a loved one. That is because, in the event of a wrongful death, the family members of the decedent (the deceased person) are owed compensation for the losses caused by the death of a loved one. However, they will need the help of a wrongful death lawyer if they want to attain it.
We at the Eslinger Law Firm can help families throughout Kansas City, Missouri who have experienced the wrongful death of a family member. Our law office can help the family through every stage of the process. From filing the wrongful death claim to calculating the losses they are owed to negotiating with the insurance company of the party responsible for the wrongful death. If it becomes necessary to file a wrongful death lawsuit to get the compensation the family deserves, then we will help them with that as well.
At the Eslinger Law Firm, we know that when a wrongful death occurs it is a sensitive time for the family, that is why we will always endeavor to handle the case thoroughly and efficiently. So if a loved one died due to the negligence of another and you need a Kansas City wrongful death attorney, then contact the Eslinger Law Firm to get a free consultation.
What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death?
Since a wrongful death is what happens when a person dies from a personal injury, the elements from a personal injury case need to be present before a case can be considered to be a wrongful death:
- The party responsible for the wrongful death owed the victim a duty of care. A duty of care means that someone is supposed to act in the way a reasonable person would in a similar situation. For example, a driver owes a duty of care to everyone on the road by obeying the traffic rules and paying attention to the road.
- The duty of care was violated. This means that the responsible party was being negligent in their actions. In the driver example, a violation of the duty of care would be if they were texting while driving.
- The violation of the duty of care caused an accident. The violation of the duty is bad on its own, but it only becomes a problem if it leads to an accident.
- The accident caused losses for the victim. This essentially means that the accident caused an injury to the victim.
- The victim dies because of injuries sustained in the accident. They could die on the accident scene or later on, but the main factor is that they died as a result of the accident.
Types of Wrongful Deaths
Since there are many different types of personal injury cases, there are a similar number of wrongful death cases. Some of the more common cases include the following:
Vehicle Accidents – These happen across the country every day and many of them can be quite dangerous. Vehicle accidents involving trucks and motorcycles can be particularly dangerous.
Medical Malpractice – Sometimes healthcare professionals will end up hurting their patients instead of helping them. They can do so via misdiagnosis, surgical errors, prescribing the wrong medication, poor aftercare, and more. In some cases those medical malpractice errors can lead to the death of the patient.
Workplace Accidents – A fatal accident in the workplace is more likely to happen in a high-risk environment like a construction site or a warehouse. In those environments, workers are more likely to fall from great heights, have heavy objects fall on them, or be exposed to toxic substances.
Premises Liability – This is when someone gets hurt because of a dangerous condition on another person’s property. That property could be commercial or residential, the only consideration is that the victim must have been on the property legally.
Defective Product – A defective product can cause an accident that can end up injuring the person who was using it. When that happens the responsible party will need to be identified, which is why a wrongful death attorney would be useful. They can identify the party responsible for the defect because the defect could have occurred in the design, manufacturing, or distribution phase of the product.
Who Has The Right To Sue For Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit only becomes necessary if the insurance company of the responsible party rejects the wrongful death claim or offers a settlement amount that is too low. If they take any of those actions, then the next step in the wrongful death claims process is a lawsuit. Different states have different rules about who is allowed to file wrongful death claims but in all states a wrongful death claim can be filed by the deceased person’s family members who were affected by their passing. In Kansas City and the rest of Missouri, the first people who are allowed to file a wrongful death claim or a wrongful death lawsuit are the spouse of the deceased, the children of the deceased, or the grandchildren of the deceased.
The parents of the deceased can also file a wrongful death claim, and if it was a child who died, then their parents can file a claim. If the deceased did not have a spouse, children, grandchildren, or surviving parents, then a sibling is allowed to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased does not have any siblings, then a wrongful death claim or wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. If the deceased person does not have a personal representative, then a plaintiff ad litem will be appointed by the court to file the claim.
No matter who files the wrongful death claim, they must do it before the statute of limitations expires. In Kansas City and the rest of Missouri, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is three years from the time that the person died.
The Damages in a Kansas City Wrongful Death Case
In wrongful death cases, the family of the deceased is entitled to compensation in the form of both non-economic and economic damages. The damages are meant to help keep the remaining family financially stable and includes damages that affect them directly as well as damages that affected the deceased before they passed away. Some of the losses for which the family may seek damages in wrongful death cases in Kansas City and the rest of Missouri include the following:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical treatment and medical bills caused by the injury before the person died
- Lost wages the deceased person would have earned had they not died
- The pain and suffering experienced by the person before they died
- The loss of consortium, companionship, love, guidance, and more caused by the death of a loved one
Other kinds of damages in wrongful death claims in Missouri include the value of the child care or elder care the deceased provided while they were alive. If the deceased was not a full-time employee and took care of a member of their family at least 50% of the time, then Missouri law states that the value of their care is worth 110% of the state’s weekly wage at the time of their death.
In the event that the decedent was a child, then the value of any lost wages is based on the income of the child’s parents. The state of Missouri puts a limit of $350,000 on the amount of non-economic damages that can be gained in a wrongful death case involving medical malpractice. The economic damages in such a case are not affected by the limit.
How Much is a Typical Wrongful Death Settlement?
The value of a wrongful death settlement can vary quite a bit. It could be tens of thousands of dollars all the way to millions of dollars, it depends on the nature of the case. Medical malpractice cases tend to offer the highest settlements as they can range from about $100,000 up to $500,000 and more. Motor vehicle accidents can vary a lot since they can go from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Premises liability cases are usually in the high tens of thousands all the way to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
However, wrongful death cases usually have settlements that range from hundreds of thousands of dollars up to millions of dollars. That means there is no typical compensation amount in wrongful death cases.
Contact Us If You Need a Kansas City Wrongful Death Lawyer
A wrongful death can be a painful time in the life of a family and while there is nothing anyone can do to replace a loved one or fill the void they left behind, we can at least help to ensure that the remaining family does not have to endure any financial hardships. At the Eslinger Law Firm we will help the surviving family take the appropriate wrongful death action that they need to help them remain financially stable. As Kansas City wrongful death lawyers, we can help the family through every stage of the wrongful death process.
We can help you to calculate the amount of compensation that you need, we can help you file your wrongful death claim, and we can negotiate with the insurance company of the party responsible for the wrongful death to make sure that they offer a fair settlement. If the insurance company refuses to cooperate, then we can help you to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.
We value the attorney-client relationship, which is why we treat our clients with the utmost sensitivity and respect in this difficult time for them. That is why we will always endeavor to complete the wrongful death case with care and efficiency. So if you need a wrongful death attorney in Kansas City, then be sure to contact the Eslinger Law Firm. We will give you a free consultation of your case and we will do all that we can to make sure that your financial stability is one less thing that you need to worry about.