As Kansas City wrongful death attorneys, we realize that many people are unclear as to what exactly it means, what types of cases fall into this category of law, and who is entitled to collect compensation. To put it simply, a wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of negligence or a lack of action on the part of another person, party, manufacturer, medical provider, etc.
A few examples of situations that may result in this type of claim include:
- Car, motorcycle, or truck accidents
- Accidents caused by drunk drivers
- Gun violence or negligence
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Side effects of medications
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
There are certain criteria which must be met in order for a claim to be considered wrongful death, so it is important you discuss your case with a seasoned Kansas City lawyer. Essentially, there are four factors to determine whether a case is classified as wrongful death.
- Was the victim’s death was caused by a defendant’s lack of action or negligent action, either in whole or in part?
- Does the victim have surviving dependents, beneficiaries, children, or a spouse/partner?
- What financial losses were incurred by the family, i.e. loss of decedent’s income, medical expenses, funeral/burial costs?
- Was the defendant in fact liable in the death?
Historically, under English Common Law, a person who directly or indirectly caused another’s death by negligence could not be held accountable for that person’s death or the harm and damages incurred by the decedent’s family members. The defendant may go to jail, but surviving family members could not file a lawsuit for financial damages.
Today, Missouri and Kansas, as well as virtually every other state, have statutory laws in place regarding wrongful death causes of action which gives the decedent’s family members the right to pursue damages for their losses. In addition to medical expenses that may have occurred prior to a loved one’s death, funeral/burial costs, lost income, loss of companionship or consortium, support, guidance, counseling may be compensated to the grieving family. The Missouri Revised Statutes section 537.080, lists the persons who may bring a claim for wrongful death losses. Claims for wrongful death may be brought by Class One (1) beneficiaries that include the spouse, parents and children of the deceased individual.
If there are no Class One beneficiaries, then brothers, sisters, and descendents such as nieces or nephews, etc. may be eligible to bring a claim for a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you have suffered a tragic loss of a loved one because of a wrongful death action, contact the highly regarded Kansas City lawyers at Griggs Injury Law, LLC today for a free consultation.