Olathe Wrongful Death Lawyer
Kansas and Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
What is a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death claim is a claim for damages arising out of someone’s death when the death is caused by the negligence or fault of someone else. The claim is brought by the deceased’s beneficiaries who are normally family members.
Who can sue for wrongful death?
Any one of the heirs at law of the deceased may bring an action for wrongful death. The most common heirs at law are the spouse and children. However, the deceased’s parents or brothers and sisters may bring suit in some circumstances. Illegitimate children may also bring suit for the wrongful death of a parent. In Kansas, parents may bring a wrongful death claim for the death of a viable fetus. In Missouri, wrongful death claims have been allowed for the death of any fetus. Any heir who does not join in the original suit as a plaintiff may join the case later, but there are time limits on all claims. The suit is for the benefit of all qualified heirs who have sustained a loss whether or not they joined the suit.
What damages can be recovered?
Damages in wrongful death claims are divided into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those damages reasonably measurable in money lost or to be lost in the future. They have no monetary limitation. They include such items as the loss of services, attention, marital care, parental guidance, advice and protection, loss of education, training and protection, loss of earnings by the deceased, and expenses for the care of the deceased including hospital, medical, nursing and funeral expenses.
Non-economic damages are those damages that are not easily measurable in money. These include mental anguish, loss of society and loss of companionship. In Kansas, these damages are currently limited to $250,000. Missouri limits non-economic damages in malpractice cases to $350,000. Also, in Kansas, damages for the deceased’s pain and suffering prior to death cannot exceed $250,000.
When should a wrongful death claim be brought?
In Kansas, a wrongful death action must be brought within two years. In Missouri, a wrongful death action must be brought within three years.
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