When someone you love dies, the loss is unimaginable. When it happens because of someone’s negligence, you may want justice.
Fortunately, the law allows certain surviving family members to bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.
The attorneys at Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen recognize that if you’re considering a wrongful death case, you are trying to cope with the catastrophic death of your loved one.
You should not have to go through this process alone. Our team is here to help you understand what you need to know about filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Kansas City.
Below are five things you should know about a wrongful death claim in Missouri. If you have any questions specific to your situation, please contact our lawyers at Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen.
1. What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
It is crucial first to understand the definition of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Under Missouri law, a wrongful death refers to an individual’s death resulting from any “act, conduct, occurrence, transaction, or circumstance” where, if the person had not died, they would have been allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages.
The defendant in a wrongful death claim is the negligent party who caused the death. They can be a company, business, or person.
In some ways, wrongful death lawsuits are comparable to personal injury lawsuits. However, individuals file personal injury claims on their own behalf for injuries they sustained but survived.
In a wrongful death claim, the deceased person’s surviving family members bring a case on their behalf and on behalf of their deceased loved one.
To bring a wrongful death claim, you must show that the defendant was negligent or committed an intentional wrongful act.
The actions of the defendant must have been the cause of the individual’s death. At Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen, our client advocates can help you understand the legal definition of wrongful death claims.
2. What Compensation Is Available in a Wrongful Death Case?
Depending on the circumstances, various types of damages may be available to you in a lawsuit for wrongful death.
While compensation cannot heal the grief resulting from a loved one’s death, it can help ease your financial worries.
Two major kinds of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit in Kansas City are economic and non-economic damages. Contact our attorneys if you have questions about what compensation you might recover.
Economic damages are relatively easy to calculate. This is because these losses are more objective and quantifiable. Some examples of economic losses in a wrongful death claim include:
- Loss of the deceased’s income,
- Loss of their future earnings,
- Funeral and burial expenses, and
- Medical expenses.
Economic damages typically can be proven with receipts, pay stubs, and copies of bills.
Contact our accomplished lawyers at Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen if you need help determining your economic damages. We can help you further in analyzing the potential damages you could receive.
You could also recover non-economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. These are less concrete than economic damages due to their subjective qualities.
Several kinds of non-economic injuries consist of the following:
- Loss of consortium,
- Loss of companionship, and
- Loss of comfort.
These are only a few examples of non-economic damages you may be eligible to recover.
Although these damages are difficult to quantify, our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to determine the non-economic damages in your case.
3. Who Gets the Money in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit? In Missouri, the people who receive compensation are those who file the wrongful death claim. Various parties may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
First in line to file a case are the surviving spouse or children. If the person dies without children or a spouse, the deceased’s parents can file the case.
If the individual dies without a spouse, children, or living parents, then the next parties who can file are siblings or their offspring.
If these individuals are unavailable, the last party that can file a lawsuit is the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.
In that case, the estate would then receive any compensation recovered from the wrongful death claim.
If you have any questions about whether you can bring a wrongful death claim, contact our hardworking attorneys at Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen.
4. What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Claim?
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit by the deadline or the statute of limitations is critical. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in Missouri is three years from the date of death.
You may no longer be eligible to recover compensation if you miss that deadline.
Overall, it is prudent that you begin the process of filing your claim as early as possible. A skillful attorney at Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen can assist you in filing a timely claim. Reach out to us today for further details.
5. How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
How long does a wrongful death lawsuit take? The time a wrongful death claim takes to settle or go to trial varies widely based on the circumstances.
The approximate time frame for a settlement award is between several months to multiple years. If each side cannot come to an agreement, the lawsuit may have to go to trial.
A trial can take a lot of time because your attorney must prepare witnesses, collect documents, and call expert witnesses. Plus, many courts have scheduling issues that add to the delays in scheduling a trial.
You may consider taking a low settlement offer from an insurance company. Insurance companies regularly make low offers to struggling family members.
It is not worth accepting a low settlement just to receive damages faster. Once you accept a settlement amount, you can never go back for more.
This is why it’s critical that you have an experienced wrongful death lawyer, like at Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen, by your side from the very beginning.
Our lawyers are here to fight for you and aid you in receiving the amount of compensation you deserve.
How Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help You
If you lost a beloved family member due to the negligent or intentional acts of another, Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen is here to help.
Our dedicated advocates will guide you through filing, negotiating, and litigating your claim. We have over 20 years of litigation experience and over 100 years of experience overall.
Plus, we have full-time medical professionals on our team, making us fully equipped to investigate the medical details of a wrongful death claim.
Call us today at 816-421-6868 for more details on how we can help you.