All fatal accidents are tragic and unexpected, but not all fatal accidents are wrongful deaths. Wrongful death is a legal term. To file a successful Kansas City wrongful death claim and seek compensation, you must be able to prove that someone else was liable for your loved one's death. Here, our experienced and empathetic Kansas City wrongful death attorneys help you understand what makes a fatal accident a wrongful death case and what to do if your loved one is killed in a Kansas City wrongful death accident.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases in Kansas City
In Kansas City, you may have a wrongful death case if the person who died would have had the right to pursue a personal injury claim had they survived the incident. Both negligent and intentional acts can cause wrongful death.
Car Accident Wrongful Death Cases
Car accidents are a common cause of wrongful deaths in Kansas City. When negligent or reckless behavior leads to a fatal collision, surviving family members may have grounds to pursue a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death car accident may occur when a driver is distracted, drunk, drowsy, or otherwise negligent. Our Kansas City wrongful death lawyers represent families who have lost loved ones in private vehicle crashes and rideshare accidents.
Truck Accident Wrongful Death Cases
With Kansas City being a central transportation hub, truck accidents, including those involving Amazon delivery trucks, are a significant concern. These accidents can result from various factors, such as driver fatigue, inadequate maintenance, or improper loading. Wrongful death claims arising from truck accidents are complex due to the involvement of commercial entities and multiple parties, making legal expertise crucial.
Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death Cases
Motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries and fatalities, especially when other motorists fail to share the road safely with bikers. Wrongful death claims from motorcycle accidents may involve distracted drivers, failure to yield, or road hazards. Establishing liability in these cases requires a thorough investigation and legal expertise to overcome bias toward motorcyclists.
Pedestrian Accident Wrongful Death Cases
Pedestrian accidents occur when vehicles strike pedestrians, often at intersections or crosswalks. These accidents can be catastrophic, leading to wrongful death due to the vulnerability of pedestrians. Legal claims may arise from drivers' negligence, failure to obey traffic signals, or impaired driving, and establishing fault is crucial in these cases.
Bicycle Accident Wrongful Death Cases
Bicyclists are also vulnerable road users, and bicycle accidents can lead to tragic outcomes. Wrongful death cases related to bicycle accidents often involve collisions with vehicles, defective road conditions, or negligent drivers. Proving liability and seeking justice for the loss of a loved one in a bicycle accident requires skilled legal representation.
Slip and Fall Wrongful Death Cases
Slip and fall accidents can cause death if the person who falls suffers a brain injury, spinal cord injury, internal bleeding, or another severe injury. These incidents often occur in public places or private properties where hazardous conditions exist. Property owners have a legal duty to maintain safe premises. Common factors contributing to slip and fall wrongful deaths include wet floors, uneven surfaces, inadequate lighting, or lack of warning signs.
Nursing Home Neglect Wrongful Death Cases
Nursing home neglect can lead to severe harm and even wrongful death among vulnerable elderly residents. Fatal injuries may occur when nursing homes fail to provide proper care or actively abuse residents. Wrongful death claims in nursing home cases can involve medication errors, malnutrition, neglect of basic hygiene, inadequate medical attention, and physical abuse.
In any of these types of wrongful death cases, it is essential to consult with an experienced Kansas City wrongful death attorney who can guide you through the legal process, investigate the incident thoroughly, and advocate for your rights to seek compensation and justice for your loved one's untimely death. Each wrongful death lawsuit is unique, and having knowledgeable wrongful death attorneys working for you can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim.
Compensation in Kansas City Wrongful Death Cases
In Kansas and Missouri wrongful death cases, surviving family members may be eligible for various types of compensation, depending on the circumstances. These can include economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Having a knowledgeable lawyer guide you through the wrongful death claim process and help you recover deserved compensation is invaluable. A Kansas City wrongful death attorney can navigate this complex legal situation and help protect your family's rights.
Economic damages refer to the monetary losses experienced due to the passing of a loved one, such as:
- Medical expenses your loved one incurred from the time of the incident until the time of death
- Funeral expenses, including burial, cremation, and memorial services
- Loss of future income, raises, bonuses, and benefits
- Out-of-pocket costs your loved one or your family suffered due to the accident
- Value of care provided by your loved one, including care provided by stay-at-home parents
Families affected by a wrongful death in Kansas City may be entitled to these damages, helping to alleviate some of the financial burdens they face during this challenging time.
Non-economic damages are the subjective, non-monetary losses a family may experience due to a wrongful death. These can include:
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of comfort and support
- Loss of companionship
Despite the imperfections in the methods used to calculate non-economic damages, having an experienced wrongful death attorney to present a compelling case for these damages is beneficial. While no amount of money will compensate you for your emotional suffering, non-economic damages can allow you to grieve with less financial pressure.
Punitive damages are only available in egregious cases. These damages result in more money for your family but are not meant to compensate you for your loved one's wrongful death. Instead, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for extreme misconduct and deter others from similar conduct.
In Kansas, punitive damages are limited to lesser of the following:
- The highest annual gross income earned by the defendant in the last five years or 50% of the defendant's net worth
- $5 million
Missouri law allows the court to consider the defendant's conduct, the defendant's financial status, and the facts of the case when determining the amount of punitive damages that should be awarded in your wrongful death lawsuit.
Important Evidence in Kansas City Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Before you can recover compensation in a Kansas City wrongful death case, you must convince the court that the defendant caused your loved one's death and should be held legally accountable. Below, our Kansas City accident lawyers explain some of the evidence you may need to prove wrongful death in Missouri or Kansas.
Medical records or autopsy reports may establish why your loved one died and can help explain to the court that your loved one died because of the defendant's negligent or intentional actions.
Witnesses who were present during the incident can provide firsthand accounts of what happened. Their statements can help establish the sequence of events and who was at fault.
In cases like car accidents, motorcycle accidents, or pedestrian accidents, accident reconstruction experts can analyze the scene, vehicle damage, and other evidence to recreate the accident and determine fault.
In some cases, surveillance cameras or dashcams may have captured the incident. This video evidence can be compelling in establishing liability.
Expert witnesses, such as medical experts, accident reconstructionists, or engineering professionals, can provide specialized knowledge to support your case. They can testify about the standard of care, the cause of the accident, or the cause of death.
Documentation of Damages
Documentation, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, and evidence of your loved one's income and financial contributions to the family, can help prove the value of your wrongful death claim.
Wrongful death lawsuits present unique challenges and complexities. The experienced wrongful death attorneys at Foster Wallace can effectively navigate the legal process, gather the necessary evidence, and fight for the compensation your family deserves.