Wrongful Death Lawyers in Kansas City, MO, Seeking Justice for Lost Loved Ones
When a loved one is involved in a serious accident, family members are often left to pick up the pieces and help them recover. Unfortunately, such accidents occasionally lead to untimely death. This can cause a variety of legal, financial, and personal issues. When a wrongful death occurs in Kansas City, surviving spouses and other family members have rights. Unfortunately, asserting these rights typically means dealing with insurers and lawsuits during a time of intense grief. If you’ve found yourself in such a situation due to someone else’s negligence, a wrongful death lawyer in Kansas City, MO, may be able to help.
At Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, we’ve far too often seen the outcome of negligence and reckless actions. The result of such actions is often tragic, even when fatal injuries aren’t sustained. When a loved one’s death is attributable to these irresponsible acts, though, you need an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side. Our skilled legal practitioners can help guide you through the complexities of Missouri law while providing the support, understanding, and care that your family needs during this time. Mohlman Gurney Injury Law provides free consultations, so there’s no risk in seeking justice for your loved one.
What is a Wrongful Death Under Missouri Law?
Missouri law is fairly straightforward when it comes to filing a wrongful death action. Under current state statutes, such a claim can be brought forward in any situation where a death occurs during an incident that would result in a personal injury claim had the victim’s death not occurred. Simply put, anything that would lead to a valid personal injury case would constitute a valid wrongful death case if the victim does not survive. This means surviving family members could be entitled to all the same damages they’d see in a personal injury case, but there are also other damages they may be able to seek.
In addition to pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages, the family member of a deceased individual may also be able to receive damages for funeral expenses, loss of future wages, loss of consortium, and other potential losses. To recover such damages in a wrongful death claim, it’s important to identify all potentially liable parties. While liability may seem clear in some situations, it’s possible that third parties you wouldn’t think of could also be at-fault. Responsible parties to a wrongful death claim frequently include:
- Employers of drivers who cause accidents
- Actual driver causing the car accident
- Designers and builders
- Government agents and agencies
- Bar and/or owner of premises who served an impaired driver
- Property owners
- Nursing homes
As mentioned, a single entity may not always be the only negligent party in a wrongful death claim. For instance, imagine that a drunk driver in a company vehicle cuts across three lanes of traffic and causes an accident. They obviously hold significant fault in the collision, but what if the company that hired the driver didn’t run a background check to discover the three driving while intoxicated charges on their record? Additionally, what if the bartender at the local tavern continued serving the driver even after it was apparent they were drunk?
In such a situation, a Kansas City wrongful death lawsuit may target the driver, their employer, and the bar that overserved the driver. Clearly, this is a very complex area of the justice system. This is why you should contact a law firm whenever death resulting from the negligence of others affects your family. This is particularly important before speaking with an insurance adjuster—who will no doubt try to offer the lowest possible settlement. You need an experienced legal advocate on your side, and that’s what we offer at Mohlman Gurney Injury Law.
Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Kansas City?
If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Missouri recognizes an individual’s right to seek compensation for the loss of a loved one—but only certain individuals are authorized to do so. All states have similar rules regarding who is eligible to file wrongful death claims. Luckily for Missourians, our state has relatively flexible statutes regarding who may receive fair and just compensation. These surviving relatives include:
- Surviving spouse
- Parents of the victim
- Children of the victim
- Descendants of the victim’s children (if children are deceased)
- Surviving siblings or their descendants (if no one from above survives)
The first four entries on this list have priority for filing a Kansas City wrongful death case. If none of these individuals, surviving siblings, or the descendants of siblings can file a wrongful death claim, Missouri law allows for a “plaintiff ad litem” to be appointed. Such a representative can only be requested by an individual who would have some claim over the proceeds of any successful lawsuit.
Clearly, this is another complex area of the law. This is why we cannot stress enough that you should seek advice regarding your legal rights prior to speaking with insurance adjusters or filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The simplest of mistakes can result in unfair compensation or even having your case thrown out. Seeking compensation is not about money in these situations—it’s about holding negligent parties accountable and mitigating losses. Speak with an attorney today.
When can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If a loved one’s death resulted from the negligence of another party, the time to consider a wrongful death claim is now. You may be entitled to recover compensation immediately after the loss of your loved one. There is no “too soon” in these situations. Wrongful deaths typically leave an immense amount of damage and losses in their wake. The longer you wait to seek economic damages—or non-economic damages—the longer it will take for you to receive any form of compensation. This means you could end up paying medical bills, funeral expenses, and other costs out of pocket.
Additionally, there is a statute of limitations for filing a Kansas City wrongful death lawsuit. In most situations, you’ll have three years to file a claim. After that point, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to recover compensation in any form. This is similar to statutes of limitation in personal injury cases, but there are some differences. For instance, if medical malpractice results in a serious injury, the victim would have two years to seek compensation. When a death occurs due to medical negligence, however, the statute extends to three years. A Kansas City wrongful death lawyer can help you better understand the nuance of the law. In any situation, though, it’s important not to procrastinate.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Wrongful Death Claims?
If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim, you may wonder whether you need an attorney at all. It’s possible that an insurance adjuster has already contacted you and made a seemingly fair offer. Additionally, you may feel that negligence is so clear that no court in Missouri would consider throwing out your Kansas City wrongful death case. Unfortunately, surviving family members are often caught off-guard when they make these assumptions.
First, it’s important to realize that insurers will not have your best interests in mind. When they offer certain settlement amounts for wrongful death claims, you can almost always assume the victim’s family deserves more. Insurers will try every trick in the book to convince you to accept a low offer. With an experienced wrongful death attorney in Kansas City on your side, these tactics simply won’t work.
An attorney can also help uncover important evidence that may not be available at first. Plus, they have the legal knowledge necessary to navigate the system and litigation. For instance, did you know that a wrongful death attorney can only file a case within two years of an accident if the incident occurred in Kansas City, KS? On our side of the river, this timeline extends to three years. It’s fine not to have an abundance of legal knowledge, but when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits, you want someone with that knowledge on your side.
Wrongful Death Lawyers in Kansas City can Help
Wrongful death cases are among the most tragic claims that attorneys have to help with. It’s sad enough when someone’s negligence or reckless acts cause serious injuries, but when such actions lead to death, the accident victim isn’t the only victim. While nothing can bring back a lost loved one, surviving family members can seek compensation and justice for their loss. Even if authorities do not pursue criminal charges against a negligent party, you can still file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit to hold the liable party accountable for their actions.
At Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, our personal injury law firm has extensive and practical experience representing grieving family members in wrongful death cases. We know that nothing compares to losing a loved one, and dealing with an insurance company or filing litigation during your time of loss is not desirable. Let the personal injury attorneys at Mohlman Gurney Injury Law take on some of these burdens. Contact us today by calling (816) 648-6000 to schedule a free consultation. Our team of wrongful death lawyers in Kansas City, MO, will fight diligently to make sure those responsible for your loved one’s death are held accountable.