Distributing Wrongful Death Settlements in Missouri & Kansas?
A wrongful death claim arises when a person dies because of another person's negligence or wrongdoing. Automobile accidents, slip and fall accidents, and other personal injury accidents can result in a wrongful death claim. The laws regarding wrongful death claims in Missouri and Kansas are similar, but there are a few key differences. One difference is how wrongful death settlements are divided in Missouri and Kansas.
If a loved one has passed away and you have a question about a wrongful death claim, please call our wrongful death lawyer in Kansas City at 816-203-0143. We handle wrongful death claims throughout Missouri and Kansas and provide free, confidential consultations.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Kansas and Missouri?
In Missouri, the surviving spouse, children, parents and grandchildren can file a wrongful death claim. They are considered in the first class of people who can file a wrongful death claim. The deceased person's parents are also considered to be in the first class of people who can file a claim. When a minor child dies, the parents file the claim.
The second category of individuals who can file a wrongful death claim is the deceased person's siblings. They can file a claim if there are no surviving relatives in the first category. If there are no surviving siblings, any siblings' descendants have the right to file the claim. If there are no individuals in the second class, the person's personal representative may file the wrongful death claim, or the court may appoint someone to file the claim.
In Kansas, the rules are slightly different. Any heir at law who sustained a loss because of their family member's death can file a wrongful death claim. An heir at law is someone who can inherit from the person's probate estate.
In both states, a person with a right to file a claim for wrongful death can share in the proceeds of a lawsuit, regardless of whether they joined in the lawsuit.
How Are the Proceeds Split Between Heirs in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri and Kansas?
The rules are slightly different between Missouri and Kansas regarding the distribution of funds from a wrongful death claim.
In Missouri wrongful death claims, the proceeds are paid to the class that filed the claim. Regardless of whether they participated in the lawsuit, the individuals included in the class agree on how to divide the proceeds among the individuals in the class. If the parties cannot agree among themselves how to divide the proceeds, the court decides after hearing evidence from the concerned parties.
The rules for distributing the proceeds of a wrongful death claim in Kansas are different. First, the decedent's estate is reimbursed for any costs that it incurred in bringing a wrongful death claim. The remaining proceeds are distributed to the heirs at law. The amount of the proceeds each heir receives is based on the loss sustained by that heir.
If an heir did not participate in the wrongful death claim, the heir could still receive compensation based on the heir's loss. The heir may also sign a waiver of their portion of the recovery.
The court generally holds a hearing to determine how the proceeds of the wrongful death claim are divided. Generally, a surviving spouse or child is assumed to have suffered a more significant loss than a distant relative, so they receive more compensation than the distant relative.
Do I Need to Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Kansas City?
Wrongful death claims are complicated personal injury cases. The rules for filing claims and distributing proceeds can be difficult to understand. Family members may argue about their rights to file a claim or their position of the proceeds. Hiring an experienced Kansas City wrongful death lawyer to handle the case can be helpful. A lawyer may act as a calm, impartial party to mediate a disagreement between the parties by explaining the wrongful death laws in their state.
An attorney understands the legal requirements for proving a wrongful death claim. An experienced wrongful death attorney will gather evidence to support each legal requirement to build a case for fault and liability. When the proceeds are received, a lawyer can assist family members in ensuring the proceeds are divided according to the law.
Wrongful death cases can be stressful for family members. The death of a family member is difficult in any situation. However, when the death was preventable, it can cause additional grief for family members. Hiring an attorney to take care of the case allows family members to focus on moving forward and taking care of the family's needs.
Contact a Kansas City Wrongful Death Lawyer for More Information
If you have questions about wrongful death claims in Missouri or Kansas, contact The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus to speak with a lawyer. Call 816-203-0143 to request a free consultation with a wrongful death lawyer in Kansas City.