Kansas has certain laws that define what is considered a "wrongful death". Kansas law also describes who may file a wrongful death claim, what damages can be recovered and other aspects of how wrongful death lawsuits shall proceed in court.
Most states have wrongful death laws, but the specifics vary across jurisdictions. As a result, if a wrongful death is governed by Kansas law, it is important to know how the wrongful death statutes in Kansas will impact the claim.
If you have lost a family member because of another party’s actions, there are four facts that you need to know about Kansas wrongful death lawsuits. These facts can help you decide what to do and also help you avoid mistakes that could cause you and your family to lose your right to file a claim. If you still have questions about a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, call our Kansas wrongful death attorney for a free consultation at 816-203-0143.
Four Facts About Kansas Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Four important facts that all families should know about wrongful death lawsuits in Kansas are:
1. What is Considered a Wrongful Death?
Article 19 of Chapter 60 of the Kansas Statutes governs wrongful death actions. The statute states that wrongful death is the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or omission by another party.
The statute also covers the wrongful death of an unborn child unless the death of the child was by acts committed by the mother, a lawful medical procedure, the dispensation of lawfully prescribed medications, or a legal abortion.
A wrongful death action may arise from a variety of accidents or circumstances. Wrongful death claims are commonly related to:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including fatal car accidents, motorcycle wrecks and truck crashes
- Premises liability claims
- Nursing home abuse
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Intentional acts of violence
- Sports and recreational activities
Whenever a person causes the death of another person through negligence or intentional wrongdoing, it is a good idea to talk with a Kanas City wrongful death lawyer to determine whether the family members have a wrongful death claim against the party who caused their loved one’s death.
2. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kansas?
Any heir at law that has sustained a loss because of the death of a family member can file a wrongful death lawsuit under Kansas law. An heir at law is someone who can inherit from the deceased’s estate. The Kansas wrongful death statute allows any heir who sustained damages to intervene in the case, even though the person did not join the original lawsuit.
In most cases, the surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, and grandparents may join in the wrongful death lawsuit. However, the law states that the wrongful death lawsuit benefits all heirs at law, regarding of whether the heir jointed the action.
3. What Damages Are Recoverable in a Kansas Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Damages that may be recovered in a Kansas wrongful death lawsuit include, but may not be limited to:
- Reasonable funeral expenses
- Bereavement, suffering, and mental anguish
- Loss of attention, marital care, counsel, and advice
- Loss of parental care, guidance, training, or education
- Loss of companionship, society, protection, and comfort
- Loss of attention or filial care
Even though the statute only lists the above categories of damages, the damages in a wrongful death case are not limited to these categories of damages. If an heir at law can prove that he or she sustained other damages, the heir may receive compensation for those damages.
Therefore, a family may receive compensation for other damages, including:
- Medical expenses from the date of injury through the date of death
- Loss of financial contributions that the person would have made had he or she lived
- The value of household services contributed by the person had he or she lived
Kansas wrongful death laws cap the compensation a family can receive for non-economic losses. Non-economic losses are the pain and suffering caused by the loss of a family member. The cap on pain and suffering losses in a wrongful death case is $250,000. There is not a cap on financial losses in a wrongful death lawsuit.
After a jury reaches a verdict, the judge conducts a hearing to divide the compensation among the heirs at law. The judge divides the damages according to each heir’s loss. Surviving spouses and children tend to receive the largest shares because there were dependent upon the deceased and were the closest in relation to the deceased. It is generally presumed that they would suffer the greatest from the loss of the family member.
4. What is the Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kansas?
A Statute of Limitations is a deadline for filing a lawsuit. There are different deadlines for different types of cases. For most wrongful death claims in Kansas, the deadline to file a lawsuit is two years from the date of death.
However, there could be circumstances that change the deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Kansas. While it may be difficult for family members to think about lawsuits after losing a loved one, it is generally best to consult with a Kansas City wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
An attorney reviews the circumstances of the case, calculates the deadline for filing a lawsuit, and begins to gather evidence to prove that the party responsible for your loved one’s death is held accountable for his or her negligence and wrongdoing.
Do I Need to Contact a Kansas City Wrongful Death Lawyer?
If your loved one’s death was caused by the negligent or intentional conduct of another, our experienced wrongful death attorney in Kansas will help you hold the person accountable. Even if a person is not charged with a crime or is found not guilty, the family can still pursue a wrongful death claim in civil court.
Our experienced wrongful death attorneys are here to help you during this difficult time in your life. You're not alone, and we understand that legal matters can be overwhelming, especially as you're dealing with the grief of losing a family member. We're sensitive to the situation and will do everything within our power to make the process as easy as possible for you and your family.
Call us today at 816-203-0143 for a free consultation with our wrongful death attorney to discuss seeking justice for your family.