How do I find an excellent attorney or lawyer in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois for a wrongful death to a loved one caused by a car, truck, semi or motorcycle accident?
When a loved one is lost due to the negligence or misconduct of others, the victim's close relatives have a right to collect compensation under tort laws in all 50 states. However, each state's wrongful death laws differ significantly. In seeking to file a wrongful death suit in Kansas, here are some of the basic legal facts you need to be aware of:
How Kansas Law Defines a Wrongful Death
Kansas defines a wrongful death as occurring whenever the "wrongful act or omission" of one person results in the death of another person. It is not necessary that the act or omission was intentional, and wrongful deaths are, in fact, typically also accidental deaths.
Kansas statutes go on to state that someone may file a wrongful death suit in the stead of the deceased if the victim could have filed a personal injury suit had he/she lived.
Any "heir at law" of the deceased can legally file the wrongful-death lawsuit, but it is usually filed by, or on behalf of, the party to whom the damages would be paid. This is typically the deceased's spouse, child, parents, or sibling.
Finally, note that a wrongful death suit can be filed against the at-fault party's estate if that person is deceased. This is often the case when both drivers die in a car crash and a suit is filed against the responsible party by the victim's spouse or other family member.
K.S.A. 60-1901. Cause of action. (a) If the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, an action may be maintained for the damages resulting therefrom if the former might have maintained the action had such person lived, in accordance with the provisions of this article, against the wrongdoer, or such wrongdoer's personal representative if such wrongdoer is deceased.
What Kind of Damages Adhere to Wrongful Death Claims?
The deceased's heir(s) can collect for financial damages, pain and suffering, and emotional loss. Some specific areas where compensation is calculated include:
- Funeral/burial expenses
- The deceased's medical bills related to the accident
- Lost wages of the deceased that would have gone to the heir
- Household services performed by the deceased
- Restoration costs for any property damage resulting from the accident
- Loss of companionship
The above-listed damages have no cap but are simply calculated and applied as is. Damages for pain and suffering, however, are capped in Kansas at a quarter million dollars.
You may be able to bring a claim for conscious pain and suffering of the decedent incurred prior to his death. You may also be able to bring Wentling damages in Kansas which make these kinds of damages economic in nature.
Many settlements can be made without ever having to go to court. A skilled lawyer whom the opposing party knows has a record of winning in court will increase "negotiation clout" and is likely to get full and fair compensation.
Be aware of the two-year statute of limitations in Kansas on wrongful death lawsuits. You must file your suit within two years of the deceased's date of death or lose the right to do so forever.
Finally, the settlement amount will often be distributed among several heirs and a separate hearing will be necessary to establish the exact manner in which this will be done.
Understanding how Kansas defines wrongful death, what types of compensation you can expect to collect, and other aspects of Kansas tort law will help you avoid unnecessary confusion and stress during the process of fighting for your claim. Only a skilled attorney will be able to maximize your chances of winning a fair settlement.
Contact Us Today For Help
Brad Pistotnik Law has handled numerous Kansas wrongful death cases with great success in the past and has the intricate knowledge of Kansas law and courtroom procedures necessary to win you the maximum compensation in as little time as possible.
Brad Pistotnik can be reached for a free legal consultation 24/7 by calling 800-241-BRAD, 316-684-4400, or 316-706-5020 (his cell number). You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237/
Pistotnik Law is based out of Wichita, KS, but serves the entire state, including many clients in Dodge City, Liberal, Garden City, Topeka, Kansas City, Great Bend, Pittsburg, Manhattan, Abilene, Arkansas City, Newton, and Emporia.