Going through the unexpected loss of a loved one can bring up a variety of mixed emotions. Most of us simply aren’t prepared for the gravity of such a tragedy—which is compounded twofold if you lost someone you love in an accident caused by another party’s negligence.
You shouldn’t have to deal with seeking justice all on your own. A compassionate and skilled Kansas City wrongful death lawyer can work with you to determine the economic and non-economic damages of your loved one’s accident.
Grounds for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Some of the most common reasons for filing a wrongful death claim are:
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products or medications
- Slip and fall incidents
Only immediate family members and financial dependents can file a wrongful death claim. You must be connected to the loved one you lost in one of these significant ways. However, sometimes distant relatives can file a wrongful death claim depending on the circumstances.
The hardest part of filing a wrongful death claim is proving negligence. You and your legal team must identify what caused your loved one’s passing and why the other party is at fault. This requires submitting evidence such as:
- Witness statements
- Expert witness testimonies
What Damages Could I Be Compensated For?
Wrongful death damages are similar to personal injury damages. Depending on the situation, you might be compensated for economic damages such as:
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost earning capacity if you depended on your loved one’s income
These damages all describe a loss to an estate, meaning the loss of expenses related to the loss of a loved one. You can prove some of these with receipts and records, while others may require witness testimony. Your legal counsel will advise you on the best course of action.
Another evaluated damage, which is loss of the accumulations to an estate, refers to situations when the inherited value of the estate would have been larger without the loved one’s death. In other words, the surviving family would have inherited more if their loved one had not passed away sooner than later. However, this may not always hold up in court.
Your attorney might also seek non-economic damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
Finally, if the case needs to go to court for a proper settlement, it’s possible the judge may award punitive damages. Punitive damages are only designated in specific cases where the defendant’s actions are so egregious and especially harmful to the plaintiff. Most lawsuits do not involve punitive damages, but they are awarded on rare occasions.