Kansas City Wrongful Death Attorneys
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri
When a person dies due to the negligent or wrongful act of another person or party, members of the victim’s family have the right to seek monetary damages in a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. However, there are certain limitations that have been placed on wrongful death lawsuits in Missouri and in other states in the U.S.
If your loved one was tragically killed in an accident or after sustaining injuries caused by someone else’s negligent or wrongful conduct, we at Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, Chtd. offer our sincerest condolences. We are here to help you seek justice and fair financial compensation for the unexpected challenges you have been forced to face. While no amount of monetary recovery can truly compensate you for what you and your family have endured, a successful wrongful death claim can provide you with the resources and justice you need to heal.
To learn more, please contact us at (816) 542-5999. Your initial consultation is completely free and confidential, and we do not collect any attorneys’ fees unless we win your case.
What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death Claim?
When someone dies due to the fault of another person or entity—whether by accident or otherwise—certain surviving family members may be justified in pursuing compensation for their loss, including lost wages from the deceased, lost companionship, funeral expenses, or even mental anguish and emotional trauma.
Every state has some form of wrongful death law involving all types of fatal accidents, from car accidents to complicated medical malpractice or product liability cases. Persons, companies, and governmental agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently, which occurs when they fail to act as a reasonable person would have acted, or for acting with deliberate attempt to cause harm or death.
Who May Bring a Claim & Under What Circumstances?
You and others in your immediate family who have suffered from the loss of love, companionship, and/or loss of financial support of a deceased loved one are entitled to just compensation.
In Missouri, the following individuals (in order) may file a wrongful death action:
- The surviving spouse/domestic partner of the deceased
- The deceased’s surviving child/children
- The deceased’s surviving grandchild/grandchildren
- The surviving parent(s) of the deceased
- The surviving sibling(s) of the deceased
If the deceased has no surviving spouse/domestic partner, children, grandchildren, parent, or sibling, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file a wrongful death claim. If no such representative exists, the court may appoint one.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
Damages for wrongful death may be claimed by the victim’s dependents. Dependents may include minor children, a spouse, or the dependent parents of the deceased victim. In certain cases, the victim’s siblings may have the right to claim compensation for wrongful death, but limitations have been set on the legal claimants for a wrongful death lawsuit. Only one wrongful death lawsuit may be initiated for the set of facts in question.
The victim’s claimants or dependents or their legal representative must present evidence to support their case alleging wrongful death. Since this is a civil lawsuit, wrongful death lawsuits have a relatively lower degree of proof than a criminal trial. Wrongful death lawsuits do not need to meet the high standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” that applies in a criminal case. The burden of proving the case, however, lies with the claimants, and they must do so by a preponderance of the evidence. The plaintiffs can present their evidence before either a judge or a jury.
Damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit in Missouri include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses incurred prior to death
- Loss of support, guidance, comfort, and companionship
- Pain and suffering experienced by the decedent after the injury and prior to death
No damages are recoverable for grief or bereavement on the part of surviving family members and/or loved ones.
How Our Legal Team Can Help Your Family
Wrongful death lawsuits can be very complex. If you believe a loved one’s death was caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of a person or company, an experienced Kansas City wrongful death lawyer at our firm can help you evaluate your options.
At Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, Chtd., we understand the emotional issues that arise after losing a family member. Allow us to sit down with you to discuss the specific circumstances of your loved one’s death and to help you through this very difficult time. You can rely on our team to take care of the legal matters so you and your family can cope emotionally. While monetary damages cannot make your life the same, they will help you to pay the necessary expenses so that you can begin to move forward with your life.