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Kansas City Wrongful Death Lawyer

The loss of a loved one is a tragic event. While the passing of a family member is almost always a life-changing occurrence, an untimely death resulting from another person’s negligence can be particularly difficult to cope with.

Fortunately, Missouri law allows surviving family members or a personal representative of the decedent to seek justice by holding negligent parties liable for causing the wrongful death of someone else. A Kansas City wrongful death lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help if you are a surviving spouse or another family member of the decedent looking to file a case in civil court for the serious injuries that resulted in that person’s death.

There's no risk in meeting with an experienced wrongful death attorney from our Kansas City, MO law firm for a free consultation. So, reach out to our law office to schedule a free case evaluation so one of our lawyers can advise you of your right to file a wrongful death action today.
Call us at 502.473.6540 or fill out this form.

How Common Is Wrongful Death?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 170,000 annual deaths in the United States stem from accidents. That same governmental data shows that some of the most common causes of wrongful deaths in this country include:

  • Unintentional falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Accidental poisonings

Other incidents that our Kansas City wrongful death attorneys often see that result in a person’s premature passing include:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Workplace accidents
  • Nursing home abuse and neglect
  • Dangerous property scenarios
  • Defective products
  • Physical assaults

No matter what situation resulted in your loved one’s death, it’s important to understand your family’s legal rights and options. Wrongful death laws are established at the state level, so it’s important to work with an experienced local personal injury attorney who will know what statutes apply to your wrongful death claim.

Missouri Wrongful Death Laws

Missouri Revised Statutes §537.080 discuss legal actions associated with a wrongful death, including:

  • Who is allowed to sue
  • Limitations that surround this type of litigation

How Is Wrongful Death Defined in Missouri?

According to the above-referenced Missouri law, wrongful death is the passing of a person that results from “any act, conduct, occurrence, transaction, or circumstance which, if death had not ensued, would have entitled such person to recover damage in respect thereof.” In other words, if your loved one had survived their fatal accident and would have been legally eligible to pursue a personal injury claim, your family also has the right to file a wrongful death claim.

Who Can File a Kansas City Wrongful Death Claim?

It’s important to understand that not just anyone can file this type of wrongful death claim. Generally, surviving family members would be eligible to do so in order of their closeness to the victim. This includes natural or adopted and legitimate or illegitimate persons.

In Missouri, a surviving spouse or child has the primary ability to file a wrongful death action. When decedents don’t have surviving spouses or children, parents and surviving siblings may qualify to file wrongful death cases on their deceased loved one’s behalf.

If a decedent doesn’t have any direct surviving family members, the court may appoint a plaintiff ad litem—which is someone appointed by the court at the request of the people who are the decedent’s legal heirs. That appointee can then file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit on behalf of the estate.

Statutes of Limitations That Apply to Missouri Wrongful Death Cases

It’s important to note that all wrongful death claims are subject to a statute of limitations. It limits how long the plaintiff has to file their wrongful death case.

In Missouri, wrongful death lawsuits must generally be filed within three years of the date of the deceased’s passing. If that deadline is not met, the court will likely dismiss any such wrongful death cases without review, thus voiding any potential opportunity to recover financial compensation.

When someone loses their life because of someone else’s negligence, surviving family members can pursue a claim to seek compensation and thus justice for what happened. If your family is in a situation like this, a Kansas City wrongful death lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help. Call or email us to meet with an attorney for your free consultation to discuss how you should proceed after losing a loved one due to a wrongful act.

How To Prove a Kansas City Wrongful Death Case

To successfully prove a wrongful death case, your personal injury lawyer will help you collect evidence related to the concept of negligence. Negligence, in general, is the disregard for others’ wellbeing.

If, for example, a person is driving through a green light at an intersection and a speeding car illegally passes through the red light and hits them, the driver who disregarded the rules of the road can be found at fault and held accountable for any of the consequences associated with the auto accident.

As another example, if a physician fails to adequately diagnose a patient in a timely fashion that any other doctor with similar training would have been able to, the initial provider’s deviation from the standard of care could constitute medical negligence. If those delays result in a patient undergoing medical treatment that they didn’t need, which caused a deterioration of their health and their subsequent death, then the physician could face a wrongful death lawsuit for their delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.

Elements You Must Establish in Proving Kansas City Wrongful Death Claims

You or your attorneys must establish four elements to prove negligence, thus warranting the filing of a wrongful death case.

Establishing How a Duty of Care Was Owed

First, you or your wrongful death lawyer will need to prove that the at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care to keep the now-deceased person safe.

Using the auto accident example from above, all drivers owe their fellow motorists and pedestrians a duty of care when operating their vehicles. Another example of how a defendant owed a duty of care would be a property owner. They are the responsible party for ensuring that their Kansas City, MO property is safe for visitors.

Proving That There Was a Breach of Duty

Once a duty of care has been established, you or your wrongful death attorney will need to prove how the defendant breached their duty of care. Evidence to establish this element may be found in a police report if one was filed, or expert testimony may be required—particularly in the event of a surgical error, childbirth injury, or some other medical malpractice situation.

Establishing Causation in Wrongful Death Cases

Your Kansas City wrongful death lawyer will then help you show how the breach of duty led to the fatal injuries your loved one incurred.

Documenting How the Wrongful Death Resulted in Damages

Finally, you and your wrongful death attorney will need to prove that there were losses sustained. Medical bills are one type of documentation that can serve as evidence of this.

Understanding liability standards that apply to wrongful death cases isn’t easy. The insurance company representing the negligent party who caused your family member’s death will aggressively fight to deny responsibility for the incident and the damages your family suffered to keep their potential settlement costs low.

Our Kansas City wrongful death attorneys won't let insurance company tactics deter us from advocating for you and your deceased family member. Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation with Missouri lawyers who are willing to fight for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages you so desperately deserve and need.
Call us at 502.473.6540 or fill out this form.

Damages You Can Recover by Filing a Kansas City Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Attorneys at our Kansas City law firm will often outline the different types of damages clients can recover by filing wrongful death claims if they can establish all the elements described above.

Losses may include pecuniary damages, which refer to financial damages family members incurred due to losing their loved one due to someone else’s negligence.

Examples of economic damages that a Thomas Law Offices attorney can help you file a wrongful death claim to recover include:

  • Medical expenses associated with attempts to save your loved one before they succumbed to their catastrophic injuries
  • Funeral expenses and burial costs
  • Lost wages

Noneconomic damages you may be eligible to recover in the aftermath of your loved one’s wrongful death include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional pain
  • Loss of consortium, companionship, comfort, guidance, counsel, and support

Economic damages and noneconomic losses aside, punitive damages are also recoverable in wrongful death cases. Unlike economic damages, for example, a judge must award punitive damages. The Court often makes such awards when gross negligence resulted in a fatal accident that caused your loved one’s death, even if there wasn’t any criminal conviction.

How Our Attorneys Can Help You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s actions or inaction, consider getting in touch with a Kansas City wrongful death lawyer from our law firm, Thomas Law Offices, as soon as possible. The earlier you get a wrongful death claim filed, the better your chances are of receiving full and fair compensation for what your loved one and family have been put through.

We understand that you may be uncomfortable with the idea of trying to recover compensation for your familial loss. However, filing a wrongful death lawsuit is important to protect and secure your family’s financial future. Doing so is especially important if you relied on your deceased loved one’s monetary support.

You can count on our Thomas Law Offices attorneys to help you build your wrongful death claim carefully and respectfully. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is the one way our Missouri legal system allows us to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions.

If you’re ready to pursue a wrongful death claim, schedule a free case evaluation with one of the many experienced wrongful death lawyers at our law firm. We’ll review your situation and help you determine how best to proceed based on your family’s unique circumstances.

Know that since our wrongful death lawyers at our Kansas City law firm, Thomas Law Offices, work on a contingency fee basis, you won’t owe us for our representation of your case unless we recover a settlement for you. Contact us today to learn more about moving forward with your legal claim.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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