Kansas City Wrongful Death Attorneys

Fighting for the Memory of Your Loved Ones

At the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr, we understand the profound heartache and uncertainty that surrounds families facing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Our compassionate Kansas City wrongful death lawyers are committed to standing by your side during this challenging time, offering not only our extensive knowledge of complex liability laws but also a listening ear and a kind heart. We are dedicated to seeking justice on behalf of your late loved one and working tirelessly to ensure you feel as if a sense of closure was achieved through a successful wrongful death claim.

We can help clients in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and beyond (for select cases). Call (816) 597-4556 to request a free, confidential case review.

Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths

A wrongful death is one that occurs due to another party's negligence or intentional misdeeds. Negligence refers to a failure to exercise the care that the average reasonable person would under the same circumstances, while an intentional act is a deliberate action that results in harm, such as a violent attack. At our law firm, we have vast experience in managing a spectrum of wrongful death claims, covering many types of fatal accidents and incidents.

Common causes of wrongful deaths that often lead to a claim or lawsuit include:

  • Car accidents: These often occur due to factors like drunk driving, reckless driving, or breaking traffic laws.
  • Truck accidents: Given the size and weight of commercial trucks, accidents involving them can lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
  • Motorcycle accidents: Lack of protection makes motorcyclists particularly vulnerable in collisions, which can result in wrongful deaths.
  • Medical malpractice: This can include surgical errors, misdiagnosis, improper treatment, or neglect, all of which can cause fatal outcomes.
  • Defective products: Faulty appliances, unsafe drugs, and other defective products can lead to fatalities and subsequent wrongful death lawsuits.
  • Slip-and-fall accidents: Particularly dangerous for seniors, these accidents can result in severe head and back injuries leading to fatalities.

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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The eligibility to file a wrongful death lawsuit can vary considerably from state to state. Each state has its own rules for wrongful death claims and who can file them, like different family members and interested parties. Our attorneys can represent clients in Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas, as well as other states for select cases, so we’d be happy to explain if you can file a wrongful death claim or if the option belongs to another party.

In general, the following parties are typically allowed to file a wrongful death claim:

  • Immediate family members: Immediate family members like spouses and children (including adopted children) and parents of unmarried children can file a wrongful death lawsuit in most states and most circumstances.
  • Life partners, financial Dependents, and putative spouses: In some states, a domestic or life partner, anyone who was financially dependent on the deceased, or a "putative spouse" (a person who had a good faith belief that he or she was married to the deceased) can file a claim.
  • Distant family members: Some states allow more distant family members, such as brothers, sisters, and grandparents, to file wrongful death lawsuits.
  • Estate representatives: The representative of the deceased person’s estate might be given the first opportunity to file a wrongful death claim that benefits the estate.

It is also important to know that states tend to have an order of filing rights. If the first party doesn’t want to file a wrongful death claim, then the second party in the order could get the chance, and so on.

Proving a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Wrongful death lawsuits in Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas share some common elements, but there may be nuances specific to each state's laws. Here are the general elements you typically must prove to succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit in both Kansas and Missouri: 

  1. Duty of Care: You must establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. This duty of care could arise from various relationships, such as employer-employee, doctor-patient, or driver-passenger.
  2. Breach of Duty: You need to show that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the deceased. This means demonstrating that the defendant failed to act as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances, thereby causing harm.
  3. Causation: You must prove that the defendant's breach of duty was the direct cause of the deceased's death. This involves establishing a causal link between the defendant's actions (or inaction) and the fatal outcome.
  4. Damages: You need to demonstrate the specific damages resulting from the wrongful death, such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and the pain and suffering endured by the deceased before death.

In Missouri and Arkansas, you must prove that the death resulted from a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another party. You must also establish the relationship between the deceased and the beneficiaries who are seeking damages. Additionally, damages may include the reasonable value of the services, consortium, companionship, comfort, instruction, guidance, counsel, training, and support the beneficiaries have lost as a result of the death.

In Kansas, the plaintiff must also show that the deceased could have pursued a personal injury claim had they survived. This means proving that the deceased suffered injuries or damages that would have entitled them to compensation if they had lived. 

Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

In a wrongful death lawsuit, damages are awarded to compensate the survivors for their loss, as well as the estate for any financial expenses it paid related to the fatal injury, illness, or incident. The types of damages that might be available can indeed vary from state to state, but typically they fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages relate to quantifiable financial losses and may include:

  • Medical and funeral expenses: Any costs associated with medical care before death or funeral and burial expenses.
  • Loss of victim's expected earnings: This refers to the amount of money the deceased would likely have earned if they had lived.
  • Loss of benefits: This could include pension plans or medical coverage that the deceased would have received.
  • Loss of inheritance: An estimate of the value that the deceased may have added to the estate and left to the survivors.
  • Value of goods and services: A measure of the loss of services or care that the deceased provided.

Non-economic damages are more subjective, non-monetary losses and may include:

  • Loss of love, companionship, or comfort: Often referred to as "loss of consortium," these damages are meant to compensate for the emotional distress caused by the loss of loved ones.
  • Loss of guidance: This non-economic damage is particularly relevant when the deceased is a parent of minor children.
  • Pain and suffering or mental anguish: Some jurisdictions allow survivors to claim damages for the emotional pain and suffering they experience because of the untimely death of their loved one. 
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      Wrongful Death Claim Statute of Limitations

      The statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum period that you can wait before filing a lawsuit. In the context of wrongful death claims, this period begins from the date of the deceased person's death, not on the date they were initially injured or stricken ill. 

      Our wrongful death lawyers mostly handle wrongful death claims in these states with these statutes of limitations:

      • Kansas: 2 years
      • Arkansas: 3 years
      • Missouri: 3 years

      If a wrongful claim isn't filed within the applicable statute of limitations, you are likely to lose your right to recover damages. Exceptions to these time limits exist but they are rare, so you should not depend on them. Assume you only have a short amount of time to get a case moving, and call (816) 597-4556 today.

      Will Your Wrongful Death Case Go to Court?

      While a wrongful death case might go to court, many wrongful death claims with viable arguments, convincing evidence of liability, and the leadership of an experienced wrongful death attorney are settled out of court. Our Kansas City wrongful death attorneys can negotiate for a fair settlement in a confidential setting on your behalf.

      However, if the defendant denies liability or if there's a dispute over the amount of damages owed to you, the case may go to trial. Even in situations where a lawsuit is filed, it may still be settled before the trial begins. Ultimately, our team will be ready for anything because we have trial attorneys who are highly familiar with courtroom procedures and the challenges of litigation.

      Talk to Lawyers Who Truly Care – Call Now

      Trust the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr. to handle your Kansas City wrongful death claim with utmost professionalism and compassion. Our dedicated team is committed to pursuing justice for your loved one while letting you focus on the healthy process of grieving. With our extensive experience and deep understanding of wrongful death law, we will strive to secure the maximum compensation that you deserve. Your journey toward healing may be challenging, but rest assured, you will not walk alone. We're here to help shoulder your legal burdens, allowing you to focus on honoring your loved one's memory and rebuilding your life.

      Here are some of the advantages of working with us:

      • Legal Skills: We have extensive experience and knowledge in handling wrongful death cases. Our team understands the intricacies of Arkansas laws pertaining to wrongful death and can navigate the legal system effectively on your behalf.
      • Investigation and Evidence Gathering: We will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one. This may involve gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, consulting experts, and analyzing relevant documentation to build a strong case.
      • Case Preparation and Strategy: Our firm will develop a personalized legal strategy tailored to the specific details of your case. We will meticulously prepare your case for negotiation or trial, ensuring that every aspect is thoroughly addressed to maximize your chances of success.
      • Representation in Negotiations: We will represent your interests during negotiations with insurance companies, liable parties, and their legal representatives. Our goal is to secure a fair and just settlement that adequately compensates you for your losses.
      • Courtroom Advocacy: In the event that your case goes to trial, we will provide vigorous advocacy on your behalf in the courtroom. Our attorneys are skilled litigators who will present your case persuasively to the judge and jury, fighting for the justice you deserve.
      • Compassionate Support: Dealing with the loss of a loved one is incredibly difficult, and we understand the emotional toll it can take. Our firm provides compassionate support and guidance throughout the legal process, offering a shoulder to lean on during this challenging time.
      • Maximizing Compensation: We will work tirelessly to pursue maximum compensation for your damages, including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. Our goal is to help you achieve financial security and peace of mind for the future.

      We’re client-focused and results-driven. See what we mean by calling (816) 597-4556 at any time.

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