Losing a loved one is one of the most painful experiences a person can endure. This experience is even more heart-wrenching when someone else’s negligence caused the fatal event. If you lost someone due to the actions of another person or entity, you could hold the at-fault party accountable through a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Kansas City attorneys at Goza & Honnold, LLC understand how difficult these situations can be. We have represented hundreds of Missouri residents in their wrongful death claims, advocating aggressively for maximum recovery. We will fight tirelessly to secure the compensation you and your family deserve.
Why Choose Us
- Our attorneys practice empathy and honesty throughout your case. We will take the time to learn your loved one’s story and answer any questions you may have.
- Our firm has a track record of successful settlements and verdicts. We have recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
- We provide vigorous representation during each stage of your case, from negotiation to trial. We will always advocate for your loved one’s best interests each step of the way.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri?
A wrongful death occurs when another person’s negligence is responsible for the fatal injury or illness. Under Missouri Revised Statutes section 537.080, a death is wrongful if the victim could have recovered damages if he or she had survived the accident. Simply put, if your loved one would have been eligible for a personal injury lawsuit, your family is eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
However, only certain people may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased person. First, the surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren of the deceased may file. Parents may also file a claim on behalf of their deceased son or daughter. If the deceased did not have a surviving spouse or any surviving children, grandchildren, or parents, his or her siblings may file the claim.
If no surviving family members are able to file a claim, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may bring this lawsuit to civil court. The deceased will have identified the personal representative in his or her will. If the deceased did not name one, the court may appoint a plaintiff ad litem, or a court-appointed representative to act on behalf of a person or estate, to file the wrongful death claim.
Potential Damages in Kansas City Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Unlike personal injury lawsuits, where a plaintiff can recover compensation for any accident-related loss he or she endured, wrongful death plaintiffs can only recover certain types of damages. These damages fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages concern the tangible financial losses your family and the deceased’s estate incurred due to his or her death. You can recover compensation related to your loved one’s final expenses, including funeral and burial expenses and medical bills for his or her final injury or illness. You may also recover the value of wages and benefits your loved one would have earned if he or she survived the accident.
Non-economic damages concern the physical and emotional pain and suffering your family and your loved one experienced due to his or her death. Common types of non-economic damages in wrongful death claims include the following:
- The pain and suffering your loved one experienced before death.
- Loss of consortium, companionship, and support from your loved one.
- The reasonable value of services the deceased provided to the surviving family members before his or her death, such as the value of child care or eldercare.
Calculating wrongful death damages can be difficult without an attorney on your side. The Kansas City wrongful death attorneys at Goza & Honnold, LLC can review your case and advise you and your family of the compensation you qualify for.
How to Prove a Wrongful Death Claim
Like personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death claims rely on the presence of negligence. A person acts in negligence if he or she fails to uphold a duty of care in some way, either through a negligent act or failure to act. To secure compensation for your loved one’s passing, you and your lawyer will need to provide evidence to satisfy the following elements of negligence.
- Duty: The at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care. This duty will depend on the circumstances surrounding the wrongful death.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault party breached his or her duty of care in some way.
- Causation: The at-fault party’s breach of duty directly caused your loved one’s death.
- Damages: Your family and your loved one suffered damages due to the at-fault party’s actions that you can collect through the wrongful death claim.
You can prove each of these elements by gathering evidence such as medical records, surveillance footage, witness testimony, and photographs. If you need to prove technical elements such as the nature of your loved one’s injuries or how an act of malpractice resulted in death, your attorney can enlist the help of expert witnesses. These experts, which may include medical professionals, accident reconstructionists, and economists, can validate your claims and provide testimony on your loved one’s behalf.
The Statute of Limitations for Missouri Civil Lawsuits
Like many civil lawsuits, wrongful death claims in Missouri must adhere to a deadline known as the statute of limitations. This statutory rule sets a time limit for filing claims against negligent parties. Statutes of limitations ensure that evidence is fresh, witnesses are reliable, and potentially liable parties are not constantly under the threat of litigation.
You have three years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a Missouri wrongful death lawsuit. If you do not file your claim by the time this deadline passes, the court will almost certainly dismiss your claim and you will lose your chance at seeking justice for your loved one. To ensure you meet the statute of limitations, speak to an attorney at Goza & Honnold, LLC to discuss your legal options and begin the litigation process.
Contact Goza & Honnold, LLC Today
If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person, you can seek justice through a wrongful death lawsuit. Trust the Kansas City wrongful death attorneys at Goza & Honnold, LLC to hold the at-fault party accountable and recover the compensation you and your family deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options.