Pittsburg Wrongful Death Lawyer Helps Grieving Kansas Families
Experienced attorney provides skilled and sensitive legal representation
A tragic accident that takes the life of a beloved family member changes your life forever. While the shock, grief and lingering sense of loss haunt you, legal relief is available to address one aspect of the loss. For 30 years, Patrick C. Smith, Attorney at Law has helped clients in Pittsburg and throughout Kansas and Missouri seek justice through the civil court system. Although no amount of money can ever replace someone who was close to you, a wrongful death lawsuit gives you the chance to hold a negligent party accountable and recover funds to ease the financial strain triggered by the fatality.
What is a wrongful death case?
Throughout the United States, about 130,000 people die from accidental injuries each year, making accidental injury the fourth-leading cause of death nationwide. Within this category, the most common types of fatalities are:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Unintentional poisoning (including drug overdoses)
Not every accidental death gives rise to a wrongful death action. As with a personal injury case, the plaintiff must be able to prove that four legal elements exist:
- Duty — The person alleged to have caused the death must have had a duty to act carefully so as not to harm the decedent. In auto and truck accident cases, the defendant has a general duty to drive safely. In medical malpractice cases, a healthcare provider is required to meet professional standards.
- Breach — There must be evidence that the defendant did not take reasonable care, but acted negligently, recklessly or deliberately, causing harm to the decedent.
- Causation — A plaintiff needs to show that the breach of duty by the defendant was a wrongful act or omission that directly harmed the victim, resulting in death.
- Damages — The death of the decedent must have caused harm to the decedent’s estate and/or the decedent’s heirs.
In Kansas, the statute of limitations allows two years from the date of the decedent’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
An heir to the decedent who has sustained a loss can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Potential parties include a surviving spouse, parents, grandparents, children and other relatives who would inherit from the decedent’s estate under Kansas law.
What damages can a plaintiff recover in a wrongful death case?
Damages include economic and noneconomic losses. For example, medical expenses the decedent incurred as a result of the injuries between the time of the accident and death as well as funeral and burial expenses are recoverable. A dependent relative can sue for the loss of monetary support that the victim would have provided.
Noneconomic damages for wrongful death include:
- Mental anguish, suffering or bereavement
- Loss of society, companionship, comfort, or protection
- Loss of marital care, attention, advice or counsel
- Loss of filial care or attention
- Loss of parental care, training, guidance, or education
Although Kansas places a cap of $250,000 on noneconomic damages for wrongful death cases, an experienced attorney can suggest strategies for maximizing the amount your family recovers for your loved one’s loss.
Contact a compassionate Kansas attorney for your wrongful death action
Patrick C. Smith, Attorney at Law provides capable and compassionate representation in wrongful death cases. To schedule a free initial consultation, call me at 620-308-6692 or contact me online. My firm is located close to the courthouse, and free parking is available. I can provide a Spanish interpreter upon request.