What is Wrongful Death?
What is Wrongful Death? If you are reading this then you have just experienced a great loss. We have had such a loss ourselves and understand the suffering involved. We are sorry and wish to help. Here’s an essay with some basic information about the law. When death is caused by another’s negligence a lawsuit can be filed by the heirs. The persons bringing the lawsuit, the Plaintiffs, are the individuals that may inherit under the law. The lawsuit is a file for the benefit of all the heirs. The Kansas statute can be found here. The Missouri Statute can be found here. Other states have similar wrongful death statutes although the time limit to file is different from state to state.
The money damages available in a wrongful death claim include compensation for funeral expenses, medical bills, income loss, and other damages including the emotional loss due to the death. Each state has its limit limits or “caps” on the amount of money the jury can award, although some of the “caps” have been successfully challenged under the constitution right to a jury.
The lawsuit begins with the filing of what is called a Petition with the Clerk of the District Court. The Petition is a document prepared and filed by your attorney. The Petition includes a basic statement of facts showing the court that the case involves a wrongful death and identifies both the victim and the heirs authorized by law to assert the claim for wrongful death. The petition will state the date, time and place of the accident as well as information about how the accident occurred. The defendant usually represented by an insurance company will file an Answer which will generally deny any and all liability for the wrongful death. The case will proceed to discovery and usually results in a mediation session before trial. If the parties reach an agreement that all parties agree is reasonable and appropriate considering all the facts and circumstances they asked the court for approval of the settlement, attorneys fees, and distribution of the proceeds. You can find additional details here.
The system is complex but is an important part of our justice system.
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