When someone dies due to the negligent or intentionally harmful behavior of another party, the family members he or she leaves behind may experience both financial hardship and emotional anguish.
Because the deceased can no longer act on his or her own behalf, the law may allow close relatives to file a wrongful death claim to help redress the damage done.
1. Who can file a wrongful death claim?
Generally, in Kansas, any “heirs at law” to the deceased may be able to pursue a wrongful death suit if the death created some significant loss, whether monetary or emotional. Often this means a surviving spouse, a child/children, parents, grandparents or siblings may file a claim.
2. What types of damages might family members receive?
The family of the deceased may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages may include payment of final medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and compensation for wages or household services the deceased person would have continued to provide if he or she had survived.
Non-economic compensation may include mental suffering or bereavement, loss of companionship, or loss of marital, filial or parental care, attention and guidance.
3. How long do relatives have to file a claim?
If family members want to file a wrongful death lawsuit, they must do so before the state’s statute of limitations expires. Failing to bring a claim within the specified time may result in the court refusing to hear the case.
Proving a wrongful death claim often takes a great deal of background research, including a detailed examination of the evidence and witness testimony. Those wishing to bring a suit may need to demonstrate to the court that the defending party’s negligent or willfully illegal behavior was the cause of a loved one’s death.