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What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful Death Claims arise out of situations in which an individual dies due to the negligence of another. They may also come about because of a product failure. The scenarios in which wrongful death claims may occur vary widely. They may include vehicular collisions, medical negligence, nursing home negligence, construction incidents, product design and/or malfunction. These are just a few of the many settings/situations in which a wrongful death claim may arise.

Because our law firm only accepts cases involving serious injury and death, we have the expertise to achieve a successful outcome. Robert D. Kingsland and Leland Dempsey have achieved notoriety and success in litigating personal injury and wrongful death claims. Both Mr. Kingsland and Mr. Dempsey are “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell and both have been selected as Superlawyers of Missouri and Kansas. They have achieved many other professional honors as well that are noted in their bios that appear elsewhere on this website.

If needed, we have an outstanding medical team comprised of physician Jane O’Shaughnessy, M.D. and Cathy Brown, R.N. who will assist us. Dr. O’Shaughnessy is an accomplished emergency medicine physician. She is board certified in her specialty area and holds two academic appointments. For many years Dr. O’Shaughnessy was the medical director of emergency medical services at hospitals in New York City. She reviews all medical cases for us and she frequently consults with us on medical issues that arise in personal injury cases and wrongful death cases. Cathy Brown, R.N. has over thirty years of experience in nursing. During her nursing career she worked with the world renowned cardiac surgeon, Michael Debakey, M.D. Ms. Brown performs medical research for us.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

In a wrongful death claim, the relatives of the decedent (the person who died) may file claims for compensation if the death results from a negligent act. As explained below, not all relatives have standing to file these claims. State law specifies the identity of the family members of the deceased who may bring these actions. Most wrongful death claims are settled out of court but some cases are tried to a verdict. These cases are processed as civil cases as opposed to criminal cases. Although monetary payment can never make up for appropriate compensation to family members, a wrongful death claim provides a means of holding the wrongdoer accountable for his/her negligent act.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action?

State law specifies the identity of the decedent’s relatives who are eligible to file wrongful death claims. If you are the spouse, child or parent of the deceased, you may have the standing to file this type of claim. If immediate relatives of the deceased are no longer living, other more remote relatives may proceed with the claim.

Under What Circumstances Is It Appropriate?

Wrongful death claims essentially are the same as personal claims. If the person had survived, would he/she have had a claim for their personal injuries? If so, the deceased’s family members as specified by law will likely have the right to file a wrongful death claim.

The Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim

The following must be proven in a wrongful death claim:

  1. A death occurred due to a negligent act or omission.
  2. That the person(s) who are filing the claim have the legal standing (family relationship with the deceased) as required by law.

Compensation obtained in a wrongful death claim can never make up for the loss of a loved one, but the wrongdoer can be held accountable. If you believe that a family member has lost his/her life due to negligence, we offer a free consultation to evaluate the facts that you believe may provide the basis for a wrongful death claim. You may either call us at (816) 484-3776 or click here to complete our online contact form.