Kansas City WROngful death lawyer


Wrongful Death Lawyers in Kansas City

In a moment, your life can be turned upside down with the death of a loved one. Enduring the death of a mate or family member is overwhelming, and many times the survivors are at a total loss on how to move ahead. If that death was due to the negligence of another person, business, or government agency, Missouri law provides the family of a deceased to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to seek justice and financial compensation. The law acknowledges that the careless person's responsibility extends past the passing of the deceased. In no way will monetary compensation substitute the loss of a loved one, but it may ease the strain connected with the family's economic burdens. The McCollum Injury Law Firm has years of experience advocating for clients and holding defendant's liable for the deaths of their loved ones.


What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When a person dies from a negligent act, the surviving members of the victim's family may begin a wrongful death lawsuit. Under RSMo. § 537.080, negligent persons can be held liable under a theory of tort law as if "death had not ensued (occurred)." Wrongful death cases are filed when a person's death is caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of other persons or entities.  In other words, a wrongful death suit is that it is similar to a personal injury case where the injured person is no longer able to bring the case of their behalf. Thus, the law provides that individual family members may file a wrongful death suit.

McCollum Injury Law Firm understands wrongful death cases. We are dedicated and experienced advocates that litigate cases involving injuries with a range of minor damages to fatalities.  We have the resources and passion for providing you the best lawyer in the area.  We combine that with a personal touch that gives you responsive and considerate legal representation.

FAQ: Wrongful Death accident attorney Kansas city

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Q: What happens if someone is killed in a car accident and who is responsible for the damages?

 A: Under the old common law, when someone was killed in an accident, their injuries died with them.  There was no way to recover for the person's death once the individual died.  As a result, families could not recover damages from negligent acts that caused the death of their loved ones'. The Missouri Legislature understood this as innately wrong and unconscionable. The state of Missouri then enacted a statutory right to file a lawsuit known as a wrongful death lawsuit. Under  RSMo. § 537.080, negligent persons can be held liable under a theory of tort law as if "death had not ensued (occurred)." Wrongful death cases are filed when a person’s death is caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of other persons or entities. 

Q: Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit after an accident?


A: Under RSMo. § 537.080, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by: 

  1. The decedent's surviving spouse or children, whether adopted or natural, or by the father or mother of the deceased.
  2. If the person was unmarried and had no children at the time of death, then by their brother or sister. 
  3. If there be no persons in class (1) or (2) entitled to bring the action, then by a plaintiff ad litem.

Q: What damages can be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit?


A: The particular sums that are recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit depend on the facts and circumstances of what happened. In every action brought under the section, RSMo. § 537.090, for wrongful death the trier of the facts may award such damages as the trier of the facts deems fair and just for the death and loss thus occasioned.  

Pecuniary losses suffered because of the death include:

  1. Funeral of medical expenses;
  2. The reasonable value of the services lost;
  3. Loss of consortium;
  4. Loss of companionship;
  5. Loss of comfort;
  6. Loss of instruction;
  7. Loss of guidance;
  8. Loss of counsel;
  9. Loss of training;
  10. Loss of financial support;
  11. Damages the deceased may have suffered between the time of injury and the time of death.  

Importantly Missouri does not award damages for what the law terms "grief and bereavement" because of the death.

Q: Are Wrongful Death settlements or awards taxable income, and do I have to pay income taxes?

 A: The I.R.S. Publication 4345 states that damages for claims concerning death are to be considered compensation for bodily injuries. As a result, the money received is generally not regarded as taxable income for the survivors. However, if punitive damages are part of the award you may be required to report that as income on your tax return. Finally, if the settlement terms required a nondisclosure clause, the I.R.S. can claim that it was negotiated for and make all of the award subject to taxation. You should avoid signing an agreement that includes a nondisclosure clause unless you obtain a deal from the defense that he or she will defend against the I.R.S. and indemnify you if you are required to pay taxes on the settlement funds.  

Q: What types of cases commonly involve wrongful deaths?

A: Many different situations can arise in which wrongful death may result. Some of the most prevalent examples include the following:

  • Auto, semi-truck, and motorcycle accidents
  • Workplace deaths
  • Deaths occurring because of medical errors
  • Deaths from defective products
  • Deaths from nursing home negligence or abuse
  • Construction site accidents
  • Deaths from violence encounters

If your loved one died because of the neglectful or careless acts of another person, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit. The attorneys at McCollum Injury Law Firm can review the events of what happened and speak to you about whether you have a legal basis to file a lawsuit.

Q: Is there a statute of limitations in Missouri for filing a case involving a death?

A: Missouri has a stringent limitations periods within which wrongful death lawsuits must be filed. In Missouri RSMo. § 537.100, states, "every action instituted under section 537.080 shall be commenced within three years after the cause of action shall accrue." If you fail to file a lawsuit within that three year time period, you will forever be barred from  filing a claim to recover damages. Getting help quickly after the death of a family member can help to protect evidence that may otherwise be lost. It also allows your lawyer time to conduct a thorough investigation so that the case might be stronger than if you wait.

Helpful Resources

Although engaging an experienced Kansas City wrongful death lawyer is important, if your loved one is killed from the negligence of another, it is also essential that you have resources to educate yourself.

FAQ From the Personal Injury Law Firm

Do I need to file a accident report in Missouri?

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The short answer is yes you do need to file a accident report in Missouri?.  Read more here.  

Do you handle cases involving spinal cord injuries?

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Yes we do. Spinal cord injury lawsuits usually involve more complex legal and medical issues than those in a typical injury case so, if you're thinking about filing a lawsuit, you might want to speak with a lawyer who specializes in spinal cord injury litigation. Spinal cord injuries are some of the most challenging cases a lawyer can handle.  I have a page dedicated to this injury here.

Do you have any advice on hiring an attorney for an accident?

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Read reviews and ask questions.  Your lawyer works for you.  If they don't act like your best interest is paramount find another lawyer.  I have a page dedicated to this topic here. Whether for a slip and fall or dog bite or car accident.

Do I need a living trust?

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A living trust, specifically a revocable living trust, is a legal document that places your assets—investments, bank accounts, real estate, vehicles and valuable personal property—in trust for your benefit during your lifetime, and spells out where you'd like these things to go upon your death. Read more here.

Does my credit rating affect my insurance rate?

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Your auto insurance scores affect your auto insurance rates much like you would expect your credit scores to affect your interest rates on new loans. ... Of course,insurance scores are only one of many factors that determine your rates and only doso if insurance companies are allowed to use them. Read more here.

Do I need a lawyer if I suffer a brain injury in an accident?

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If you have suffered a brain injury due to anything from a slip and fall to an auto accident, it's wise to hire a lawyer who is experienced and educated about the issues and potential effects of your type of brain injury. Read more here.  Various other types of injuries here. Kinds of Car Accident Injuries are discussed here.

What ways can speed be determined in a crash?

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The scientific answer is: Multiply the second object's mass by its velocity. For example, if it weighs 1,000 pounds and has a velocity of 30 meters per second, then its momentum will be 30,000 kg meters per second. Add the two velocities together to determine which way the objects will move after collision.  Other simpler ways are discussed here.  Aggressive driving kills.

What happens if an insurance company denies my claim?

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Insurance companies deny claims for a whole host of reasons.  The most common are policy exclusions, lapsed policy, dispute of liability and on rare occasion a claim of fraud.  If you want to read more about this a complicated question I have an entire page dedicated to this topic here.  I also have information here and here. Our Kansas City injury lawyer is experienced in insurance disputes.

Areas of Practice-Kansas City Accident & Injury Lawyers

Areas of Practice - Kansas City Car Accident Attorneys