Losing a loved one is often an unimaginably painful experience, and when it happens due to someone else’s negligence, the grief is coupled with a burning demand for justice. At Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe, we understand the turmoil you are going through, and we are committed to being the voice for victims like you. Contact our personal injury lawyers in Kansas City by calling (818) 876-2600 for a free consultation to learn how we can help you obtain just for the loss of your loved one.
Why Choose Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe?
- Over a Century of Experience: Our attorneys bring more than a hundred years of combined experience to the table, having helped countless families navigate the complex legal landscape of wrongful death claims.
- Over $1 Billion Recovered: Our track record speaks volumes. We have secured over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements, demonstrating our capability to deliver results for our clients.
- Free Consultation: We offer a free initial consultation to discuss the specifics of your case, providing insight and outlining the steps ahead.
Successful Case Results:
The Kansas City wrongful death attorneys at Dollar, Burns, Becker, and Hershewe have years of experience successfully handling a variety of auto accident cases. Our team of personal injury lawyers have received large settlements and recovered compensation for clients who have lost loved ones due to wrongful death situations. Some notable case results include:
- $13 Million Settlement: Our firms pursued negligence claims against a national motor carrier after a fatal collision involving a tractor-trailer in a construction zone, resulting in the death of an 18-year-old student and injuries to his 17-year-old girlfriend.
- $9.5 Million Settlement: The mother settled with the truck driver and his Missouri-based employer in Jackson County for $9.5 million, alleging negligence in a fatal accident involving a construction zone lane drop.
- $7.1 Million Settlement: Anthony and Michelle Leake sued Gainey Transportation Services, Inc. after their son died in a tractor-trailer accident, settling for $7.125 million on the fourth day of trial.
- $7 Million Settlement: Oliver Mitchell’s loss of control of a tractor-trailer on Interstate 85 resulted in a fatal accident, leading to a $7 million settlement for Pamela Becker’s family after her son Daniel was killed instantly and she was grievously injured, passing away later.
“Out of a 1 to 5 rating scale 5 being highest I personally rate them as a 5++”.
“Mr. Dollar is an exceptional lawyer, he and his staff of professionals are extremely effective at presenting your case to the judge and juries. Mr. Dollar is Excellent negotiator, and has a very fine analytical mind. Patti Berthelson is an excellent communicator who keeps their clients well informed on where the case is currently at. Out of a 1 to 5 rating scale 5 being highest I personally rate them as a 5++.”
What is Wrongful Death in Missouri?
Wrongful death in Missouri is when a life is cut short due to the negligence or misconduct of another individual or entity. The aftermath leaves families grappling with emotional heartache and often, financial hardship. Wrongful death can occur in numerous scenarios where negligence or misconduct is at play. Understanding the common causes can help individuals grasp the gravity and prevalence of such tragic incidents.
What Are Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Missouri?
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: The sudden impact of a truck, motorcycle, or car accident in Kansas City can lead to fatal injuries
- Medical Malpractice: Mistakes by healthcare professionals can have deadly consequences
- Workplace Accidents: Unsafe working conditions can result in fatal incidents or construction accidents in Kansas City.
- Intentional Misconduct: Crimes such as murder and manslaughter can form the basis of a wrongful death claim in Missouri
- Product Liability: Defective or dangerous products, whether they are vehicles, appliances, or medical devices, can cause wrongful death if they malfunction or fail
- Premises Liability: Slip and fall accidents, inadequate security, or unsafe conditions on someone else’s property can result in fatal injuries
- Recreational Accidents: Accidents occurring during recreational activities or sports, whether due to faulty equipment or negligence of others, can lead to fatal injuries
Each of these causes highlights the various circumstances under which wrongful death can occur, pointing to the broad spectrum of negligence that can lead to such tragic outcomes. At Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe, we are committed to rigorously investigating wrongful death cases to uncover the truth and hold the responsible parties accountable, no matter the cause.
Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Missouri?
In the state of Missouri, the law specifies a hierarchy of individuals who are eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. This hierarchy is structured to prioritize the closest relatives who are most likely to have been financially and emotionally affected by the loss.
- Primary Group:
- Spouses: The surviving spouse has the foremost right to file a claim
- Children: Biological or adopted children of the deceased are next in line
- Grandchildren: In cases where the deceased’s children are also deceased, the grandchildren step into this primary group
- Secondary Group:
- Parents: If there are no surviving individuals in the primary group, the parents of the deceased become eligible.
- Tertiary Group:
- Siblings: In the absence of individuals from the primary and secondary groups, the siblings of the deceased are eligible.
- Nieces and Nephews: They may be eligible if there are no surviving siblings.
It is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable Kansas City wrongful death lawyer to understand the eligibility criteria and the process involved fully.
Determining Liability for a Wrongful Death in Missouri
Determining liability in a wrongful death case can be a complex and challenging process. It requires a thorough investigation to uncover the facts, gather evidence, and establish the negligence or misconduct that led to the tragic loss. Here is how the process unfolds:
- Investigation: This may include examining the scene of the accident or incident, reviewing medical records, and analyzing any available surveillance footage.
- Expert Consultations: Our wrongful death lawyers in Kansas City may consult with experts in the relevant fields such as accident reconstruction, medical experts, or financial analysts to build a robust case.
- Identifying the Responsible Parties: Based on the evidence and expert opinions, our wrongful death attorneys in Kansas City will identify all potentially responsible parties. This could include individuals, corporations, or even government entities.
- Proving Negligence: We must demonstrate that the responsible party’s negligence or misconduct directly resulted in the wrongful death.
- Legal Filings: Once our Kansas City wrongful death lawyers have established liability, we proceed with the legal filings necessary to hold the negligent parties accountable.
- Negotiation and Litigation: Our firm will be prepared to negotiate a fair settlement aggressively, or if necessary, take the case to trial to ensure justice is served.
Our Kansas City wrongful death lawyers are committed to navigating this complex process diligently to seek justice for your loved one and ensure those responsible are held accountable.
The Role of Negligence in Wrongful Death Cases
To recover compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to prove that the defendant’s negligence led to the loss of your loved one. There are four elements of negligence that must be established:
- Duty of Care: This refers to the obligation to act in a manner that avoids causing harm to others. In wrongful death cases, this depends on the relationship between the defendant and the deceased. For example, drivers have a duty to obey traffic laws to prevent harming pedestrians and other motorists.
- Breach of Duty: A breach of duty occurs when the defendant fails to meet the established standard of care. This could be a driver operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a property owner failing to address hazardous conditions that result in a fatal accident.
- Causation: There must be a direct link between the breach of duty and the resulting death. The plaintiff must prove that the death would not have occurred if not for the defendant’s negligence.
- Damages: This refers to the losses resulting from the wrongful death. These can include medical expenses incurred before death, funeral and burial costs, loss of income and support, and pain and suffering experienced by the family.
Compensation Recoverable in Kansas City Wrongful Death Claims
The aftermath of a wrongful death brings with it not just emotional turmoil, but often significant financial strain as well. As such, the compensation awarded in wrongful death claims can cover a range of damages, including:
- Medical expenses incurred by the deceased before dying
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of income the deceased would have earned had they lived
- Pain and suffering of surviving family members
- Loss of guidance, care, and nurturing
- Punitive damages if the act of negligence was particularly egregious or malicious.
The Kansas City wrongful death lawyers at Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe are adept at meticulously evaluating all the facets of your case to ensure that the compensation sought truly reflects the extent of your loss.
Is There a Cap on Wrongful Death in Kansas City?
No, there no caps or limits on damages in wrongful death cases in Missouri, except in cases involving medical malpractice. In these cases, families can recover no more than $700,000 in non-economic damages for incidents that occurred on or after August 28, 2015. For acts before this date, the cap is set at $500,000.
Revised Statutes of Missouri – 538.210. No common law cause of action — limitation on noneconomic damages — jury not to be informed of limit — limit — punitive damages, requirements — annual increase on damages limit, amount — nonseverability clause.
- (3) In any action against a health care provider for damages for death arising out of the rendering of or the failure to render health care services, no plaintiff shall recover more than seven hundred thousand dollars for noneconomic damages irrespective of the number of defendants.
What is the Statute of Limitations in a Kansas City Wrongful Death Case?
The statute of limitations is a critical legal timeframe within which a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed. In Kansas City, and Missouri at large, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is three years from the date of death. However, certain circumstances might affect this timeframe, potentially lengthening or shortening the period to file a claim.
- Every action instituted under section 537.080 shall be commenced within three years after the cause of action shall accrue.
If you do not file your lawsuit in time, however, the court will most likely dismiss your case and prevent you from recovering compensation. To protect your right to compensation, it’s essential to consult with a lawyer from Dollar, Burns, Becker, and Hershewe as soon as possible. We can assess your case, determine your eligibility, and initiate your claim before the legal deadline.
Contact Us to Consult with an Experienced Kansas City Wrongful Death Lawyer
Your journey to justice begins with a single step. Contact Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe today to discuss your case with a dedicated Kansas City wrongful death lawyer. Reach out to our Kansas City office at (816) 876-2600, toll-free at (877) 816-2600, or fill out our online contact form, and let us fight for justice together.