It is impossible to put a price tag on the losses you suffer with the death of a loved one. However, when a wrongful death suit has been filed by an eligible family member a dollar amount must be calculated. You not only have expenses related to the illness or accident preceding the death, but you will suffer further economic damage due to the lost wages of the deceased if he or she was contributing to the household income. What you can recover, how much you can recover, and how you go about recovering it differs in Kansas and Missouri. The following is an overview of the statutes in each state.
Wrongful Death Damages in Missouri
In Missouri, all damages may be recovered in a single legal action. These damages include survival damages which are awarded to the victim’s estate on behalf of the pain and suffering experienced by the victim and damages awarded to the plaintiffs in a wrongful death claim. Survival damage awards may include the following:
- Expenses for last illness, including lost wages and medical bills
- Conscious pain and suffering felt by the deceased
Additional wrongful death damages may include:
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Loss of wages and benefits the deceased likely would have earned had he or she lived
- The value of the services, companionship, comfort, guidance, counsel, training, and support the deceased would have provided had he or she lived
While there are no limits on the dollar amount that may be recovered in Missouri for other wrongful death actions, there is a cap of $350,000 on the amount that may be recovered in a medical malpractice claim.
Separate Legal Actions Are Necessary in Kansas
In Kansas, survival damages and wrongful death damages must be recovered in separate legal actions. While wrongful death claims may be brought by heirs of the deceased, survival claims must be brought by the administrator of the deceased’s estate. Damages may be awarded in Kansas for the same financial losses as in Missouri, but awards for non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 in Kansas. Because of this, the distinction between economic and non-economic damages becomes very important in Kansas. While mental anguish and bereavement awards may be capped, the following damages are considered economic and are therefore not capped:
- Loss of parental or filial services, care, advice, and protection
- Loss of marital services, care, advice, and protection
Determining how to go about taking two separate legal actions and making the distinction between economic and non-economic damages makes a wrongful death claim fairly complicated in Kansas.
Has A Loved One Died Due To The Negligence of Others?
If your loved one has died due to the negligence of someone else an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you hold them responsible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.