Losing a loved one in a tragic commercial truck collision is a devastating experience. What complicates matters even more is if the authorities suspect negligence on the part of the truck driver or the fleet company caused the fatal crash.
Irresponsibility or lack of proper duty are serious offenses in large truck accidents. Speeding, distracted driving, intoxication, improper loading, and lack of truck maintenance are just some of the negligent actions. Additional parties, such as the shipper, broker, or maintenance facility may be liable as well.
If your loved one was killed in a commercial vehicle accident, you may receive compensation by filing a wrongful death action. However, every state has its own laws regarding wrongful death actions, so the rules differ depending on whether the crash occurred in Kansas or Missouri.
Wrongful Death Actions in Missouri
In Missouri, a wrongful death is defined as a death due to an act, occurrence, conduct, or circumstances which would have permitted the person to recover damages had he not died. Only these parties are allowed to file a wrongful death action:
Surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents
Personal representative of the deceased person’s estate or “plaintiff ad litem,” which is a person appointed by the court
Wrongful Death Claims in Kansas
In Kansas, wrongful death involves the death of a person due to the wrongful act or omission of another party. As in Missouri, a lawsuit can be filed if the deceased person could have filed a claim against the negligent party had he lived.
Parties who can file a wrongful death action include:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- Surviving parent or grandparents
- Surviving siblings
- Another other heirs at law of the deceased person
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the time period you have to file a wrongful death action under state law. If this deadline is missed, your complaint against the negligent party would most likely be dismissed by the judge.
Here is the time period you have in each state:
Three years from the date of death
Two years from the date of death
Compensation in Wrongful Death Actions
If you prove that negligence was the cause of your loved one’s passing, you're entitled to compensation from the trucker, transportation company, and any other negligent parties. You can receive both pecuniary and non-economic damages.
Pecuniary compensation relates to financial losses suffered. These include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills for your family member’s last illness or injury
- Lost wages, which includes future wages that he or she would have earned if still living
- Repair or replacement cost of property damaged in the truck accident
- Value of household services that your family member provided
Non-economic damages are to compensate for the non-financial injuries you suffered as a result of your loved one's death. They can compensate for the following:
- Mental anguish and pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship and support
- Loss of marital support, advice, and care
- Loss of parental care, training, guidance, and education
There are no caps on the amount of compensation you can receive in a wrongful death action in Missouri. This is not the case in Kansas, where you're only entitled to receive a maximum of $250,000 in non-economic damages. If your case is decided at a jury trial, the jury may be asked to itemize their award decision into amounts for pecuniary damages and for non-economic damages.
Have You Been Injured In A Truck Accident?
If you've been injured in a tractor trailer accident you need to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.