Part II of “A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Takes Some Consideration.”
The Compensation Awarded in a Wrongful Death Claim
Claims can be made for both economic and non-economic damages and compensation received will be for both pecuniary and non-pecuniary (non-financial) losses. In the state of Kansas, there is a cap of $250,000 for non-pecuniary losses in a wrongful death claim. Generally, the following types of damages can be recovered:
This would include the money that is lost because of the death of the loved one or the amount that the decedent would have contributed to the survivor’s wellbeing had he/she been alive. This would include the victim’s earnings/salary as well as the cost of any goods or services that the victim would have provided to the survivor.
In addition to this, you can also seek compensation for any contributions that the victim would have made to your pension plan or health insurance or any other benefit, which you will no longer receive due to the death of the victim.
Pecuniary losses also include the cost of medical care for the victim while he was alive as well as the cost of funeral.
These are losses that cannot be represented by an exact monetary figure. For example, if you are the spouse of the survivor, you can sue for loss of consortium, advice and companionship. Similarly, non-economic losses can include your mental anguish and pain and suffering as well as that of the victim who suffered injuries and eventually passed away due to the injuries.
Other elements of non-pecuniary loss can include; bereavement, suffering, loss of comfort, protection, society, marital care, counsel, attention, filial care/attention, parental care, educational support, training and guidance.
Punitive damages, damages exceeding simple compensation and awarded to punish the defendant, are not awarded in wrongful death cases unless the plaintiff also files a survival action against the defendant. A survival action is a statute that allows a decedent’s estate to sue for injuries or damages suffered by the decedent immediately before he died.
How much time do you get to file wrongful death claims in Kansas?
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the time of death. This time may be shortened in certain scenarios, but it will certainly not be extended. Consider this example of death due to personal injury:
If a person suffered a personal injury but did not file a claim against the company that was responsible for such injury within the legally allotted time and eventually died because of these injuries, his heir would not be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Along the same lines, if the cause of death was medical malpractice or negligence but the victim survived for four years or more after the act of medical malpractice/negligence, the nursing home/doctor/hospital cannot be held responsible for the death of the victim, even if there is a high likelihood that the death may have resulted due to medical malpractice.
Also, only one wrongful death claim can be filed against a defendant although all the victim’s heirs are allowed to join the action, even if they were not a part of the original lawsuit.
Get An Experienced Attorney
Wrongful death lawsuits are very hard to handle and prove, which is why you need an experienced attorney fighting the case on your behalf. Remember that certain parties enjoy immunity from such claims and there is a cap on the amount of compensation for non-economic losses.
Moreover, some judges are very formal in their handling of the matter, while others take a more humane and sympathetic stand towards the sufferings of the survivors. All of these factors can work against you if you don’t have an able attorney handling the case for you. Only approach a law firm, such as DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers, that has a significant amount of experience pleading wrongful death cases in Kansas.