If you’ve lost a loved one due to a reckless or drunk driver, you may wonder what your options are for compensation. While money is a poor substitute for your pain, suing often provides the only solution left to hold the guilty person accountable. While you can sue a negligent driver directly in Missouri, there are some pitfalls to the process. Here, we’ll discuss wrongful death actions is Kansas City, MO car accidents.
Understanding Wrongful Death Actions
Wrongful death lawsuits are a kind of tort or personal injury claim filed on behalf of a deceased victim as opposed to the victim themselves. In a wrongful death action, the family of the victim and the victim’s estate can file a lawsuit against a negligent party. Generally speaking, parents, children, spouses, and anyone who was financially or otherwise dependent on the deceased may be named in a wrongful death suit.
- Medical expenses accrued by the victim for treatment related to an injury they did not survive;
- Funeral or burial costs;
- Pain and suffering of the victim prior to death;
- Lost wages that the victim would have earned if they were still alive;
- And emotional damages including emotional trauma, loss of consortium, loss of moral guidance.
How a Top-Quality Wrongful Death Attorney Helps Your Family Recover
In cases like these, we bring in a number of expert witnesses. These include accident reconstruction specialists, financial advisors who can calculate the loss of earned income, and investigators who speak to witnesses, police, and secure any surveillance footage that may have captured the accident as it happened.
We then file a lawsuit against the negligent driver emphasizing the emotional impact to you and your family while calculating economic damages for the loss of your loved one.
Things to Consider When Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against a Negligent Driver
It’s important to understand the role insurance plays in car accident claims. In the event that your total damages exceed the negligent driver’s insurance policy, you will be filing a claim directly against them secured by their personal assets. In the event that they don’t have assets of major value, once you win your suit, you become the equivalent of a creditor who is owed money by a debtor. The at-fault driver can turn around and file for bankruptcy. If they make less than the state median, they can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and discharge the debt completely. On the other hand, now they have a bankruptcy on their record. This is in addition to any criminal or administrative fines.
Too often, plaintiffs find themselves forced into the position of doing a cost-benefit analysis on whether or not it’s worth it to file a wrongful death lawsuit in a car accident claim.
The attorneys at the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm will research the negligent driver and determine whether or not it’s in your best interests to file a lawsuit. In some cases, it will be.