Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kansas?

Losing a loved one is always difficult, but when their death is caused by the negligent or wrongful actions of another person or company, the pain can be even more pronounced. Kansas law allows certain family members to pursue compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit if their loved one was killed due to another party’s negligence or misconduct. This article will explain who has legal standing to bring a wrongful death claim in Kansas.

Overview of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action brought by the surviving family members of the deceased, alleging that the death was caused by another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional harm. For example, if someone dies in a drunk driving accident caused by another driver, or due to medical malpractice by a doctor, a wrongful death claim could potentially be filed.

The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is typically to seek compensation for losses suffered by the surviving family members, such as lost income and benefits, loss of companionship, funeral and burial costs, mental anguish, and more. A successful claim can result in the at-fault party being ordered to pay monetary damages to the deceased’s surviving relatives.

Who Can Be Named as Plaintiffs in Kansas?

Under Kansas statute K.S.A. 60-1902, the following family members are permitted to bring a wrongful death lawsuit as plaintiffs, either individually or jointly:

  • Spouse of the deceased
  • Children of the deceased
  • Parents of the deceased
  • Any next of kin who were financially dependent on the deceased

If the deceased person does not have any of the above surviving relatives, the personal representative or executor named in the will can file the suit and distribute any proceeds to more distant relatives.

Notably, Kansas law does not permit unmarried partners, like a boyfriend, girlfriend, or fiancé who were not legally married to the deceased, to file a claim. However, any children born to unmarried parents can be named plaintiffs.

Time Limits for Filing in Kansas

Under Kansas statute 60-513(a)(5), plaintiffs generally have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, there are some exceptions – for example, if the death was caused by medical malpractice, the statute of limitations may be longer or more complex.

It is important to consult a knowledgeable Kansas personal injury attorney about the applicable statutes of limitations and to file the claim timely, as the court cannot make exceptions if the deadline is missed.

Damages Available in Kansas

Kansas law permits a fairly broad range of monetary damages in a successful wrongful death suit, intended to compensate the surviving family members for their loss. Available damages include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, care, and consortium
  • Mental anguish, suffering and bereavement
  • Medical and counseling expenses for family members
  • Punitive damages in cases of gross negligence or reckless conduct

By pursuing a wrongful death claim, families can obtain a sense of justice while receiving crucial financial support during an incredibly difficult time. Though a monetary settlement cannot bring back lost loved ones, it can help provide stability moving forward.

Consult a Dedicated Kansas Wrongful Death Attorney

The experienced wrongful death lawyers at Monge & Associates provide compassionate guidance to grieving families. If your loved one lost their life due to another party’s negligence in Kansas, we can help you understand your legal options and rights.

We have 32 offices across 19 states, including Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Contact our injury law firm today on (888) 477-0597 for a free consultation – we can help you determine if you have grounds to file a wrongful death claim.