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Statutory damages available in wrongful death cases

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2022 | Wrongful Death

Once liability has been established in a Kansas wrongful death action, the amount of damages must be determined. Kansas law sets forth six types of damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death action. These are mental anguish, suffering or bereavement, loss of society, companionship, comfort or protection, loss of marital care, attention, advice or counsel, loss of filial care or attention, loss of parental care, training, guidance or education, and reasonable funeral expenses for the deceased.

General damages and mental anguish

Many of the areas of damages in the Kansas statute are general damages claims, meaning they are more discretionary than specific damages claims. The question of amounts for general damages claims is usually left up to the jury in a wrongful death case. The first area of damages is mental anguish, suffering or bereavement. Mental anguish may be supported with proof of therapy or other actions taken by the plaintiff.

Loss of society and loss of marital care

Loss of society and loss of marital care are closely related, but different claims and a wrongful death plaintiff may be able to recover for both. These are generally claims of the spouse of the deceased.

Loss of filial care and loss of parental care

Filial care refers to care a parent can expect from his or her children. Thus, loss of filial care is a claim generally brought by the parent of the deceased in a wrongful death case. It is meant to compensate the parent for the filial care he or she could have expected from the deceased. Loss of parental care is a similar claim but on behalf of a child of the deceased.

Claim for funeral expenses

Funeral expenses of the deceased is a specific damages claim and the easiest to prove up in court. It allows for reimbursement of the actual, reasonable expenses of the funeral. Each of these areas of damages may be available once liability has been established.