Archive for August, 2015

Nursing Home Abuse and Wrongful Death Claims in Kansas City, Missouri

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Nursing home abuse is one of the most distressing crimes imaginable, especially when it results in the death of the victim. There is more than one way to seek justice when something shocking like this happens — in addition to pursuing criminal charges such as manslaughter or elder abuse, a close relative can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties.

Fighting Back Against Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse occurs in a variety of forms — it may take the form of medical neglect, malnutrition, direct physical abuse or even sexual abuse, among other forms. Although it is not always easy to detect, there are usually telltale indicators. The presence of extensive bedsores, for example, is often (although not always) a sign of nursing home abuse.

Unfortunately, in many cases there is simply not enough evidence to support a criminal prosecution. Regardless of whether or not a successful criminal prosecution is possible, however, it may still be possible to win a wrongful death lawsuit, because the burden of proof that you must meet to win a civil lawsuit is much lower than what is necessary to secure a criminal prosecution.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Missouri

To file a wrongful death lawsuit in Kansas City, Missouri you must be the spouse, child, grandchild or parent of the deceased, although if no such relative is still living then a sibling or the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file the wrongful death claim. If the abuse was committed by an employee of the nursing home, you are normally entitled to add the nursing home itself as a plaintiff, because an employer is usually responsible for the actions of its employees. Even if the abuser was not an employee of the nursing home, you can win a lawsuit against a nursing home if you can prove that it negligently supervised the abuser. You must file a wrongful death lawsuit within three years of the date of death in order to comply with the Missouri statute of limitations.

Reaching a Settlement or a Verdict

If you win a Kansas City wrongful death lawsuit, you will be entitled to damages for the deceased’s pain and suffering immediately prior to death, as well as for burial and funeral expenses, medical bills, loss of future earnings and benefits, and your loss of services and emotional benefits that the deceased would provided if the death had not occurred. You will need to accurately calculate these amounts and support them with evidence to prepare for settlement negotiations with the defendant, because preparing for a successful wrongful death lawsuit is the best way to strengthen your bargaining position in settlement negotiations. If you win a lawsuit, the damages will be distributed among the deceased’s close relatives, and your share will go directly to you rather than to the estate of the deceased.

How a Kansas City Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

A typical successful resolution to a nursing home abuse wrongful death lawsuit involves gathering enough evidence for a strong case, filing a lawsuit, and then negotiating a settlement from a dominant bargaining position. For this, you will need a Kansas City wrongful death attorney who is equally skilled in private negotiations and courtroom litigation. The Kansas City Wrongful Death Attorneys of Hubbard & Kurtz possess decades of experience doing just this — aggressively fighting for our clients’ interests is simply a way of life for us. Call Hubbard & Kurtz today at (816) 472-HOPE (4673) to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.





Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Slip and Fall Accidents

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

Slip and fall accidents are more common than you might imagine. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that over a million slip and fall accidents occur every year in the United States, resulting in over 17,000 deaths. Many of these accidents take place in public establishments. Slip and fall accidents can be caused by wet or slick floors, unexpected gradients, or an unexpected object on the floor, among other causes.

Missouri Personal Injury Law

When a proprietor opens his establishment to the public, he is essentially issuing an invitation to the public to patronize his business. Under Missouri personal injury law, the proprietor automatically undertakes a duty to exercise “reasonable care” to protect his patrons against dangerous conditions on his property. If his failure to exercise reasonable care (“negligence”) injures a patron, the proprietor may be required to pay damages in an amount equivalent to that harm. A proprietor who is an employer is generally jointly responsible for the negligent acts of his employees.

Defenses to Slip and Fall Claims

l  Comparative fault: The proprietor can reduce or even eliminate his liability if he can show that you were partially or fully to blame for the accident – you were in a restricted area of the establishment without authorization, for example, you were intoxicated, or you ignored a clear warning signs such as “Wet Floor”. Under Missouri slip and fall law, however, the merchant must pay something if he was even partially at fault.

l  Statute of limitations: In Missouri you generally have five years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, subject to certain exceptions. If the accident resulted in death, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by a close relative within three years of the date of death.

l  Lack of opportunity to rectify: If a spill occurred 30 seconds before your accident, the proprietor might argue that it did not have enough time to rectify the condition before the accident.

l  Assumption of risk: The proprietor might argue that the patron assumed certain obvious risks that are inherent in operating the business. A proprietor who operates a hiking trail, for example, might argue that the risk of slipping and falling are inherent in hiking. This argument would carry particular force if you signed a waiver of liability before you began hiking.

Lawsuit Verdicts and Settlement Values

Even though most slip and fall cases are settled out of court, the amount of the settlement you receive is likely to reflect the amount that you likely would have won in a lawsuit verdict, since if the proprietor knows that if he refuses to settle you can always file a lawsuit. In a Missouri slip and fall case you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost work time, incidental expenses such as child care, and perhaps even legal expenses, among other items. You can also recover for intangible damages such as pain and suffering, although Missouri law caps pain and suffering damages in slip and fall cases at $250,000. In cases of serious injury, you might receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in total.

Contacting a Lawyer

If you suffered a slip and fall accident in Kansas City, Missouri or surrounding areas in either Missouri or Kansas, you need an experienced and streetwise slip and fall lawyer who is equally adept at litigating in court and negotiating at the settlement table. Call the Kansas City Personal Injury Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz today at (816) 472-HOPE (4673) to schedule an appointment at our office or, if necessary, your home.