Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Tips if You’ve Lost a Loved One In a Traffic Fatality in Kansas City

The Kansas City Police Department recently issued a press release outlining the unusually large amount of traffic fatalities so far in 2022.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 21 traffic fatalities, compared to 10 the previous year at the same time. The press release noted that the total number of traffic fatalities in 2021 was 85. At the time of the press release, which was March 9, 2022, Kansas City already had 24.7% as many crash cases as the previous year, and there are still almost 10 months left in the year.

I have been practicing law for almost 20 years and have been handling personal injury cases exclusively since 2005. During that time, the most common type of personal injury case I’ve handled is car crashes. Many of those cases resulted in death. I’d like to offer some pointers to anyone whose loved one was lost in a traffic crash.

1. Designate someone to make sure the crash scene is well-photographed and the evidence is preserved.

Losing a loved one in a crash is the most difficult time, so evidence preservation will be the last thing on your mind. Therefore, you should ask a friend or loved one to make sure everything known about the crash is preserved. Preserving evidence will ensure the true cause of the crash can be shown and having someone do it for you relieves you of this responsibility and lets you focus on grieving and other matters.

2. Open an estate.

Although an estate is not required for a wrongful death case in Missouri, it can help relieve you of some of the responsibilities of financial issues when a loved one dies. It can also be helpful in a wrongful death suit because the jury will see any money from a verdict will be handled responsibly by the estate manager.

3. Don't speak with anyone from the at-fault driver’s insurance company until you are good and ready.

An adjuster from an insurance company may call you early to try and discuss the crash and possible settlement, especially if the crash is clearly their insured’s fault. You should not speak with them soon after the crash, not only because it's good for your mental health and can allow you to grieve, but also because discussing the case so soon after the crash may even be used against you later if a lawsuit becomes necessary. Communicate with the insurance company on your own terms and only when you’re ready.

If you have lost a loved one in a car crash in Missouri and have questions about a possible case, please feel free to contact Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott at (816) 867-8611 any time. We have handled many such cases and have the experience to answer your questions.