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Wrongful Death
Scott D. Brown
John P. Lander
Kim R. Snitker
Travis M. Armbrust
Kaitlyn J. Ausborn
Brown, Kinsey,
Funkhouser & Lander, P.L.C.

214 North Adams,
Mason City, Iowa 50401
Phone: (641) 423-6223
Fax: (641) 423-9995
WRONGFUL DEATH - Frequently Asked Questions
I. General Information   D. Loss of Parental Guidance
  A. What to do if there is a possibility of a     wrongful death   E. Loss of Potential Inheritance
F. Punitive Damages
  B. When questions arise about a death   G. Multiple Defendants
  C. The Discovery Rule and Time      Limitations   H. Jury Adjustments
I.   Other Reductions
II. Wrongful Death Categories IV. Death of the Elderly, Children, or Unborn Children
  A. Medical Malpractice   A. Elderly
  B. Transportation Accidents   B. Children
  C. Occupational   C. Unborn Children
  D. Other V. Expert Testimony
III. Compensation VI. Why Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer
  A. Medical Charges/Funeral Expenses    
  B. Loss of Wages    
  C. Loss of Support    
"Contact an Iowa wrongful death lawyer representing clients in Hampton, Iowa today to schedule your initial consultation."
Linn County Courthouse Cedar Rapids Iowa  

Loss of Parental Guidance.

Guidance from both parents is essential to children. When either parent dies, it is a traumatic loss to a child, no matter what the circumstances. Compensation for this would depend on the ages of the children as well as the relationship they have with the victim. 

Loss of Potential Inheritance.

When someone passes away, depending on their age, a loss of potential inheritance occurs in regard to their children and spouse. States vary in the acceptance of this as reason for additional compensation in wrongful death lawsuits. Experienced wrongful death attorneys would be able to assist in the possibility of including compensation for this.


Punitive Damages.

When serious or malicious wrongful deaths occur, punitive damages may be sought by the victim’s survivors to discourage others from behaving in the same way. Most states do not allow this in wrongful death cases. Several states do have specific statutes allowing this, and other states have no statutes. Where there are not any statutes, most courts allow punitive damages. To determine if your state allows this type of compensation, it is advisable to ask your wrongful death attorney before the suit is filed.

Multiple defendants.

When several parties are named responsible in a wrongful death action, one or more may want to settle out of court before the case goes to trial. They do this to avoid publicity showing they were responsible for a wrongful death. If one or more defendants are allowed to settle out of court by the plaintiff, this may cause lower recovery amounts from the other defendants by the jury. The amount settled on with others may also be deducted from the amount named by the jury. There are also other repercussions from allowing one or more defendants to settle while proceeding to trial with others. Experienced wrongful death attorneys are capable of discerning the consequences and attributes of allowing defendants to settle out of court. The other defendants have the burden of proof in such payments to lower the amount they may have to pay.

Jury Adjustments.

Once all the evidence has been presented, the jury will determine the amount of the damages, if any, to be given to the plaintiff. This amount may be adjusted by the court for several reasons. The amount the victim of the wrongful death gave to his or her family is considered a major factor. If most of the income went for family support, that amount may be recoverable, yet if the victim wasted income and did not support the family, the jury’s amount may be reduced.  If the victim had been unemployed, and the average amount of normal earnings was presented in evidence, the wages may be recoverable. If the victim had been unemployed and the average earnings were not presented, the court may order a new trial.

Medical malpractice wrongful death cases have additional conditions that will reduce the judgment awarded by a jury. Collateral sources of income left by the victim, such as Social Security, result in mandatory reduction as well as a deduction for payment of medical insurance premiums for two years prior as well as the projected cost of the payments until the estimated time of a natural death.

If the victim was a public employee and the public employer is a defendant in the wrongful death case, all death and other benefits given to the employee are deductible by the court. These include paid sick leave, disability retirement allowances, medical benefits, dependent and death benefits. Social Security, with the exception of those under title XVIII of the Social Security Act, is also deductible.

Also in the case of public employees that include their public employer as a defendant, if it is found that there are other collateral sources provided by a lien (or liens) against the recovery by that collateral source, any payments by the plaintiff for this benefit may also be deductible.  The complexity of the statutes such as this example show the benefits of obtaining an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to explain and assist with the details needed in each individual wrongful death case.

Other reductions.

When final amounts are calculated, the law takes into consideration any other payments from “collateral sources”. These include insurance payments (other than life insurance), worker’s compensation, employee benefit programs and Social Security. There are only two situations where this is appropriate. The first is in a medical malpractice lawsuit and the other is when heirs of a public employee are suing his or her employer or a fellow worker in a wrongful death or personal injury case.


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If you would like to schedule a initial consultation contact an Iowa wrongful death attorney, representing clients in Hampton, Iowa at the Brown, Kinsey, Funkhouser & Lander, P.L.C.. Give us a call at (641) 423-6223 or email us at
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Mason City, Iowa Attorney practicing in Iowa primarily in Workers' Compensation & Personal Injury. Lawyers at the Brown, Kinsey, Funkhouser & Lander, P.L.C. are dedicated to serve their clients in Iowa, including the cities of Mason City, Algona, Allison, Boone, Cedar Rapids, Charles City, Clarion, Dakota City, Des Moines, Eldora, Forest City, Fort Dodge, Garner, Grundy Center, Hampton, Marshalltown, Mount Pleasant, Nevada, New Hampton, Northwood, Osage, Toledo, Vinton, Waterloo, Waverly, Webster City and West Union, and the communities that make up Cerro Gordo, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Butler, Chickasaw, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Howard, Humboldt, Kossuth, Linn, Marshall, Mitchell, Polk, Story, Tama, Webster, Winnebago, Worth, Wright counties.
© MMXIV Brown, Kinsey, Funkhouser & Lander, P.L.C. Email: Address: 214 North Adams, Mason City, Iowa 50401 Phone: (641) 423-6223
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