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Wrongful death claim added to suits over Kansas City blast

Accountability for a person's injury or death can spread beyond a single individual when tragedy occurs. When a Kansas civil court considers a liability case, judges and jurors establish whether negligence led to harm.

A percentage of responsibility is assigned to each at-fault defendant. Proportions are not necessarily equal. Courts sometimes decide one defendant carries a greater share of blame than another. Evidence helps juries to decide which party or parties are most responsible for a victim's injury or death.

Civil cases are frequently resolved through settlements before juries ever hear them. Settlements spare litigants stress and costly litigation. Defendants who settle also escape a public judgment of wrongdoing.

A wrongful death claim was filed recently by the parents of a restaurant employee killed in a gas explosion. The fatal accident happened in February when the 46-year-old victim was working inside a Kansas City, Mo., restaurant.

Work crews were drilling outside Country Club Plaza when a ruptured gas line triggered the massive blast. The restaurant was leveled. The body of the restaurant hostess was not recovered until the following day.

The parents' lawsuit is among several that have been filed in civil court since the explosion four months ago. The defendants named in the restaurant victim's claim include gas and cable companies, contractors and subcontractors and a utility employee.

The victim's 73-year-old mother said the lawsuit was filed to make sure no one else would suffer due to poor safety regulations and practices. The reason the elderly parent gave was not uncommon among wrongful death plaintiffs.

Families of victims killed in violent accidents endure long-term pain and suffering. Parents are distraught over the deprivation a child's companionship. The loss also can be a financial one. Recovery may include damages for final medical costs and funeral or burial expenses.

Legal expertise is required to prepare and present liability claims that hold defendants accountable for negligence.

Source:  kansascity.com, "Parents of JJ's explosion victim file lawsuit" Eric Adler, Jun. 01, 2013

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