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60-1902. Plaintiff. The action may be commenced by any one of the heirs at law of the deceased who has sustained a loss by reason of the death. Any heir who does not join as a party plaintiff in the original action but who claims to have been damaged by reason of the death shall be permitted to intervene therein. The action shall be for the exclusive benefit of all of the heirs who has sustained a loss regardless or whether they all join or intervene therein, but the amounts of their respective recoveries shall be in accordance with the subsequent provisions of this article.

History: L. 1963, ch. 303, 60-1902; January 1, 1964.

Source or prior law:

L. 1889, ch. 131, § 1; L. 1909, ch. 182, § 420; R.S. 1923, 60-3204.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

Comment on illegitimacy in Kansas, Donald W. Vasos, 14 K.L.R. 473, 491 (1966).

"The Beginning of Life," M. Martin Halley and William F. Harvey, 69 J.K.M.S. 384, 386 (1968).

Article on comparative negligence, Henry Woods, 14 W.L.J. 1, 18 (1975).

"Comparative Negligence Update—A Discussion of Selected Issues," Donald W. Vasos, 44 J.B.A.K. 13, 43 (1975).

"Torts: 'Heirs at Law' Construed in Kansas Wrongful Death Statute," Pamela R. Hays, 19 W.L.J. 389, 394 (1980).

"Euthanasia: A Medical and Legal Overview," Howard N. Ward, 49 J.B.A.K. 317, 325 (1980).

"Proof of Pecuniary Loss in Child Death Cases," Victor A. Bergman, 2 J.K.T.L.A. No. 7, 6, 12 (1979).

"Child's Right to Sue for Negligent Disruption of Parental Consortium," Derenda J. Mitchell, 22 W.L.J. 78, 93 (1982).

"Recovery by Stepchildren in Wrongful Death Actions," Robyn L. Meadows, 40 K.L.R. 777, 801 (1992).

"Creating Diversity Jurisdiction in Kansas Wrongful Death Cases: An Analysis of Tank v. Chronister," Patrick A. Hamilton, J.K.T.L.A. Vol. XXIII, No. 1, 12 (1999).

"Survey of Kansas Tort Law: Part II," William E. Westerbeke, 50 K.L.R. 225 (2002).

"Workers Compensation Review," Joseph Seiwert, Editor, J.K.T.L.A. Vol. 29, No. 3, 23 (2006).

CASE ANNOTATIONS

Prior law cases, see G.S. 1949, 60-3204 and the 1961 Supp. thereto.

1. Proper party to bring wrongful death action under Kansas law should be determined by Kansas federal district court; case transferred from Colorado. Chenoweth v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Co., 229 F.Supp. 540, 543.

2. Surviving spouse is heir at law of deceased and is real party in interest. Barr, Administratrix v. MacHarg, Administrator, 203 K. 612, 614, 455 P.2d 516.

3. Statutes in pari materia must be construed together. Flowers, Administratrix v. Marshall, Administrator, 208 K. 900, 902, 494 P.2d 1184.

4. Action hereunder; finding that failure to ground electric control box constituted wanton and reckless conduct supported by substantial competent evidence. Byers v. Hesston Appliance, Inc., 212 K. 125, 509 P.2d 1151.

5. Wrongful death action not a true "joint" action; all injured need not join. Frost v. Hardin, 1 K.A.2d 464, 468, 571 P.2d 11.

6. Minor children not barred by running of statute of limitations against surviving spouse. Frost v. Hardin, 224 K. 12, 577 P.2d 1172.

7. Heir and heir at law construed as synonymous terms; widow of childless deceased is sole heir and has exclusive right to bring an action hereunder. Johnson v. McArthur, 226 K. 128, 129, 130, 134, 137, 596 P.2d 148.

8. Cited in holding one spouse may not sue the other for torts occurring during marriage. Guffy v. Guffy, 230 K. 89, 95, 631 P.2d 646 (1981).

9. Mother not "heir at law" where children survived deceased; not proper party for wrongful death under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Carter v. City of Emporia, Kan., 543 F.Supp. 354, 357 (1982).

10. Error to show benefits received by plaintiff from source independent of wrongdoer; collateral source rule considered. Allman v. Holleman, 233 K. 781, 788, 789, 667 P.2d 296 (1983).

11. Child of parent whose parental rights have been severed is not heir of parent or parent's unborn child. Wilson v. Kansas Gas & Electric Co., 12 K.A.2d 336, 340, 744 P.2d 139 (1987).

12. Considered in holding accident victim's surviving siblings not heirs at law so long as parents alive. Barnes v. Robison, 712 F.Supp. 873, 875 (1989).

13. Decedent's father not allowed to file wrongful death action as parent or estate administrator. Hembree v. Tinnin, 807 F.Supp. 109, 110 (1992).

14. Plaintiff who files state wrongful death claim is considered citizen of state of decedent for diversity purposes. Tank v. Chronister, 951 F.Supp. 182, 183 (1997).

15. Heir not acting as representative of estate may bring wrongful death action against nonresident state doctor on diversity grounds. Marler v. Hiebert, 960 F.Supp. 253, 254 (1997).

16. Claim for wrongful death brought on behalf and for benefit of heirs, not for estate. Tank v. Chronister, 160 F.3d 597 (1998).

17. In wrongful death action posthumous child held as decedent's sole heir. Baugh v. Baugh, 25 K.A.2d 871, 973 P.2d 202 (1999).

18. Attorney for minor children intervenors not entitled to attorney's fees out of gross wrongful death settlement proceeds. Turman v. Ameritruck Refrigerated Transport, Inc., 125 F.Supp.2d 444, 448 (2000).

19. Maternal grandparents may maintain action for wrongful death of deceased daughter's unborn viable fetus. Shelton v. DeWitte, 271 K. 831, 26 P.3d 650 (2001).

20. Verdict form in wrongful death action which authorized award of noneconomic damages to victim's heirs not clearly erroneous. Estate of Sisk v. Manzanares, 270 F.Supp.2d 1265, 1281 (2003).

21. Trial court ruling that wrongful death claim could be brought only by decedent's heirs at law upheld. Esposito v. U.S., 368 F.3d 1271, 1274 (2004).

22. Representative of estate was appropriate party to bring claim based on deprivation of decedent's rights. Reindl v. City of Leavenworth, 361 F.Supp.2d 1294, 1303 (2005).


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