After a person is injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, Kentucky and federal laws provide that the injured can seek to recover compensation for their damages through a personal injury lawsuit. The damages recoverable in these cases can be purely economic, such as medical expenses and lost wages, or noneconomic, such as pain and suffering.

The legal process works somewhat differently in the case of a fatal accident. Kentucky law provides for a specialized type of personal injury action known as a wrongful death claim.

A wrongful death claim is initiated by a personal representative of the estate of the deceased, on behalf of the deceased‘s immediate family members. The personal representative may be named in the deceased person’s will, or may be appointed by the court.

The damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit are somewhat different from those available in a typical personal injury lawsuit. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the damages are much more limited to the purely economic, such as the loss of the loved one’s income.

These cases are difficult. It can feel very uncomfortable to attach a dollar amount to the loss of a loved one. However, after a loved one suffers an unexpected, preventable death, their surviving family members can face terrible economic hardship. A wrongful death lawsuit can be crucial in helping them to recover from their loss.

Grieving family members can talk to an attorney with experience in personal injury and wrongful death law to learn more about their options. It’s wise to do so soon after the death, because the statute of limitations for a wrongful death action expires after one year.