After losing a loved one unexpectedly due to a preventable death, your family can face emotional suffering and economic hardship. A wrongful death lawsuit can be crucial to help you recover from your loss.
In Kentucky, wrongful death legal protections exist to protect your family in the event you suffer the loss of a loved one because of the negligence of someone else. Circumstances that can lead to a wrongful death claim for damages include auto accidents -such as those we see in Nelson County between cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians as well as those caused by distracted, drunk or drugged driving, medical malpractice and defective products among others.
A wrongful death claim for damages can hold a negligent driver, negligent medical care professional or manufacturer of a dangerous or defective product accountable for the harm they have caused your loved one and your family. It is essential to know how these protections work under the law and what types of compensation may be recoverable. That’s why it’s so important to seek the assistance of an experienced wrongful death attorney right where you live.
What Are My Wrongful Death Rights Under Kentucky Law?
- Kentucky’s wrongful death law (Kentucky Statutes section 411.130) says a “wrongful death” is “the death of a person (that) results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another.”
- An injury that causes death may be inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another person or by an entity like a company. For example, a wrongful death claim caused by a car accident would be filed against the driver who caused the accident, while a wrongful death claim caused by a defective product would be filed against the company that made or sold the product.
- Before you can file a wrongful death claim, the probate court names (usually the executor or executrix named in the will) or appoints (if there is no will or no such person named) a personal representative for the estate. This person will be responsible for bringing the lawsuit to court.
- A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury claim. Because the fatally injured person cannot seek compensation from the party that caused the injury, the deceased person’s family members would bring the claim to court. In other words, a wrongful death claim for damages is brought on behalf of the lost loved one’s estate for the benefit of their surviving family members.
- A wrongful death claim for damages can hold a negligent driver, negligent medical care professional or manufacturer of a dangerous or defective product accountable for the harm they have caused the deceased person and their family. The claim can include payment of damages for medical and funeral expenses, loss of projected wages, loss of companionship damages and pain and suffering damages.
- You may able to claim punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish bad conduct, such as if someone purposely intended to cause harm to another person. In a case like this, your lawsuit might result in a criminal case filed by the government. Your wrongful death attorney can advise you about this type of compensation.
- You have one year after the death to file your wrongful death lawsuit (it can be extended beyond the one year, but it’s best to approach conservatively). After the one-year window has closed, it’s likely the court will dismiss your case, at the request of the person or company you’re suing.
If My Family Wins A Wrongful Death Claim, How Is the Money Distributed?
Kentucky law is very specific on who gets how much money from a wrongful death suit:
If there is a widow/widower and children: Half to widow/widower and half to any children;
If there is a widow/widower, but no children: All to the widow/widower;
If there is no widow/widower, but children: All to the children;
If there is no widow/widower and no children: All to the parents; or
If there is no widow/widower, no children, and no parents: All to the decedent’s estate.
If none of the above are living, the court will decide what happens to the rest of the money; usually it will go to more distant family members, such as aunts, uncles or cousins.
A wrongful death claim for damages can provide some peace of mind during a difficult time family members who have suffered a loss. Getting expert guidance from an experienced Kentucky wrongful death attorney can help your family recover damages from the responsible party through a wrongful death claim for damages.
Trust McCoy & Sparks – Premier Personal Injury Attorneys of Nelson County
Recognized as Nelson County’s best law firm for over a decade and counting, McCoy & Sparks works to help people in trouble, representing thousands of clients in Central Kentucky with a focus on providing premium service and delivering superior results. Regardless of the type of case, our goal is to develop a strategy that best serves your personal needs, then draw upon our courtroom skills to help you reach the best possible result. We start by getting to know you. Next, we will explain all your options, giving you the pros and cons of each choice so that you will be empowered to make informed decisions. You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you. Make the right call to 1-502-348-9972 for a risk-free consultation with one of our attorneys today.