Louisville Leading Wrongful Death Lawyers

Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Attorneys Serving All Of Louisville, KY

Wrongful Death Lawyers Representing Families Throughout Louisville, KY

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The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) estimates that there were 155 fatal accidents across the Louisville Highway District in 2021. A considerable percentage of these accidents are caused by another driver’s negligence or carelessness. Kentucky law allows you to sue for “wrongful death” when a loved one dies because of the misconduct or negligence of another person. If your loved one was killed by the negligent actions of another person or entity, our experienced Louisville wrongful death lawyers can help.

At Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers, we have assisted families in Louisville who have lost a loved one due to negligence or intentional harm from another person. We understand your anger and frustration during such times and are committed to ensuring you receive justice and maximum compensation for your losses. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation.

What is Wrongful Death?

According to Kentucky law, wrongful death occurs when someone succumbs to an injury caused by another person’s negligence or wrongful act or omission. This implies that wrongful death claims arise when a person’s death is directly attributed to the legal fault of another person or entity. A wrongful death claim may arise from several diverse circumstances that include but are not limited to:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Defective consumer products, including faulty vehicle parts 
  • Dangerous prescription of drugs or medical devices
  • Medical malpractice 
  • An intentional act like a crime 

 What Are Common Causes of Wrongful Death?

The following are some of the common causes of wrongful deaths:

  • Car Accidents: The most common causes in Louisville’s wrongful death claims are car crashes involving aggressive, impaired, or distracted drivers and pedestrian accidents.
  • Truck Accidents: Although they are still considered automobile accidents, truck accidents occupy their own category owing to the magnitude of the damages they cause. Trucks are much larger than other vehicles and are more likely to cause death in case of a crash. Wrongful deaths involving trucks can be attributed to oversized loads, mechanical issues, aggressive driving, and impaired driving.
  • Motorcycle Accidents: Motorcycles on the roads can be hard to spot due to their size. Motorcycles also lack safety features common in standard vehicles. An accident involving a motorcycle will likely end up being fatal.
  • Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrian accidents result in fatalities because pedestrians lack protection. A major cause of these accidents is driver negligence. The city or county could also be liable due to the lack of visible pedestrian walkways.
  • Medical Malpractice: Although a large number of doctors and nurses are highly skilled, they can make fatal mistakes. Mistakes often happen when medical personnel cut corners and intentionally fail to follow the correct procedures.
  • Slip and Fall Accidents: Property owners have a duty to ensure their property is well maintained to prevent risks of accidents. If they fail to do this and a person dies in a slip-and-fall accident, they could be held liable.
  • Excessive Police Force: When police action or inaction results in the person’s death, the police officer or entire department could be held liable. If the death of a loved one is attributed to excessive force, negligence, misconduct, or just plain brutality from the police, contact our wrongful death lawyers in Louisville to learn more about wrongful death lawsuits.

How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death in Louisville?

Negligence is the primary basis for a wrongful death claim in Louisville. As mentioned earlier, negligence is the failure to act reasonably and as per the required standards of care, resulting in the harm or injury of the deceased. To prove wrongful death and hold the defendant liable, you must establish the following elements of negligence:

  • Duty: You must prove the defendant owed the decedent a legal duty of care. This means the defendant must act in a manner that a prudent and rational person would in similar circumstances. For example, in Kentucky, all drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles in a manner that doesn’t cause injury to others. 
  • Breach: A breach of duty of care refers to any action or omission that a reasonable party should not have committed. Generally, a breach occurs when the defendant acts recklessly or carelessly in wanton disregard for the safety of others. A breach can also be attributed to malicious intent to harm.
  • Causation: You must also prove the defendant’s breach of duty of care directly or indirectly contributed to the injury in question. In a nutshell, you must prove the fatal injury would not have happened if the defendant had not breached or violated their duty.
  • Damages: Damages refer to the different losses suffered by the plaintiff because of the defendant’s neglect or wrongful act. These damages can be funeral and burial costs, loss of income, loss of parental guidance, medical bills, loss of services, and more.

Types of Compensation from a Wrongful Death Case 

There are three types of damages available for the survivors of a wrongful death lawsuit:

Economic damages

Economic damages are compensation for objectively quantifiable or verifiable monetary losses. These include the value of financial contributions the victim would have made to survivors if they hadn’t died. Economic damages include:

  • Loss of expected income, including salaries or wages
  • Loss of benefits such as medical coverage and pensions plans
  • Medical and funeral expenses
  • Loss of inheritance due to the untimely death
  • Loss of the value of goods and services the victim would have provided

Non-economic damages 

Non-economic damages refer to compensation for subjective losses that are difficult to quantify. Although less tangible, non-economic damages often have more value than economic damages. They include:

  • Pain and suffering of the deceased
  • Survivors mental anguish 
  • Loss of love and companionship from the deceased
  • Loss of consortium from a deceased spouse
  • Loss of care, protection, and guidance from the deceased

Punitive damages

Punitive damages are typically awarded to punish the defendant for their negligent conduct. They are awarded by a juror or court not to compensate injured plaintiffs but to punish defendants whose misconduct is considered grossly intentional or negligent.

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Calculated?

Wrongful death settlements are calculated by the harm caused to both the victim and the survivors, specifically the victim’s family. To calculate the compensation, parties or the court sums up all associated economic and non-economic damages. Usually, economists, accountants, and other financial experts are consulted to ensure the damages are accounted for accurately and fairly. Some of the details to consider when calculating economic damages include the following:

  • Deceased person’s age
  • Deceased person’s health before their death
  • Age of the deceased’s dependents
  • Deceased person’s degree of education and training

What Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement?

The average settlement amount for a wrongful death claim varies depending on the circumstances of the case. Compensation for losses is determined on a case by case basis, based on specific facts of what caused the accident and the victim’s life.

How Is Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

Usually, upon successful negotiations, wrongful death lawyers receive a check from the defendant’s insurance company. The attorneys deduct their fees and pay out the agreed-upon amount to the plaintiff. The funds are paid directly to the plaintiff and not to the deceased’s estate.

How Is Settlement Distributed?

If the wrongful death case is successful, the court issues compensation for the losses. Generally, compensation is distributed first to the estate, and the surviving family members receive the remaining portion of the award in a specific order. The Kentucky probate provides the following specific order of payment:

  • When there are no surviving children, the spouse gets the entire remaining portion
  • When there is a surviving spouse and one or more children, the spouse receives one-half of the remaining amount. The children will split the other half.
  • When there is no surviving spouse, but there are surviving children, the children split the remaining amount equally among themselves
  • If the victim has no surviving spouse or children, the entire remaining amount is paid to the parents
  • In a scenario where there is no surviving spouse, children, or decedent’s parents, the settlement is applied to any debts of the estate. If some amount remains after paying the debts, it will be paid out to distant relatives of the victim.

Are Wrongful Death Settlements Taxable?

The IRS exempts most wrongful death settlements from taxation. However, to be exempted from tax, the settlement must be compensatory in nature. This means the compensation is intended to pay for the losses incurred by the plaintiff. If the damages are punitive, the IRS may impose taxes. Any award must indicate clearly that the damages are either compensatory or punitive. This will help you make accurate reporting to the IRS.

Why You Need A Wrongful Death Lawyer in Louisville

When hiring wrongful death attorneys Louisville plaintiffs will receive skilled, professional help from compassionate lawyers dedicated to helping you handle the frustrations and financial burdens of losing a loved one. The lawyer handles the complex parts of your claim, so you get adequate space you need to grieve and move ahead with your life. The following are some of the reasons to hire a wrongful death lawyer:

  • Knowledgeable in law: Wrongful death lawsuits are complex. This could probably be your first time filing a claim. However, wrongful death lawyers have years of experience handling similar cases. They will review your case and decide the best type of claim to pursue.
  • Advice on the proper steps: After a wrongful death, it is normal to feel frustrated and confused. It could be challenging to focus on the necessary legal steps to take. This is why you need to get the help of a wrongful death lawyer in Louisville who will guide and support you.
  • Expert negotiators: Wrongful death lawyers know exactly how much your claim is and what you are entitled to. Wrongful death awards are generally large and require numerous burdens of proof. An experienced Louisville wrongful death lawyer will collect evidence and build a solid case that results in considerable compensation.

FAQs About Wrongful Death Claims

What Are the Critical Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim?

Some elements need to be present in a wrongful death claim. These include:

  • Negligence: Negligence is when an individual acts in a reckless, careless, or unreasonable manner, and their action results in another persons’ death. In some situations, negligence can also mean intentional conduct to hurt another person purposefully.
  • Death: Wrongful death claims are only brought in response to the death of another person. This means you have to prove the victim’s death was directly caused by the negligent or intentional act of the defendant.
  • Damages: You should show the surviving family of the deceased experienced losses owing to their loved one’s demise. These losses could range from loss of income, funeral expenses, loss of parental guidance, and medical bills to loss of services and other damages.

How Long Does a Wrongful Death Case Process Take?

A typical wrongful death case process ranges from a few months to several years to settle. Generally, the exact timeline depends on the specific circumstances in question, including whether or not the matter proceeds to trial.

Types of Wrongful Death Claims We Handle

  • Car Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Excessive Police Force
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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Louisville?

In Louisville, the estate’s personal representative is responsible for filing a wrongful death claim. However, this doesn’t mean the representative is entitled to compensation. They are simply the persons who initiate the lawsuit on behalf of the decedent’s estate. Under the Kentucky Revised Statutes 395.040, the estate’s personal representative can be:

  • A spouse
  • Sibling
  • Adult child
  • Any other person who qualifies to be the personal representative and makes an application 

If the deceased did not leave a will, the surviving spouse shall become the executor unless they waive their right to the appointment. In such a scenario, they have to choose another person to serve as a representative.

Helping Families Heal

The loss of a loved one is never an easy thing to handle. No amount of money is adequate when a loved one has lost their life due to another person’s negligence. However, compensation from a wrongful death claim can relieve the financial burdens you could be facing. Our team of personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Let our Louisville wrongful death lawyers handle the specifics of your case as you focus on healing.

Don’t wait to get help. Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation today and learn how our team can help you!

* In accordance with KBA regulations, we must inform you that case and court costs may be the responsibility of the client.

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