In the United States, there are over 41,000 traffic-related deaths every year. Car accidents are a leading cause of death for people aged 1-54. 780 people were killed on Kentucky’s roadways in 2020. Unfortunately, many of these accidents were due to the irresponsible behavior of another driver. There were 181 fatal collisions involving alcohol, 143 due to driver inattention or distraction, 71 due to drug involvement, 110 due to unsafe speed and weaving in traffic, and 23 due to ignoring traffic controls. Additionally, there were 92 pedestrian fatalities.
Very little compares to the pain of unexpectedly losing a loved one, especially when it is due to someone else’s inconsiderate behavior. Victim’s families may be left wondering how they can hold the person at fault accountable. Kentucky law states that wrongful death is “the death of a person resulting from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another”. Wrongful death claims allow family members of the victim to hold the negligent party responsible for his or her actions, seek repayment, and can also give a sense of justice and closure.
In Kentucky, wrongful death claims must be filed by the personal representative of the victim’s estate. Therefore, before a claim may be filed, a personal representative must be appointed. In most cases, the representative appointed is the victim’s spouse, parent, or other family member. Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within one year of the victim’s death. Our attorneys have experience in wrongful death claims and will work rapidly to get the correct party appointed so that the claim can be prosecuted as quickly as possible.
The amount eligible to be received varies based on factors such as the victim’s pain and suffering, his or her income, and punitive damages. Damages that may be recovered under Kentucky law include: expenses related to the estate, funeral expenses, medical bills, lost income of the deceased, and loss of consortium. If the victim was a minor child, the parents’ loss of affection and companionship of the child is also included. In addition, in cases of willful acts or gross negligence that led to someone’s death, punitive damages may also be recovered, with intentions to punish the careless behavior of the defendant.
Upon a successful lawsuit, claims are paid out in this order: If there is a surviving spouse and no children, the spouse will receive the entire amount. If there is a surviving spouse and one or more children, the spouse will receive half of the amount and the children will share the remaining half. If there is no surviving spouse, but are surviving children, the children will share the entire amount. If there are no spouse or children, the victim’s parents will receive the entire amount. If there are no spouse, children, or parents, the claim will then go to any debts attached to the estate and the remainder will go to more distant relatives of the victim or individuals listed in their will.
If you have lost a loved one due to another’s reckless behavior or gross negligence, contact our attorneys today. Our team will work diligently to make sure the person responsible for your loved one’s death is held accountable.