Losing someone you love suddenly and tragically can shake your world to its foundation, leaving you facing numerous challenges—not all of which are emotional. For example, if you relied on this loved one’s income for financial support, concerns about how to make ends meet without his salary can compound your grief.
Finding out that your beloved family member died because of an individual or company’s negligence, carelessness, or misconduct can be an added trauma that’s almost unbearable. When this happens, a skilled Kentucky injury lawyer can help you hold the responsible party accountable.
If you’re considering a wrongful death lawsuit, here’s what you should know, including what you might recover, what you must prove, and how Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey’s experienced and empathetic Central Kentucky injury attorneys can assist you.
What a Wrongful Death Claim Can Do for Your Family
Kentucky law gives people who’ve lost a loved one due to negligence the right to bring a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party. Even so, after an unexpected death, the victim’s surviving family members are sometimes reluctant to take legal action.
We understand. Engaging in complicated litigation is likely the last thing on your mind when your world’s been turned upside down. While winning your wrongful death claim can’t come close to replacing your deceased family member, it can hold at-fault parties responsible for wrongdoing, ease your financial burdens, and provide a sense of justice.
What to Know About Filing a Kentucky Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Many states allow the victim’s family—typically a surviving spouse, child, or parent—to bring a claim pursuing compensation for damages suffered due to the wrongful death. In Kentucky, only the personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, this individual is usually a surviving spouse, adult child, or other close family member.
In addition to who can bring the claim, state law also dictates how long they have to file it. The filing deadline, called the statute of limitations, is two years for deaths arising from motor vehicle accidents and one year for most other types of wrongful death cases. Further, if loss of consortium is an element of the damages suffered due to the wrongful death, the statute of limitations is one year. While a one- or two-year deadline may sound long, we recommend acting quickly to ensure the preservation of essential evidence.
What You Must Prove
Recovering compensation in a Kentucky wrongful death case requires proving the following:
- The defendant owed the victim a “duty of care,” meaning they were obligated to take reasonable measures to keep others safe
- The defendant violated that duty through negligence or misconduct
- The breach of duty caused your loved one’s death
- The decedent’s survivors suffered losses as a result
What You Might Recover
While recoveries vary depending on the available facts and evidence of your case, you could potentially collect compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic or special damages reimburse survivors for financial losses resulting from their loved one’s death. Non-economic or general damages, on the other hand, aim to compensate for intangible losses without objective value.
Your wrongful death recovery might include compensation for the following damages:
- Medical expenses the victim incurred before death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
Several factors can influence the amount of compensation awarded in a Kentucky wrongful death case, including the victim's age, earning potential, and life expectancy. Additionally, the circumstances surrounding the incident, the level of negligence or misconduct involved, and the impact on surviving family members all play a role in determining the final award.
What Our Central Kentucky Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Do for Your Case
For more than 40 years, Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey’s exceptional team of personal injury and wrongful death attorneys have helped countless clients navigate civil litigation and recover fair damages.
Wrongful death cases can be complex, but our team is here for you every step of the way. From gathering essential evidence to handling communications with the opposing side’s insurer and defense lawyers, we provide the compassion, support, and legal guidance you need to make it through this difficult time.