Overview of Kentucky Wrongful Death Law

One of the grimmest experiences a person can face in his or her lifetime is the untimely death of a loved one caused by someone else’s negligence. If you live in or around Louisville, and find yourself in this truly unfortunate position, there are a number of important steps you need to take to fully protect your vital legal rights and interests.

Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case

The nature and extent of compensation awarded in a wrongful death case depends on the facts surrounding the accident. With that said, a skilled wrongful death attorney is likely to seek financial recovery for a client for a spectrum of losses that include:

  • lost wages and support
  • mental suffering of the loved ones
  • pain and suffering of the deceased
  • loss of companionship
  • final medical bills
  • funeral and burial bills
  • loss of consortium

In some instances, a wrongful death lawsuit may include a claim for what are known as punitive or exemplary damages. Punitive or exemplary damages represent additional compensation when the conduct of the party that caused the wrongful death of a family member is deemed to be particularly reckless or egregious. In addition to providing additional compensation, these damages are also intended to serve as a form of punishment for the party responsible for an accident that resulted in someone else’s death.

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Timeframe for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The commonwealth of Kentucky maintains a statute of limitations for wrongful death. The statute of limitations is a law that establishes the timeframe by which a family member must file a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally speaking, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed in court with a year of the family member’s death.

If for some reason a family member’s death was not immediately discovered, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed with a year of the discovery date. 

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case in Kentucky

A personal representative is appointed by the court to represent a deceased person’s estate, and by extension those who are the beneficiaries of that estate. The personal representative is the person who actually is vested with the authority to pursue a wrongful death case. 

Kentucky law delineates how proceeds from a wrongful death claim or lawsuit are distributed. The money garnered from a Kentucky wrongful death case potentially can go to the spouse, children, or parents. If none of these individuals are alive or exist, the proceeds from a wrongful death case go to the estate. 

Retain Experienced, Compassionate Legal Representation

The first step in retaining a skilled, dedicated Louisville wrongful death lawyer, like a member of the legal team at the law firm of TJ Smith, is to schedule an initial consultation. During an initial consultation, you are provided an evaluation of your wrongful death case. You will also have the opportunity to obtain answers to your questions. There is not charge for an initial consultation with a wrongful death attorney.


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