The unexpected death of a loved one is always a tragedy, but the loss is that much harder to deal with when it was the result of negligence. If someone’s actions or inactions result in the death of another, the surviving family has the right to file a claim to seek compensation for the losses. In Kentucky, a Richmond wrongful death lawyer can provide legal representation and ensure the at-fault party is held accountable and financial recovery is received.
Wrongful death claims are among the most complex under personal injury law because of the evidence needed to prove negligence. With the help of an attorney, your family will have the means needed to pay your bills and provide your loved one with their end of life wishes.
Understanding the claim process can seem overwhelming, but we’ll break it down for you. Let’s start with accidental deaths that can be deemed wrongful and the laws that will impact your claim.
Situations Resulting in Wrongful Death
There are a number of situations that have the potential to result in a wrongful death. In general, any incident that results in loss of life because of negligence, recklessness, or a complete disregard for someone’s safety can prompt legal action. Some of the most common claims we see filed are for the following accidents:
Auto accidents happen in Richmond every day. While most only result in property damage and minor injuries, catastrophic crashes have the potential to end in fatalities. When a motorist is speeding or driving under the influence, the chances of them causing someone else’s death on the road increases. Common injuries that have fatal consequences include traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage.
Truck crashes have the potential to be deadly because of the sheer size difference between a tractor-trailer and a standard passenger vehicle. When a car crashes into the back of a trailer or a semi drives over the top of a car, fatal injuries commonly occur.
While placing an elderly loved one in a nursing home is a challenging decision, it may be necessary depending on their medical needs. When that’s the case, you have to put your trust in the facility and its staff members to care for your loved one. Unfortunately, cases of abuse and neglect are not uncommon in long-term care facilities. Depending on the severity of the related injuries, it’s possible the abuse could be fatal.
Doctors, nurses, and other trained medical staff are supposed to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients under the legal standard of care. When they act outside of that care and a patient is harmed, legal action is available to the injured party. The injuries have the potential to be fatal when they happen in the operating room or involve incorrect medications or diagnoses.
No matter what situation resulted in your loved one’s demise, we’ll fight to ensure the responsible party is held accountable. While this won’t bring your loved one back, it can help your family cope with the loss.
Wrongful Death Laws in Kentucky
When you go to file a wrongful death claim, it’s important to understand the laws that could impact how the process works and the compensation you receive. According to Kentucky Statutes section 411.130, the state defines a wrongful death as “the death of a person that results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another.” In other words, you need to be able to prove that the act that resulted in your loved one’s death was reckless. Not all claims are filed against a person. Some are filed against corporations – like if a defective medical device resulted in a fatal infection.
While filing a claim can result in a full and fair settlement offer, there are times when further legal action is needed to ensure a solid monetary award. If that’s the case, your attorney will help you file a lawsuit in court to receive a verdict for compensation. To successfully file a lawsuit, it must be done so within the required statute of limitations. In Kentucky, claims must be filed within one year of the date on which the decedent died. If that deadline passes, the court has the right to dismiss the lawsuit and the plaintiff is rendered ineligible for compensation.
When you work with a Richmond lawyer from Golden Law Office, they’ll make sure you have a complete understanding of the law revolving around your claim. This way, you’ll improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim in Richmond
Before a claim can be filed, the probate court has to name or appoint a personal representative for the deceased’s estate. That person is responsible for bringing the claim forward, and that’s who the lawyer will likely work with the most. Because the case is civil, liability is expressed only in terms of monetary damages. It’s important to note, however, that a criminal case can be filed at the same time.
When it comes to determining value and distributing compensation, damages are typically distributed in two ways. The estate receives compensation for funeral and burial expenses, in addition to reasonable costs for pursuing the claim. Then, the surviving family members can be compensated for the loss of care, companionship, guidance, and support.
Kentucky law specifies how surviving family members may receive compensation. First, the money goes to the spouse. If there are children, the money is divided equally between the spouse and children. The children receive the entire award if there is no spouse. If there are no spouse or children, the deceased’s parents are eligible for compensation. Finally, the estate receives the compensation if there are no spouse, children, or parents. The debts will be paid and compensation will be dispersed per the will or to any heirs at law.
If the death was caused by an intentional act or gross negligence, the state allows punitive damages to punish the at-fault party.
The Importance of Working with an Experienced Legal Team
At Golden Law Officer, our Richmond wrongful death lawyers understand how difficult it can be to file a claim on behalf of your deceased loved one. Working with dedicated and knowledgeable attorneys will make the process easier for you.
Our lawyers have a comprehensive understanding of the legal process. It’s important that all deadlines are met, and the proper paperwork is submitted and presented. Failing to complete any element of the case can jeopardize a family’s future, so we make sure everything is done as promptly as possible.
In addition to understanding how to successfully file your family’s claim, we’ll also be able to value it accurately. We’ll consider all aspects of loss, even those that aren’t typically thought about. This way, your family will have the means to cover your finances while you transition to living without your loved one’s support.
If necessary, we also have the ability to take your case to trial. While reaching a settlement outside of court is ideal, we recognize that that’s not always the way to get a family full and fair compensation for a wrongful death. Filing a lawsuit will extend how long it takes to finalize your case, but we’ll do what it takes to get you the proper financial recovery.
Because wrongful death claims are so complex, it’s best to get in touch with a Richmond attorney as soon as possible. Contact our firm today to learn more about securing your family’s future.