Kentucky Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a spouse, child, or other family member is always devastating. It’s even more so when it was a preventable loss caused by someone else’s recklessness or negligence. If you feel someone else’s carelessness caused your loved one’s death, the wrongful death attorneys at the Bryant Law Center can help you determine whether you have a right to compensation for your loss.
While we know that nothing can replace the person you lost, we also know that you and your family may deserve compensation for your financial and emotional trauma. And for many families, it’s the practical concern of meeting the monthly bills without a loved one’s support.
Kentucky law lets you file a wrongful death lawsuit if another person’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions resulted in the injury or death of your loved one. We have decades of experience helping people in Kentucky recover fair compensation for wrongful deaths at the Bryant Law Center.
Our wrongful death attorneys can handle lawsuits against other drivers, businesses, doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, or anyone at fault for your family member’s death. If you feel unsure about your next steps for taking legal action, our Paducah wrongful death lawyers can help. Call today for a no-obligation free consultation.
Why Choose Us
The Kentucky wrongful death lawyers at Bryant Law Center, P.S.C. have decades of combined experience representing the interests of persons who have lost a loved one to a tragic accident. If we take your case following your risk-free, cost-free consultation, we will handle it for you every step of the way and recover the best possible compensation.
What is Wrongful Death
“Wrongful death” is a legal term that refers to the death of one person caused by another person’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions. These lawsuits can arise from fatal injuries in several situations, including death from:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, including being killed by a drunk driver or someone under the influence of drugs
- Workplace or construction accidents
- Pedestrian and bicycling accidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Defective or dangerous product
- Physical assault
- Medical malpractice
These are just some of the more common causes of wrongful death.
Kentucky law allows the personal representative of anyone killed by a negligent or wrongful action to seek damages from the at-fault party. The personal representative is typically a spouse or other close relative of the victim.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a personal injury lawsuit filed by family members who suffered damages due to their loved one’s death.
How a Kentucky Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
A wrongful death lawyer can be invaluable when pursuing a claim in the following ways:
Wrongful death cases can be complex, involving intricate legal processes and documentation. An experienced lawyer has the expertise and knowledge to navigate these complexities and ensure that the claim is properly handled.
A wrongful death lawyer has the resources to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death to determine who is legally responsible. This involves gathering and analyzing evidence, speaking to witnesses, consulting experts, and reconstructing the events leading to the fatal incident.
Many wrongful death cases are resolved before trial through negotiations with insurance companies. Skilled lawyers are adept at fighting for fair compensation on behalf of surviving family members and protecting them from unfair tactics by insurers to devalue or deny claims.
If necessary, a wrongful death lawyer will file a lawsuit and represent the family in court. They will present a strong case and advocate for the maximum compensation.
Dealing with the preventable loss of a loved one is devastating. A compassionate wrongful death lawyer will provide support and understanding during this difficult time while handling all legal aspects of the case.
Causes of Wrongful Death in Kentucky
Common causes of wrongful death in Kentucky include:
Negligent behaviors such as reckless driving, drunk driving, and distracted driving are common causes of wrongful deaths. Reckless actions like speeding, aggressive driving, and disregarding traffic laws significantly increase the risk of a collision being deadly.
Fatal motorcycle accidents can occur due to various factors, with some frequent causes including drivers failing to yield the right-of-way, making left-hand turns in front of motorcyclists, or not checking blind spots before changing lanes.
Some common causes of these tragic incidents include drivers failing to yield, ignoring right-of-way rules, or engaging in distracted or reckless driving. Poorly designed or maintained roadways, such as a lack of bike lanes or dangerous intersections, can also contribute to fatal bicycle accidents.
Drivers not paying attention to pedestrians on or near the road, speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are leading causes of wrongful death claims related to pedestrian accidents.
Workplace accidents resulting in wrongful death claims are often due to falls from heights, working with heavy machinery and equipment, exposure to hazardous substances or toxic chemicals, and transportation-related incidents with company vehicles.
Slip-and-falls and Other Premises-Based Injuries
Slip and fall accidents caused by hazardous conditions such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, or poorly maintained walkways can cause fatal injuries.
Other premises-based injuries that can cause a wrongful death often involve falling objects, structural collapses, electrocutions, or inadequate security, leading to violent attacks. Swimming pool accidents due to lack of supervision or proper safety features can also lead to tragic outcomes.
Wrongful deaths due to medical malpractice often result from preventable errors, such as misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, and anesthesia-related mistakes. Additionally, inadequate communication among medical staff, failure to obtain informed consent, and insufficient monitoring of patients during and after procedures can also contribute to fatal medical malpractice incidents.
Who Can File a Kentucky Wrongful Death Claim?
In Kentucky, the right to file a wrongful death claim and the individuals who are eligible to bring such a claim are specifically defined under Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) §411.130. This law allows only the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. This individual is typically named in the decedent’s will or appointed by the court to manage the estate.
How is Wrongful Death Compensation Awarded?
Once the personal representative files the wrongful death claim, any damages awarded as a result of the lawsuit will be distributed to the beneficiaries of the deceased person’s estate. The beneficiaries are usually the surviving family members, such as the spouse, children, or parents, depending on the situation. and compensation will be distributed as follows:
- Surviving spouse and no children: Spouse will receive the entire award.
- Surviving spouse and children: Spouse and child split the award equally.
- Surviving children and no spouse: The children will receive the entire award.
- Surviving parents and no spouse or children: Parents will receive the entire award.
- The estate and no surviving spouse, children, or parents: The estate will receive the award and then divide it according to the deceased’s will.
Wrongful death awards can be paid out in a lump sum or regularly over a number of years and are generally non-taxable income.
Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
Proving negligence after a fatal accident in Kentucky typically involves establishing the following four key elements:
Duty of Care
It must be demonstrated that the defendant (at-fault party) owed the deceased person a legal duty of care. In Kentucky, individuals have a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others. For example, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely, doctors have a duty to provide competent medical care, and property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a safe condition.
Breach of Duty
There must be evidence that the defendant breached their duty of care, meaning their actions or omissions fell below the standard of care expected in the given situation. It involves showing that the defendant acted negligently or failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent harm. For example, if there was evidence in a fatal car accident case that the defendant was texting before they caused the collision.
You must establish a causal connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the fatal accident. In other words, you must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions or negligence directly led to the accident and subsequent death.
Finally, you must provide evidence of the damages suffered by the deceased person’s estate and beneficiaries as a result of the fatal accident. Damages can include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of expected income, loss of companionship, etc.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is generally one year from the date of the person’s death. The statute of limitations is a strict deadline, and if you fail to file the claim within this timeframe, you may lose your right to pursue legal action. There are some exceptions and specific circumstances that can affect the statute of limitations in certain cases. Still, it is always best to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney to understand the precise time limitations that apply to your situation.
Kentucky’s Wrongful Death Law
Kentucky Law 411.130 protects the right of individuals and families who have lost loved ones due to another’s negligence to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The surviving family members of the person lost in the accident can file the wrongful death suit.
The Process of Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kentucky
If you believe that another person’s negligence caused the death of a family member, you should consult with our wrongful death lawyers for legal advice. When working with a client who has lost someone close to them, we first evaluate their claim.
For your claim to be successful, we have to prove:
- That the death was caused by negligence, recklessness, or an intentional action
- That the person responsible breached their duty of care
- That you suffered losses as a result of your family member’s death.
For example, if a doctor misdiagnoses a patient and that misdiagnosis leads to the patient’s death, the deceased’s family may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Our wrongful death lawyers will investigate your case to identify all responsible parties, prove that they owed the deceased a duty, and establish the responsible party’s negligence.
Our attorneys will then use your claim to negotiate with the responsible party and their insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve. If the other party refuses to negotiate in good faith or offer a fair settlement, our wrongful death lawyers will prepare to file a lawsuit to take your case to court.
Once the case has been settled through negotiations or a court has delivered a verdict, you will be able to receive compensation for your losses.
Recoverable Loss and Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When you have lost a loved one to a tragic accident, while no amount of damages can make up for their loss, there are damages available to provide some form of compensation. The types of damages that are recoverable in wrongful death lawsuits generally include the lost financial contribution of your loved one to your household, funeral expenses, as well as damages to cover the loss of their emotional contribution to your household. In some situations, damages for pain and suffering are also available, depending upon the circumstances of the accident and how the law and case precedent applies to them.
The courts recognize that the loss of a breadwinning member of a household can be financially ruinous to a family. When the loss was caused by an accident, the party that was liable for the accident will be responsible for covering the associated damages.
Wrongful death lawsuits may offer the victim’s family members compensation for the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses incurred before the person’s death
- The victim’s conscious pain and suffering if they lived for some time after an injury before dying.
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Lost wages, including what they would have earned over their lifetime if they had not been killed in a fatal accident.
- Loss of benefits, including medical benefits and pensions
- Survivors’ pain, suffering, and mental anguish
Punitive damages may also apply depending on the nature of the case. A court may order punitive damages to be awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were deemed intentional or grossly negligent.
Wrongful death cases are most often resolved through settlements. This is because most insurance companies do not want the risks or the costs of taking a case to trial. However, if your case does go to trial, you can rest assured that the nationally recognized trial lawyers at the Bryant Law Center P.S.C. are ready to fight for justice for you all the way to the verdict.
Contact the Bryant Law Center for Legal Help
When a tragedy strikes, it is essential to find out how you can safeguard your future. The Paducah personal injury attorneys at Bryant Law Center P.S.C. have decades of experience helping people in Kentucky recover compensation after the wrongful death of a loved one.
Contact us today for a no-obligation free consultation with one of our wrongful death attorneys and learn more about how we can help you with your claim.
We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis at the Bryant Law Center P.S.C. This allows families to receive experienced legal representation without coming up with money out of pocket to hire us. We only receive a fee when we win compensation for you through a settlement or a jury verdict.
For a cost-free, risk-free assessment on your wrongful death claim, schedule a consultation or call (270) 550-1230 to speak with an experienced Kentucky wrongful death attorney from Bryant Law Center P.S.C about options on your claim.