Paducah Wrongful Death Lawyer
If someone else’s carelessness or recklessness caused someone you love to die, Kentucky law lets you sue them for money to pay for your loved one’s funeral, burial, and for your pain and suffering.
At Bryant Law Center P.S.C., our attorneys can handle wrongful death lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, or anyone else who is at fault for your loved one’s death.
We handle wrongful death lawsuits in Paducah and throughout Kentucky. We also work with medical professionals to ensure that they follow the latest safety guidelines after a patient has died due to their negligence so this doesn’t happen again.
If you are feeling unsure about your next steps for taking legal action, our Paducah attorneys can help. The process of investigating the death of your loved one should be started as soon as possible. Contact us today.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to the death of a person caused by the negligence of another person or entity. For example a negligent surgeon or someone driving drunk.
Wrongful death is considered a type of personal injury lawsuit. Wrongful death cases are often brought by family members or close loved ones who live in Kentucky and suffer from damages due to their loss.
What Happens in a Paducah Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When our clients come to us after losing a loved one, the first thing we do is assess whether or not their case can be won. To have a claim that can hold up in court, we have to prove that the death was caused by negligence, and not just a simple accident.
If we can show that your loved one’s wrongful death is likely the result of another person or entity’s negligence then it may be time to take action. For example, if a doctor were to improperly diagnose a patient and as a result of this wrongful diagnosis the patient died, then it may be time for action. The death might have been avoided had the doctor not misdiagnosed their illness.
Our lawyers must be able to show that this breach of duty led to death. To have a claim that can hold up in court, another entity, such as a motorist or doctor, must have been negligent or intentional in causing the death.
To prove negligence, our Paducah attorneys will have to show that the defendant owed the deceased a duty to prevent him or her from unreasonable harm and that this duty was breached.
Finally, we must show that the family suffered damages or that they had a financial loss as a result of the death. This can be in terms of funeral expenses, medical bills, or lost wages.
After determining the responsible party and the extent of your financial loss, our team seeks out economic experts to prove their findings in court. If the defendant doesn’t want to settle, we will have investigators and experts help us make a case to be heard in court.
You can feel confident working with our team of lawyers, who are not shy about going to court to get you the justice and compensation you deserve.
Damages Available in Kentucky Wrongful Death Cases
Survivors of the victim in a wrongful death lawsuit may be able to seek compensation for the following types of damages:
- Medical and funeral expenses: The surviving spouse, children, and certain relatives of the victim can recover medical costs incurred as a result of an incident that led to the victim’s death. Burial expenses can also be recouped.
- Conscious pain and suffering: The victim’s spouse and relatives may be able to receive compensation if the decedent was conscious and aware of their impending death or expressed pain during their death.
- Loss of consortium: A surviving spouse may be awarded compensation for the loss of services, assistance, aid, society, and companionship of their loved one as a result of their wrongful death. The surviving parents may be awarded compensation for the loss of love, affection, and companionship from their minor children dying as a result of a wrongful death. Children who lost a parent due to wrongful death may be compensated for the loss of services, assistance, aid, society, and companionship that they received from their parents.
- Lost wages and earnings: A victim’s spouse, children, and/or other family members may be able to collect compensation for the value of lost earning capacity. To help determine the lost earnings, our wrongful death attorneys work with economic experts who will review the deceased’s employment history and describe to a jury the financial loss realized as a result of their death.
- Punitive damages: Although they’re awarded rarely, courts may impose punitive damages on defendants in cases of intentional or grossly negligent behavior. They’re meant to deter similar dangerous behaviors by others.
Causes of Wrongful Death in Paducah, KY
Wrongful death could come about due to many different scenarios including things like:
- Motor vehicle accidents (cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc.)
- Accidents involving pedestrians
- Bike accidents
- Premises that aren’t kept safe (fatal slip and fall)
- Medical malpractice
- Accidents while at work (including hazardous chemical exposure).
- Nursing home abuse/negligence
- Boating accidents
Who Can File a Paducah Wrongful Death Claim?
In Kentucky, only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death claim. This person is often named in the deceased’s will, but if not, the court can appoint one. Generally, the court will appoint the surviving spouse, parents of the deceased, or an adult child. If the deceased does not have any surviving immediate family members, the court will ask a more distant relative to serve as a representative.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in Paducah?
Each state makes its own laws that dictate how long surviving family members or the deceased’s estate have to bring a wrongful death claim. These laws are known as the statute of limitations. In Kentucky, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within one year of the date of the victim’s death. If a lawsuit is not filed before this deadline, the case will likely be dismissed, and the surviving family will lose their chance of recovering compensation. If it takes longer than a year for a personal representative of the deceased’s estate to be named, the statute of limitations is extended to two years.
How Much is a Paducah Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
Many variables determine how much compensation the deceased’s estate will be awarded in a wrongful death claim. The most common factors considered by an insurance company or the court include the following:
- The type and severity of the accident.
- The deceased’s age, habits, and occupation.
- The deceased’s health at the time of death.
- The deceased’s life expectancy had they survived.
- The past and potential future earnings of the decedent.
- The percentage of financial support the spouse relied on.
- Whether the deceased had minor children and how many.
- Whether the deceased was actively involved in their community.
- Whether the deceased contributed to the accident that resulted in their death.
These elements can increase or decrease a family’s potential settlement.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Whether a wrongful death victim was partially responsible for their accident can significantly impact a wrongful death claim’s value. Under Kentucky’s pure comparative negligence law, the deceased victim’s percentage of fault in causing their accident will reduce the claim’s settlement or award. For example, if the deceased’s estate is awarded $500,000, but the deceased victim was found 20 percent to blame for their accident, the estate will only receive 80% of the award, or $400,000.
How Much Does a Paducah Wrongful Death Lawyer Cost?
Many law firms, including Bryant Law Center P.S.C., accept wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. That means we will advance all costs associated with pursuing your claim, and you will only owe legal fees if you recover compensation. If the claim is unsuccessful, there are no fees for hiring representation. As a result, there is no out-of-pocket risk. On average, a wrongful death victim’s surviving family can recover two to three times more compensation even after legal fees when they hire an attorney.
Get Help From a Paducah Wrongful Death Lawyer
After an unexpected loss, you still need to know that your future is protected. Contact our Paducah office for a consultation with an attorney where you can find out whether or not you’re eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit and what the best options are for getting compensation for your loss.