A wrongful death is an unexpected, premature loss of life due to a wrongful act. Our law firm often witnesses how wrongful deaths occur far too often in Kentucky due to negligence, meaning they were completely preventable.
While nothing will bring back your deceased family member, state law allows victims to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek justice for what they’ve already endured and will continue to go through. There’s a time limit on filing a wrongful death suit that allows you to recover medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages, and other damages, which is why you need to move quickly in establishing an attorney-client relationship and taking legal action.
Types of Accidents That Can Result in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The list is endless when it comes to the types of accidents that may result in wrongful death. Some of the most common types of incidents that turn into fatal accidents include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Bicycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Malfunctioning products
- Dangerous medications
- Auto accidents, such as car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice incidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Defective medical devices
- Workplace accidents
- Dangerous property situations
While the list above is far from comprehensive, it gives you an idea of the wide range of incidents that result in a person’s premature death.
The Lexington wrongful death lawyers at Thomas Law Offices know that losing a loved one unexpectedly is never easy to cope with, especially when you counted on the emotional support and the financial support they provided members of your household.
You need time to grieve and adjust to your new normal, having to carry the weight of the responsibilities your deceased loved one isn’t able to fulfill now that they’re gone. Let our Lexington wrongful death attorneys build a case that allows you to seek compensation to restore some semblance of peace to your life once again.
There’s no obligation to schedule a free consultation with a Lexington wrongful death attorney at Thomas Law Offices. Also, if we establish an attorney-client relationship with you, we won’t charge you anything for our legal representation in your case unless we secure a monetary wrongful death settlement for you.
Consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit with our Thomas Law Offices Lexington wrongful death attorneys, who will stick by your side throughout the entire process of holding a negligent party accountable for their intentional acts.
Who Is Eligible To File a Kentucky Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death case is different from other personal injury ones in that the victim didn’t solely suffer injuries but instead fell victim to reckless behavior, criminal acts, or some other negligent act that resulted in a fatal injury. This means that the victim cannot take legal action on their own to recover compensation in their Lexington, KY case.
So, who does have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death claim in a situation like this, then? Kentucky law allows the following individuals to file wrongful death claims:
- A personal representative for the decedent’s estate (that personal representative may or may not be a family member)
- Close surviving family members, including an immediate family member such as a surviving spouse or surviving children
- Individuals that can show that they were financially dependent on the victim
- Distant surviving family members of the decedent, such as surviving parents
There may be some additional categories to which individuals can belong that may make them eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Kentucky if a decedent didn’t have any surviving family members at the time of their passing.
It can be beneficial to meet with a Lexington wrongful death lawyer for a free consultation to discuss your non-family member relationship with the decedent. Doing so will help you determine if you might be eligible to file a wrongful death claim yourself and whether you can recover the entire award.
Factors That Impact Settlement Amounts in Lexington Wrongful Death Cases
When you go to seek compensation for your loved one’s loss, your Lexington wrongful death attorney will advise you that the amount in damages you can recover is contingent upon:
Degrees and Types of Negligence
Liability isn’t always clear-cut. Multiple parties, including the decedent, may have all been partially negligent, resulting in the fatal accident. This factor, along with whether contributory or gross negligence was involved, may impact the amount of financial compensation a plaintiff can recover in a Lexington, KY wrongful death case.
Details Surrounding the Decedent and Their Life
A Kentucky insurance company seeking to settle a wrongful death claim on behalf of their insured will often request the decedent’s medical records to gain a better understanding of their health at the time of their death.
An insurance company may also request details about educational background, and career prospects the decedent had leading up to their death. Your Lexington wrongful death lawyers may need to supply the insurer with pay stubs or tax records.
Insurers often request the items described above to gain some perspective as to whether they believe that the demand for financial compensation that your Kentucky wrongful death lawyer is requesting is warranted (from their perspective).
Insurers also access an actuarial life table, which essentially guides them in determining your loved one’s life expectancy had their lives not unexpectedly been cut short.
Compensation Available to Lexington, KY Wrongful Death Plaintiffs
Not all fatal accidents start out that way. There are many situations where an accident victim initially survives an injury incident but ultimately succumbs to their injuries, dying either soon thereafter or months or years later.
An injured victim may receive life-saving care, which may include surgery, prior to their untimely demise in the hours after their accident.
Other victims may end up hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU) in a coma or need to be housed in a long-term care facility that’s capable of providing around-the-clock care after they suffer a severe brain injury or perhaps a severed spinal cord before they ultimately perish from complications associated with their accident some time ago.
What Economic Damages Are
Whether your loved one passed away immediately as a result of their involvement in a Lexington, KY accident or passed on sometime afterward, they may have some of the following losses that Kentucky laws allow you to recover on their behalf, often to pay creditors and to make up for their lost income and other missing contributions to your family:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and future lost earnings
- Funeral expenses or the combination of funeral and burial expenses
There’s no specific dollar value assigned to the economic damages described above. They will vary depending on the type of medical bills your loved one received prior to their death and other losses associated with their demise.
Lexington wrongful death attorneys also demand punitive damages on behalf of your family members when filing a Kentucky wrongful death claim. These damages are generally awarded by the court if wrongful death claims are proven.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Accidents that result in a loved one’s death tend to be particularly serious. For example, a drunk driver may have gotten behind the wheel and been so intoxicated that they not only collided with your loved one at an intersection by blowing a red light, but did so at an extremely high rate of speed, causing their immediate, untimely death.
Kentucky law allows judges to order defendants to pay punitive damages when the circumstances surrounding wrongful deaths are particularly egregious. In other words, they show malicious intent or gross negligence, or that it was an intentional act. The reason punitive damages exist is to further penalize the responsible party for their negligence and to hopefully dissuade them from committing similar acts ever again.
How Our Lexington Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You
From our perspective as wrongful death attorneys, any wrongful act that results in a loved one’s death is too much. It’s in your best interest to secure maximum compensation to help you recover as much as possible from your loss.
Our Lexington wrongful death lawyers can guide you through every step of the legal process so you can work on grieving and getting your life back in order. Contact our legal team at Thomas Law Offices to take charge of the narrative in your Kentucky case today by scheduling a no-obligation free case review.