Representing a family that has lost a loved one is one of the most difficult cases we handle. We understand that we cannot bring back the loved one, but we do everything we can to bring about healing for the family and all those who have lost someone they loved. The photo below is a tragic case we handled where three young people were killed when the driver lost control on a gravel road in Christian County Kentucky, landing in a nearby body of water when the vehicle overturned, resulting in the occupants drowning. One occupant was able to exit the vehicle. The photo below reveals the extent of this tragedy. This is an example of a wrongful death claim in Kentucky.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Collision
There are several types of damages that can be collected in a wrongful death claim. These include the following:
- Special Damages: These are actual damages with specific monetary amounts that include medical expenses, funeral expense and lost income. Our law firm will retain an economist to determine the work life of the individual who died and income they would have received had they lived. Medical bills and funeral expenses are obtained by our office for treatment following the collision. Very often in wrongful death cases there are minimal medical expenses if the person dies instantly. The bulk of special damages will be the loss of income and benefits over the remainder of their life had they lived.
- Pain and Suffering: If the deceased survived even a few moments in time it is assumed in Kentucky that they suffered pain and be compensated for those brief moments left in their life when they were likely aware of impending death with considerable pain. Pain and suffering is determined by a case by case basis when the insurance case is settled or by a jury.
- Consortium Claims: In Kentucky the spouse, children and parents of a lost child will have a consortium claim. This is the claim for the suffering of the remaining family member, parent, child or spouse for the loss of their loved one. In establishing a consortium claim it is necessary to obtain evidence of the relationship of the parties, photos of how they were when they were together so that loss can be established. We often create a day in the life of the family to show the love that they held for each other. This type of evidence is used to maximize a consortium claim.
- Property Damage: Any car or truck accident resulting in the death of a person may be loss of the vehicle so you can collect property damage which the value of the vehicle prior to the collision.
Definition of Wrongful Death
All wrongful death claims must include the following:
- Another person, corporation, company was negligent and deviated from the standard of care
- The negligence of the party caused injuries (at fault party or parties)
- Injuries resulted in the death of a loved one
- Death of the individual resulted in damages to include pain and suffering and financial loss
Who Files a Wrongful Death Claim in Kentucky
Since the deceased cannot file their own claim in Kentucky and in most states a wrongful death claim can only be brought by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. The person can be named in the will or more common, the deceased’s spouse, who is usually appointed, or an adult child or the parents of the deceased. The Court can appoint a representative if there is no family member who qualifies. The Courts generally prefer the administrator or administratrix or executor or executrix to reside in the state and must be physically and mentally able to handle the estate. The Court will conduct a hearing in District Court and an appoint the personal representative after taking an oath to carry out the administrative duties. The Administrator must follow Kentucky law in disbursing recoveries in the wrongful death action to the heirs at law. These heirs would generally include the spouse and children of the deceased. If none exist it can be other family members established by law.
Call Us To Help
With over 47 years of experience in representing families who have lost a loved one our firm not only has the experience to handle this claim, but the compassion of a family law firm who cares. If you have lost a loved one do not hesitate to contact us personally.
Flora Templeton Stuart is the lead attorney and founder of the law firm Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, established in 1976. She is a nationally recognized personal injury lawyer with over 40 years of experience. Her story has been featured on Fox, The New York Times, ABC, Time, and NBC.