How Do Wrongful Death Claims Work in Kentucky?

When you have lost a loved one as a result of an accident or negligence, looking for answers and seeking to hold those responsible accountable is important. Though this time may be filled with uncertainty, you deserve an opportunity to take action and pursue justice for your loss.

At Schuler Law Office, our team is committed to providing individuals and families with knowledgeable legal guidance during some of the most stressful and challenging periods of their lives. If you are in Clarksville, New Albany, Charlestown, or the greater Louisville area, we are ready to help you.

We proudly serve the needs of clients in Floyd County, Clark County, Washington County, and throughout all of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Contact our Louisville office today to schedule a consultation.

Why File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Though filing a lawsuit or seeking monetary compensation will not bring back your loved one or take away the pain of their absence, there are good reasons to pursue a wrongful death claim. Holding the responsible party accountable following the accident can protect other individuals and families from suffering the same fate. A successful claim can result in the appropriate changes being made to ensure the safety of others in the future.

Additionally, financial compensation can be helpful to cover the expenses you have incurred following your loved one’s accident. Medical bills, funeral costs, burial expenses, and loss of income from your family member can accumulate quickly. Filing a wrongful death claim can help you to seek financial compensation to help you cover these significant expenses.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to Kentucky Statutes Section 411.130, the state defines wrongful death as “the death of a person (that) results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another.” Both intentional actions (assault) and unintentional incidents (negligence regarding safety regulations, etc.) can be subject to Kentucky wrongful death laws.

After the victim has died, the probate court must name someone to be the representative of the decedent’s estate. It will be the responsibility of this representative to make the decision regarding filing a wrongful death claim. Though the estate’s representative is the one to file the claim, damages can also be awarded to other family members of the decedent. Under Kentucky law, the estate of the decedent will receive damages to cover funeral and burial expenses, as well as the legal costs of filing the claim itself. The distribution of damages to surviving family follows the following order:

  • A surviving spouse (with no children) receives the full amount
  • A surviving spouse and surviving children evenly split the damages awarded
  • Surviving children (with no surviving spouse) split the damages
  • If there are no surviving children or spouse, the decedent’s parents receive the damages
  • If there are no surviving spouses, children, or parents, and the estate’s expenses are covered, the remaining amount will be distributed to the individuals specified in the decedent’s will. In the absence of a will, the damages will be awarded according to the decedent’s legal heirs.

In order to effectively pursue such a claim, your best option is to work with knowledgeable wrongful death attorneys who are well-versed in Kentucky wrongful death claims.

What Damages Are Available?

Compensation that may be sought in a wrongful death claim may include economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium (spouse). 

Where a wrongful death was caused by an intentional act or gross negligence, Kentucky also allows punitive damages to be awarded. Punitive damages are intended to punish bad conduct as a means to deter future harmful or grossly negligent behavior.

Wrongful Death Attorneys Serving Louisville, KY

With decades of combined experience, our attorneys at Schuler Law Office have the understanding and insight you need to pursue a satisfying outcome to your wrongful death claim. We represent individuals and families throughout the state of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, including the areas of Washington County, Clark County, Floyd County, Charlestown, New Albany, Clarksville, and the greater Louisville metro area. If you are in need of legal assistance after the loss of your loved one, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

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