The wrongful death of a loved one that is caused by another’s deliberately harmful act or negligence has a unique set of challenges.
While there is no monetary value that will right the wrong that the family suffers, a monetary award may be necessary to help care for children left by the deceased, to pay for a mortgage that the surviving spouse did not anticipate paying alone, or for the costs of burying the deceased.
If you have suddenly lost a loved one, contact a Columbia wrongful death attorney that can work to secure your financial future.
Wrongful Death Claims and Damages
To establish that a wrongful death claim exists, the deceased’s death must have been caused by the negligence or intentional act of another person or entity that is the subject of the claim. The death must have caused financial losses and had a negative impact on the family.
If the victim was a stay-at-home-parent, the costs of hiring a person or company to provide childcare, cleaning, and/or cooking are financial losses suffered by the family in the absence of that parent.
A wrongful death claim may only be filed in Kentucky courts by the representative of the deceased’s estate. Financial awards from wrongful death claims include; compensatory damages, which include loss of earnings, medical bills, court fees, and non-economic awards, such as loss of consortium.
If the claim is successful and there are no children, the surviving spouse is entitled to the entirety of the award. If there is a surviving spouse and children, the award may be equally split amongst them. If there are only surviving children, the children are entitled to split the award equally. If there are no children or spouse, the award is given to the deceased’s parents.
In personal injury cases in Kentucky, including wrongful death cases, there is a one-year period from the date of death that a family has to file a claim in court. If the case is filed in court after the one-year statute of limitations has passed, the court is more likely than not to grant the opposing party’s request to dismiss the case for untimeliness.
When hiring an experienced attorney in a wrongful death claim, the attorney will evaluate the merits, or ultimate facts, of the case. The case evaluation will include considering whether there is a valid wrongful death claim, the expected life of the case, which means the length of time from the beginning to the end of the case, and which family members would be considered in the wrongful death award.
Additionally, the lawyer will evaluate the likely financial award in the wrongful death case. When selecting an attorney in this type of case, it is important that the victim’s family considers the same factors that the attorney will in evaluating the case.
It is also important that the family choose an attorney that they trust to do the best job for them. There will be hard decisions to make, and a lawyer that is trusted to protect the family’s interests is critical when that occurs.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you are a family member of a person that was killed in a wrongful death incident contact an experienced Columbia wrongful death lawyer that can help guide you to the best decisions for your family.