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Can your family sue for wrongful death?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2021 | Wrongful Death

When a loved one dies unexpectedly in an accident caused by someone else, your grief can make handling practical matters difficult. Unfortunately, medical bills and funeral expenses can make it difficult for your family to make ends meet, especially when the deceased person was a primary breadwinner.

If you find yourself in this challenging situation, review the factors involved in filing a Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit.

Who may benefit

Kentucky allows only the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If your family member did not have a will, the court will appoint a personal representative to serve that role. This person may also file a wrongful death suit on your family’s behalf.

If the lawsuit succeeds, the executor must distribute the financial award as follows:

  • 50% to the deceased person’s surviving spouse and 50% to his or her surviving children, if any
  • 100% to the surviving spouse if your family member had no children
  • 100% to the deceased person’s children if he or she died unmarried
  • 100% to the deceased person’s parents if he or she has no surviving spouse or children
  • 100% to the deceased person’s estate if he or she had no children, parents or surviving spouse

What damages may be available

The personal representative and attorney for the family must prove that the defendant’s negligence led to your family member’s death. If successful, the court may award financial damages for legal expenses, burial expenses, medical bills associated with the fatal injury, and loss of the deceased person’s support, companionship, guidance and care.

Your family’s representative must file a wrongful death lawsuit within one year of the person’s death to meet the Kentucky statute of limitations.