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Which family members can file Kentucky wrongful death claims?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | Wrongful Death

When someone dies unexpectedly in Kentucky, the people closest to them often experience significant hardship. Fatal car crashes, deadly assaults and numerous other incidents can result in one person losing their life and countless others grieving that death.

Those who lose an immediate family member due to misconduct or negligence may be compelled to endure not only grief but also significant financial consequences stemming from that loss and may hope to hold the person or business who caused their loss accountable for those financial challenges. However, not everyone grieving someone’s death is in a position to receive proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit in Kentucky.

Close family members are the main beneficiaries

Typically, it will be the personal representative of a deceased individual’s estate that files the wrongful death lawsuit in the Kentucky civil courts. However, there are some exceptions. When the person who dies is a minor, their parents may file. Assaults involving deadly weapons may lead to lawsuits brought by surviving spouses or children. Otherwise, the estate’s representative is the one to take action.

The person handling the estate won’t retain the proceeds after a successful lawsuit. Instead, they will need to distribute the funds in accordance with Kentucky state law. The family circumstances of the person who died will determine who receives money from a wrongful death claim.

Spouses are often primary beneficiaries in wrongful death lawsuits, and they will receive the full amount of the judgment if someone dies while married but without children. If there are children in the family, proceed s with them, and children may be the primary beneficiaries if someone dies with progeny but no spouse. For those without children or spouses at the time of their death, any proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit would typically go to their parents.

Understanding the rules can help people seek justice

All too often, those affected by the negligence or bad behaviors of others fail to take legal action despite having the right to do so. When people learn about the rules for wrongful death lawsuits and other personal injury claims, they can reduce the hardship they have to endure and create consequences for those who cause harm to others.

Seeking legal guidance to better understand the state’s rules as they apply to wrongful death claims may help those who have recently lost a loved one to choose the best path forward.