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Filing for Wrongful Death in Kentucky | The Karl Truman Law Office

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Kentucky?

July 22, 2021

If you have recently lost a loved one due to the negligent or malicious act of another, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against this person. The right to do so is extremely important, especially if you relied on the deceased’s income to live.  You may also be able to recover compensation related to the pain and suffering you experience as a result of your loved one’s passing. 

However, several important rules apply to wrongful death claims, including who is allowed to file such a claim. Regardless of how close you were, the law is very specific about who can sue for wrongful death. Below, we take a closer look at this question, along with how we determine if a wrongful death took place, how much you may be able to recover in a wrongful death claim, and time limits for filing a claim. 

If you have any questions about how to navigate your legal situation, we encourage you to get in touch with a Louisville wrongful death attorney today. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, wrongful death claims can only be brought by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. Ideally, this person is named in the deceased’s will. If a representative is not named or no will exists, the court will appoint one. 

Generally, this will be a surviving spouse, parents of the deceased, or an adult child. If the deceased does not have a surviving spouse, children, or parents, the court will appoint a more remote relative as a representative.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death can happen as a result of any type of accident, from vehicle accidents to defective products. Regardless of the cause, for a loved one’s passing to be considered wrongful death, four things must be true:

  • Another party acted in a negligent or wrongful way
  • This negligent or wrongful act led to injuries
  • These injuries led to the death of your loved one
  • Your loved one’s death resulted in damages, including financial loss

This is very similar to how personal injury cases work, meaning the deceased would have been able to file a personal injury claim if they had survived their injuries.

How Much Can You Get for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

How much you can recover in damages depends on the specifics of your situation. There are three types of damages to consider:

  • Economic damages refer to the financial loss you experience as a result of your loved one’s passing. This can include lost income, lost benefits, funeral expenses, and more. 
  • Non-economic damages are meant to compensate surviving family members for the emotional difficulties associated with the loss of a loved one. This includes losing the companionship, support, and help from your loved one. 
  • Punitive damages may be considered if the person responsible for the wrongful death acted in a willful or grossly negligent manner. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate surviving families but instead to punish the negligent party for their actions. 

When calculating the worth of your case, it’s crucial you fully consider all losses and potential damages, which is why we recommend working with a wrongful death attorney who has experience protecting the rights of surviving family members.

You may be dealing with an insurance company that offers you a settlement, which might seem like an easy way to resolve the matter. However, if the settlement is less than you need and deserve, it could lead to long-term struggles for your family. We want to help make sure that doesn’t happen. 

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Kentucky?

Statutes of limitations are essentially time limits that determine how long you have to file a claim. 

In Kentucky, you have just one year to file a wrongful death lawsuit, unless it takes more than a year for a personal representative to be appointed. In these cases, the statute of limitations is extended to two years. 

If you attempt to file a wrongful death lawsuit after this time period has elapsed, your case will likely be thrown out by the court. That said, there are rare exceptions that might apply. 

Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Louisville Today

Navigating the road ahead after losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult task. Ultimately, no amount of money can replace or make up for your loss. That said, for the long-term well-being of you and your family, you must make sure your legal rights are protected and that you pursue the maximum compensation you need and deserve for the loss you have experienced. 

At the Karl Truman Law Office, we are here to help. We have represented many families who have lost a loved one due to the negligent or willful act of another, and we’re here for you now. 

Please call our Louisville office today at (502) 222-2222 to discuss your situation with our Kentucky wrongful death attorneys. Initial consultations are always free.