When someone dies unexpectedly in an accident, the event can cause intense emotional pain and financial hardship. If another person’s negligence caused the accident, the law could offer you and other surviving family members an opportunity to hold that person accountable for their actions.
If you have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one and believe that someone’s negligence contributed to the event, it would be in your best interest to speak with a compassionate personal injury attorney. An Elizabethtown wrongful death lawyer could help you seek justice and secure financial compensation.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim against a party whose negligence or wrongdoing caused someone else to suffer a fatal accident. If it is successful, a judge will order the at-fault parties to pay monetary damages to compensate the family of the deceased person for the loss of their loved one.
Any act of negligence could form the basis of a wrongful death action if it led to a fatal accident. Negligence is a failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to someone else. A knowledgeable attorney could look into the circumstances of your loved one’s death and determine whether negligence might have been a contributing factor.
Wrongful death damages compensate the decedent’s family for expenses they incurred because of their loved one’s injury and death. Families can also receive compensation for emotional and social losses they suffered due to the death. Damages could include:
Punitive damages are used to punish defendants and dissuade similar behavior in the future. Courts rule in favor of punitive damages in cases involving gross negligence or intentional acts of malice that result in death. Fatal drunk driving wrecks are a common type of accident resulting in punitive damages. A qualified injury attorney could evaluate whether seeking punitive damages is appropriate in your fatal accident claim.
If the deceased person left a will, that document will likely appoint an executor to carry out the decedent’s wishes and settle their estate. The executor could be a member of their family or someone else. If the person did not have a will, a court will appoint an administrator to handle the estate.
The administrator or executor is the personal representative of the estate. Kentucky Revised Statute §411.130 requires the personal representative to bring an action seeking damages for the decedent’s wrongful death. An experienced attorney could advise a family about who may file a wrongful death case.
The law also describes how the damages from a wrongful death action must be distributed. If a decedent left a spouse and children, the spouse will receive half of the compensation awarded, and the children will receive equal portions of the remaining half. If the decedent left only a spouse, the spouse receives all the damages.
If there is no surviving spouse but there are children, the children divide the proceeds equally among themselves. When no spouse or children survive, the damages go to the decedent’s parents. In the absence of surviving spouse, parents, or children, the proceeds are divided among the decedent’s heirs.
Coming to terms with the unexpected death of a loved one is a difficult process. Holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions could offer you and your family closure and provide some financial relief.
An Elizabethtown wrongful death lawyer from the Meagher Law Office could provide understanding and empathy during this difficult time. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.