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Filing a wrongful death claim in Kentucky

Under Kentucky state law, family members who have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person have the right to pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Kentucky residents may find it helpful to learn more details about this process, such as who can file the claim, what damages the plaintiff can expect to recover and the deadline for filing.

A plaintiff may proceed with a wrongful death action when an individual suffered a fatal injury resulting from but not inclusive to a vehicle or aircraft accident, a workplace or property accident, a homicide, medical misconduct or other supervised activities. The plaintiff in the case is defined as the victim's representative or immediate family members, such as a parent, spouse or child. Paramount to the claim is the factor of negligence in the plaintiff's allegation that the suspect's wrongful act or negligent conduct caused the victim's death. Credible evidence must exist supporting the plaintiff's claim. Such evidence may be gathered from details in a police report, witness statements and any criminal charges filed against the suspect following the incident.

If the plaintiff prevails in the lawsuit, the monetary award shall include restitution for medical and burial costs, court and attorney fees and possible loss of future income for surviving dependents. A court determines the amount of the plaintiff's pecuniary losses, depending on circumstances. For example, a surviving spouse may receive non-economic damages such as loss of consortium, while surviving parents may recover loss of companionship and grief.

Many people who have suffered the loss of a family member due to an individual's negligent actions may choose to retain a personal injury attorney to represent them in a wrongful death claim. Because the statute of limitations in Kentucky is a year following the victim's death, a personal injury attorney may be able to increase the plaintiff's chances for prompt and full compensation.

Source: Kentucky Legislature, "Action for wrongful death -- Personal representative to prosecute -- Distribution of amount recovered.", September 26, 2014

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