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When a mining accident claims a life

Mining is a very dangerous job. It seems like every time an accident happens, it is never minor. Support collapses, cave-ins and exposure to toxic gas are just a few of the hazards that lurk in mining tunnels. Unfortunately, all too often workers lose their lives due to accidents that could have been avoided if mining companies followed and enforced safety regulations.

If you have lost a loved one due to a mining accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death suit. A Kentucky attorney experienced with wrongful death claims can review your case and advise you on the best course of action. Read further for an overview of Kentucky wrongful death laws.

The estate representative in a wrongful death claim

In a personal injury claim, the individual that files a lawsuit is usually the person that was injured due to someone else's negligence. When the result of an accident is death, this is not possible. However, after a person passes, one's estate exists as a legal entity for the purposes of pursuing a claim, paying any remaining expenses and filing a final tax return.

A representative of the decedent's estate can file a wrongful death suit. Usually, the person acting as the representative is the executor of the estate. If there was no will, the court will appoint an administrator to see to the estate and act as the representative.

Beneficiaries

When a wrongful death suit is settled or is successful in court, Kentucky law requires that the award is paid out in very specific ways. For example, if the surviving family members are a widow and children, then half will go to the widow and half to the children. If the decedent left behind a widow but no children, the widow will receive 100 percent of the award. In cases where the decedent was not married and did not have children, the award passes directly to his or her parents.

Elements of the case

In order for a wrongful death suit to succeed, there must be certain elements present. First, the accident must have caused the death of a human being. Secondly, another person or company's negligence must have caused the accident or there must have been an intentional act to cause harm.

If you have lost a loved one due to a mining accident caused by someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to take legal action. Filing a wrongful death suit can be a complicated process, which is why you need someone experienced with the process.

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