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A review of beneficiaries for wrongful death cases

December 27, 2017

A wrongful death action brought after the death of a Kentucky resident must be filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate within one year of the individual’s death. Once the matter is filed and the sides have pleaded their cases to a court, a judge will offer a ruling that either accepts the plaintiff’s or defendant’s claims. If the complaining side wins, there are a number of beneficiaries who may recover damages from the defendant.

For example, if a father dies and leaves behind a wife and children, a successful wrongful death action based on his passing would benefit both the mother and kids. Half of the recovered damages would go to the mother and the other half would go to the children. If the man passed away without children but did have a wife, the wife would collect all of the damages that were awarded.

If the decedent in the wrongful death claim had no spouse but did have surviving children at the time of their death, then all of the proceeds from the awarded damages would pass to those kids. In a case where a person dies in a wrongful death incident and has no spouse or children, the damages would pass up to their parents.

When no parents, spouses or children survive the decedent, then the financial damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by their personal representative would pass into the decedent’s estate. Wrongful death claims can be difficult and emotional matters to pursue. However, the financial needs of a family may necessitate the recovery of compensation after a loved one perishes in a negligence-based accident.