How to Prove a Wrongful Death
If you have lost somebody that you love due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity in Kentucky, then you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, family members and the estate of the deceased are allowed to file wrongful death claims in an effort to recover closure and compensation for what happened. However, these cases are fraught with challenges. Proving wrongful death can be a complex process. Here, we want to discuss the elements that need to be in place in order for a Kentucky wrongful death claim to reach a successful conclusion.
The Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim in Kentucky
After a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed, an attorney will be busy conducting a thorough investigation into the incident. It is crucial for wrongful death lawyers in Kentucky to be able to prove the various elements of a wrongful death case. In general, these elements are as follows:
- Duty of Care. An attorney must first show the court that there was a duty of care established between the defendant and the deceased. The duty of care will look different depending on the type of situation involved in the particular claim. For example, for cases involving fatal car accidents, an attorney will need to prove that the defendant had an obligation to obey the rules of the road to ensure the safety of others around them. For wrongful death claims involving injuries that occur on someone else’s property, an attorney will need to show that the property owner had a duty to ensure the safety of their premises.
- Breach of Duty of Care. After a duty of care has been established between the defendant and the deceased, an attorney will have to show that the defendant somehow breached their duty of care. Again, a breach of duty will look different depending on the particular situation. For example, if the incident involves a fatal car accident, the attorney must show that the defendant failed to obey the applicable traffic laws, such as operating while impaired by alcohol or drugs, recklessly speeding, driving while distracted, etc.
- Causation. It is not sufficient for an attorney to merely show that the defendant broke the law or breached their duty of care in some way. An attorney will also have to show that the defendant’s actions directly caused the wrongful death. For example, even if a defendant ran a red light while operating their vehicle, they will not be responsible for the deceased’s death if the death was caused by something else, such as a mechanical defect on the deceased’s vehicle.
- Damages. Finally, an attorney handling the wrongful death case will need to show that there are actual monetary damages involved in the case. This can include a range of types of expenses, including medical bills the deceased incurred before their death as a result of the incident, pain and suffering of the deceased before their death, funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering of the family members, etc.
Work With an Attorney to Handle the Case
It is absolutely crucial for family members and the estate of the deceased to work with a skilled Kentucky wrongful death attorney in these situations. An attorney can handle every aspect of the case, including ensuring the claim is filed on time, that an adequate investigation is conducted, and that negotiations result in an adequate compensation amount. An attorney will also fully prepare to take a wrongful death case to trial if necessary.