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What damages are available in a wrongful death claim?

If you have had the terrible experience of losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may have some legal recourse in Kentucky. According to state laws, you have one year from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit as long as you have been named by a court to be the personal representative to the decedent’s estate. Only the person who has been appointed can file the suit on behalf of the spouse, children or parents of the deceased.

There are several types of damages that can stem from a wrongful death claim, including the cost of funeral and burial expenses as well as the cost of filing a lawsuit. Additionally, a claim can seek compensation for the loss of guidance, companionship, care and support of the deceased.

The Kentucky law that defines wrongful death outlines the way in which any damages recovered will be distributed. For example, the damages associated with funeral and burial expenses as well as the cost of filing a wrongful death claim will go toward the decedent’s estate. The other damages will be given to surviving family members in the following order:

  • The surviving spouse of a decedent with no children will receive the entire award.
  • When the decedent leaves behind a spouse and children, the award will be split equally.
  • If there is no surviving spouse but the decedent does have surviving children, the children will receive the entire award.
  • When there is no surviving spouse or children, then the decedent’s parents receive the award.

In matters in which there are is no spouse, children or parents, the estate will receive the damages.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice. Speak with a wrongful death attorney in Lexington for more information.