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What is a wrongful death?

December 10, 2018

If a death is the result of natural causes, such as old age or a long-term illness, the loss of the victim is tragic, but not legally compensable. However, if a person loses their life due to the actions of another individual, legal liability may come into play. In Kentucky and other American jurisdictions, individuals may suffer wrongful deaths if they lose their lives due to the negligent or reckless acts of others.

Understanding a wrongful death therefore requires a person to have a good understanding of what constitutes negligence. Generally, individuals are expected to conduct themselves in a reasonably safe manner given the circumstances of their situations. If a person fails to act reasonably and harms someone as a result of their choices, they may have been negligent in their conduct.

Recklessness is a somewhat different standard that may also apply in a wrongful death case. A person may be considered to have acted recklessly, if they should have known their actions were dangerous or could be harmful to others.

Accidents, such as car collisions, truck accidents, motorcycle crashes and other violent events, can serve as the bases for wrongful death claims. This is because it is often the case the individuals acted negligently or recklessly to cause them. When a victim dies in a wrongful death scenario, their family members are the ones who have rights to damages the state’s wrongful death statute. But, only the legal representative of the deceased victim’s estate may file the lawsuit.

Pursuing a wrongful death claim can take time and planning. Speaking with a Lexington wrongful death lawyer can be a good first step for individuals who wish to exercise their rights to damages when negligence and recklessness rob them of the people that they love.