What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim means that someone was killed wrongfully. In other words, someone else’s negligence or recklessness resulted in a death. For car wrecks and motorcycle accidents, it does not mean that alcohol or drugs had to be involved. It simply means that a car accident was caused by someone’s negligence and that because of that negligence, a person was killed in the wreck.
What Makes Kentucky Wrongful Death Law Unique? (Measure of damages is a purely economic calculation of the destruction of earning power)
The wrongful death claim can only be pursued by the Estate of the deceased person. That person’s Estate is allowed to recover what is called the destruction of the power to earn money. In essence, this fancy phrase refers to the amount of money that person could have potentially have earned over their lifetime.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Kentucky?
An actual wrongful death claim can only be brought by the deceased person’s Estate. However, usually, in the car wreck cases I have handled, we start with investigating the car wreck and trying to preserve as much evidence as possible. Once that initial investigation is complete, we will file the necessary paperwork with the Probate Court to open the Estate.
What Can I Recover From The Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
It depends upon what your relationship was to the deceased person. The wrongful death statute is KRS 411.130. That statute lays out how the money from a wrongful death claim is to be distributed. This is a complicated statute but the essence of it is that widow and children of the deceased recover first and if there is no widow or children, the recovery goes to the parents of the deceased.
What Is A Loss of Consortium?
The idea in wrongful death situation is that you may be able to recover for the loss of the affection you would have received from that person. Usually you see this claim when dealing with the loss of a child. For car wrecks, we don’t see this claim as much as for purposes of insurance coverage, it is a derivative of the wrongful death claim. This means that if the at-fault driver was insured for $100,000 for example, the loss of consortium claim is not considered a separate claim and there is still only $100,000 that can be recovered from the insurance company.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations For A Wrongful Death Claim In Kentucky?
For a wrongful death claim, the Statute of Limitations is one year from the date of the death or one year from the date the Estate was opened. However, that a loss of consortium claim only has a one year statute of limitations. So if you wait to contact a lawyer until 18 months after the person’s death, we could still get the Estate open and thereby preserve the wrongful death claim. However, the loss of consortium claim would be barred.
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