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Kentucky Wrongful Death Attorney

wrongful death casket with flowers

The pain of losing a loved one is devastating. When the death is caused by the recklessness or negligence of another person, it hurts even more.

You’re grieving and you’re confused — how did this happen? Why?

If you feel your loved one’s death was caused by another party’s recklessness, the wrongful death lawyers at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer can help you determine whether you have a right to compensation for your loss.

We know that nothing can replace the person you lost. But you and your family may deserve compensation for the financial — and emotional — trauma you’ve endured because of this. We will fight to hold negligent parties responsible, and help you begin to feel whole again after this difficult time.

Contact us now for your free consultation.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kentucky?

Kentucky state law allows the personal representative of anyone killed by a negligent or wrongful action to seek damages from the at-fault party. The personal representative is typically a spouse or other close relative of the victim.

The deceased individual may have designated a representative to be the executor of his or her estate, which means this person would be in charge of handling the final affairs, including the wrongful death claim. Or, if the victim did not leave a will, a probate court will appoint a personal representative.

Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim

Our Kentucky wrongful death lawyers will work with your family to document all the losses you have suffered as a result of your loved one’s death. You could be entitled to a wide range of damages, which may include:

  • Final medical bills incurred prior to the person’s death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of benefits, including medical benefits and pensions
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Value of household services the individual would have provided
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of care, protection, and guidance
  • Loss of companionship
  • Survivors’ pain, suffering, and mental anguish

It is also possible for punitive damages to be awarded in rare cases. Punitive damages are usually awarded to punish defendants for their conduct and send a message to others that their behavior will not be tolerated. Unlike many other states, Kentucky does not place a limit (often referred to as a “cap”) on how much victims could recover in punitive damages.

Wrongful death cases can often be resolved through settlements. That is because most insurance companies do not want the risks or the costs of having to take a case to trial. However, if your wrongful death case does go to court, you can trust that the respected trial lawyers at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer will be ready to fight for you all the way to verdict.


How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

Damages in a wrongful death case will be distributed to the surviving family members as follows:

  • The surviving spouse receives the entire award when there are no children.
  • The surviving spouse splits the award equally with surviving children.
  • The surviving children receive the entire award when there is no surviving spouse.
  • Surviving parents receive the entire award when there is no surviving spouse or surviving children.
  • The estate of the deceased person receives the entire award when there is no surviving spouse. surviving children, or surviving parents, and the award is divided according to the deceased’s will.

Many wrongful death settlements are paid in lump-sum payments, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) generally considers these payments to be non-taxable. A settlement could also be structured, such that damages are paid out regularly over a number of years.

How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Many wrongful death cases will begin with lawyers determining who is the personal representative, calculating the damages that a family is entitled to, and then submitting a formal demand letter to the negligent party’s insurance company. The insurer will usually reject the initial demand, and the case will enter a settlement negotiation phase.

Keeping in mind the statute of limitations in a wrongful death case, a lawsuit may have to be filed when it appears that a satisfactory wrongful death settlement cannot be reached in time. An attorney can keep this date in mind while attempting to negotiate a settlement to your case and can ensure that your legal rights are protected.

What Do You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case?

When you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will be required to prove that the defendant’s negligence or intentional actions caused your loved one’s death. To prove another party’s negligence, you will essentially have to show four basic elements:

  • Duty of Care — The defendant must have owed a legal duty to the victim to act in a reasonable and safe manner. For example, drivers have a duty of care to others on the road, and doctors have a duty to their patients.
  • Breach of Duty — The defendant breached the duty to the victim by failing to act in a reasonable and safe manner.
  • Causation — The breach of that duty of care directly caused the victim’s injuries.
  • Damages — The victim’s injuries resulted in damages.

Different kinds of evidence could be presented in a wrongful death case, and the types of evidence in your case will depend on the type of accident that claimed your loved one’s life. Police reports relating to fatal motor vehicle accidents, eyewitness testimony, and photos from the accident scene are just a few of the more common kinds of evidence in these cases.

How Our Kentucky Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You

Determining exactly what happened and who is responsible. The experienced legal team at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer will immediately commence a thorough investigation into your loved one’s death. We will identify who precisely was responsible and collect evidence to prove that their negligence was to blame. It is not unusual for multiple parties to be at fault for someone’s untimely death (particularly in the case of commercial vehicle accidents or product liability cases), and our team will demand justice from anyone who contributed to the accident in any way.

Managing all communication with insurance companies. Our understanding wrongful death attorneys know what families go through in the aftermath of a loved ones’ untimely death. Surviving family members need time to grieve and heal, and they should not have to worry about finances and insurance company representatives pressuring them during this challenging time. Unfortunately, dealing with insurance companies after a fatal accident is usually necessary, but our wrongful death lawyers will handle all discussions and negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf.

Demanding full compensation for your family. Because we know how wrongful death claims work and the tactics insurance companies will use to deny or underpay valid claims, we will aggressively fight for the full compensation your family is owed. We are known for being tenacious litigators both at the negotiating table and in the courtroom, and we will not accept anything less than what your family needs to be able to grieve, heal, and move forward with your lives.

Don’t try to handle a wrongful death claim on your own. Instead, turn to Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer for the qualified, experienced legal assistance that you need and deserve. You can also know more on how you can protect your future after a family member’s death on the job.

Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Kentucky

An action to recover damages for wrongful death in Kentucky has to be brought within one year of the date of a person’s death. When a person who could bring a personal injury claim dies before the statute of limitations expires, the cause of action will survive, and a lawsuit can still be brought by a personal representative within one year of being appointed personal representative.

One important exception in a wrongful death case could concern an actual cause of death being discovered later. For example, a death originally considered an accident could be determined to be a murder. In these types of cases, the family would have one year to file from the date they learned of the true cause of death.

Another possible complication to the statute of limitations could concern a liable party that is a governmental entity. Claims against the state government in Kentucky also have a one-year statute of limitations, but local governments in certain cities or counties could have much stricter limitations.

Because the laws regarding pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit are so complex, you will want to get a lawyer involved right away so you can be sure you take the necessary action within the allotted time.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

A wrongful death can be the result of many different kinds of accidents. Some people are killed instantaneously, while others may die from their injuries several days or weeks later.

Some of the most frequent causes of wrongful death include:

Some wrongful deaths are also the result of criminal acts such as homicides. The state may pursue criminal charges against the offenders in such cases, but criminal cases do not seek compensation for victims. The state will only seek to impose punishments such as fines and/or imprisonment.

It is important to remember that you can pursue a civil case in addition to the criminal case. And, even if a person is not convicted of a criminal offense in connection with your loved one’s death, he or she can still be held civilly liable because a criminal case is completely separate from a wrongful death action.

Talk to a Kentucky Wrongful Death Attorney Now

The attorneys at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer provide compassionate and experienced representation for Kentucky families who have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act. We know how devastating the untimely loss of a family member can be, and we will do everything in our power to help your family get answers and justice.

Our caring lawyers are here to provide support and counsel to you during your time of need. We will explain your legal options, handle communication with the insurance companies, and make sure that you are not pressured into accepting less than what you are rightfully owed.

We believe that every family deserves high-quality legal representation, and you should not have to worry about how you will afford our services. That is why we represent clients with wrongful death claims on a contingency fee basis, which means we will not get paid until we secure a settlement or a verdict for you. Our consultations are 100 percent free and confidential, and you will not have to pay us anything upfront to represent you.

Please call us or contact us online now to receive your free consultation, and let us help you demand justice for your loved one.