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Photo of Attorneys David F. Fessler and Timothy E. Schneider and Joseph F. Grimme
Photo of attorneys David F. Fessler, Joseph F. Grimme and Timothy E. Schneider

Did you know the 4 elements of a wrongful death claim?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

If someone you love dies unexpectedly, you will experience emotional consequences related to that loss. You will also have to cope with numerous practical implications, including covering funeral expenses and adjusting to a life without that individual’s income.

Kentucky state law does allow for wrongful death lawsuits in certain scenarios. Provided your situation includes the four elements below, you may be in a position to take a person or business to civil court and seek financial compensation for the recent loss of the loved one.

What are the four main elements of a Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit?

1) Someone must die

The first and most basic requirement for a wrongful death claim is that another human must have lost their life. Wrongful death claims are not possible if some kind of tragedy claims the life of a pet, as the Kentucky courts would treat that as property damage. People will need a death certificate, if not medical reports affirming the cause of death.

2) An individual or business caused the death

To bring a wrongful death claim, there has to be a specific party that you want to hold accountable. An individual or a business could face a wrongful death lawsuit if they cause the death of a person through negligence or misconduct.

3) Surviving family members must suffer monetary injury

There are many financial consequences that come from a sudden loss. Frequently, families will ask the courts to award them lost future wages. However, the unpaid services that someone performs around the house could also contribute to the total value of the monetary losses claimed. Families hoping to pursue a wrongful death claim will usually need documentation supporting the specific losses they request in the lawsuit.

4) There must be a personal representative appointed to the estate

Kentucky does not typically allow family members to directly file a wrongful death lawsuit on their own. Instead, the personal representative of the deceased party’s estate will file the lawsuit and then distribute the funds in an appropriate manner given the circumstances. Families usually may need to wait until the initiation of probate proceedings to push for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Understanding the requirements for a Kentucky wrongful death claim can help your family determine if the civil courts can offer a path toward justice.