The death of a loved one is overwhelming and devastating for the family left behind, and the knowledge that the death was the direct result of someone else’s negligent actions can make it that much more painful. The knowledge that what happened was preventable compounds the tragedy.
For a wrongful death claim to be valid, it must be shown that the accident causing the death was the direct result of some entity’s negligent actions, or failure to take action. The party can be considered negligent when they fail to act in the way a reasonable person would in the same situation with regard to the safety of others. Examples of when it may be possible to file for wrongful death include:
Car accidents. If the accident was caused by another driver who was intoxicated, distracted, speeding, or other negligent driving conduct, that person may be held accountable. In cases where a vehicle part malfunctioned, resulting in the accident and/ or death, it may be appropriate to bring legal action against the car or part manufacturer.
Medical malpractice. Whenever we consent to undergo a medical procedure, no matter how minor or routine, we place our lives in the hands of medical professionals, trusting them to use their knowledge and expertise to protect our health. When a surgeon tries to work while sleep-deprived or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or a doctor makes a careless mistake with the dosage of a medication, or a physician overlooks a key aspect of the patient’s history, the results can all too often be fatal or lead to incapacitation.
Product liability. It is possible that a product’s manufacturer can be found liable when a death is the result of the product’s malfunctioning or structural failures.
Workplace accidents. When a person is killed in a workplace accident, it is important to assess whether the employer or third party may have acted negligently, causing the accident and injuries.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In most accident cases, it is the victim’s responsibility to come forward and file a personal injury lawsuit. In the case of wrongful death, however, a person representing the estate of the deceased victim must file the suit on behalf of the deceased individual. Commonly, the executor of the decedent’s will is the party that will initiate the legal action. Laws regarding who can be named beneficiaries in wrongful death cases vary in different states, but always include immediate family members, and can be expanded to include more distant relatives and non-related dependents.
You may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit if the death of your loved one resulted in significant financial hardship for you, and if the death was the result of an accident in which someone behaved negligently.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can sue for a wrongful death claim?
Kentucky law requires that a representative of the family of the deceased file a wrongful death claim. This can be an attorney or someone chosen by the family. Each member of the family that was living with or dependent on the deceased can make a claim for damages.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim?
In Kentucky, you have one year from the death of the victim to file a wrongful death claim. In some cases, the person will live after the date of the accident but then pass away from the injuries. The one year starts from when the person dies and not the date of the injury.
Do I need an attorney for a wrongful death claim?
Kentucky law does not require an attorney to file a wrongful death claim. However, the laws concerning a wrongful death can be a bit complicated, and if certain mistakes are made, then the right to get compensation can be forfeited.
Speak with a Louisville Wrongful Death Attorney at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC
As a personal injury law firm, we at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC are prepared to handle a wide variety of cases in which someone has been harmed or died due to another’s negligence. In the case of wrongful death, we understand how incredibly difficult it can be to pursue legal action while still grieving the loss of a loved one.
Wrongful death lawsuits are complex, time-sensitive matters that can’t be put off for long – instead of trying to navigate this legal route alone, let us help. With decades of combined legal experience, we are prepared to sensitively and competently address your concerns and guide you through every aspect of the process. For a free consultation, get in touch with us today by calling (502) 458-5555 or (800) 937-8443.