When a loved one passes away, the grief can be overwhelming. This is especially true if their death came unexpectedly such as in a fatal car accident. You may feel like you are floundering and don’t know what next steps to take. If you are in this situation, a Pike County, KY wrongful death lawyer can help. Contact an experienced attorney to find out more about your options and rights.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Kentucky law states that the executor of the departed’s estate is the only person who can file a wrongful death claim. If the victim’s will does not name an executor or representative then one will be appointed by the court.

Despite the executor being the only one permitted to file, the victim’s surviving family is entitled to any damages received. The distribution rules are generally as follows.

  • All compensation will be awarded to the surviving spouse if the victim had no children
  • If they did have children then the proceeds are to be split equally between the children and the surviving spouse
  • If there is no surviving spouse the children receive the full amount
  • If there is no surviving spouse or children, the departed’s parents will be awarded the full amount
  • If there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the total of damages received goes to the victim’s estate

How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim After a Fatal Car Accident?

A statute of limitations is a time constraint enforced by state law that dictates how long someone can pursue legal action after an accident or crime. Car accidents and wrongful deaths have a statute of limitations as well. In Kentucky, there is a one-year statute of limitations for wrongful death cases, starting on the date of the victim’s death.

Why Should I File a Claim?

Filing a claim after your loved one has passed away can seem pointless. Although pursuing legal action will not bring them back or make your sadness disappear, there are certain benefits. As a surviving relative or partner of the victim, you are likely dealing with the aftermath of their death. That can include paying medical bills accumulated after the accident, property damage, funeral costs, and potentially a loss of wages due to the accident.

If your loved one had survived the crash they would likely be filing an injury claim to collect compensation to cover their costs including those previously listed and their pain and suffering. You have the right to do the same.

If you pursue compensation you may receive a settlement that can cover all of the costs and debts you may have collected due to the accident and death of your loved one. The settlement can also include punitive damages from the other driver if they acted with gross negligence.

With the help of an experienced lawyer, you can file and win a wrongful death lawsuit to bring the other party to justice and collect the compensation that you and your family rightfully deserve.