Wrongful Death Lawyers in Louisville
The sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one can turn everything in your life upside down. In the midst of dealing with the turmoil of emotions this loss brings, you may face an uncertain future jeopardized by the loss of emotional and financial support. While taking legal action may not be at the forefront of your concerns, holding at-fault parties accountable can help you and your family establish a more stable future.
Why Choose Our Firm For Your Wrongful Death Case
At Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC, our attorneys offer caring, knowledgeable insight after the wrongful death of a family member or other loved one. Our Louisville personal injury attorneys have been helping families across Kentucky for over 30 years and have a considerable amount of experience holding negligent individuals, insurance companies, and corporations responsible for their wrongdoing. Our Louisville wrongful death lawyers can alleviate the many burdens you are facing, and we provide our legal counsel on a contingent fee basis. You pay no upfront costs and no attorney fees unless there is a recovery.
Contact us online or call (502) 244-7772 today for caring and experienced help. Your consultation is free and confidential.
What is Considered Wrongful Death in Kentucky?
Wrongful death, as defined by Kentucky law, is “the death of a person (that) results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another.” Such acts of negligence can include car accidents, medical malpractice, and even defective products. To find out if your loved one’s passing qualifies as wrongful death, contact Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC today.
Our Louisville wrongful death attorneys work with accident investigators, reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, former state police officers, and other experts to investigate the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death and determine who was at fault. If negligence was to blame, we can pursue justice for your loved one.
What if the Victim Died Some Time After the Injury?
Not all wrongful deaths occur in an instant. In some accidents, the victim may survive the accident with injuries, and die from their injuries some days or weeks after the accident. As a personal representative or beneficiary of the victim, you may be confused about whether to file a wrongful death suit or a personal injury suit. Under Kentucky law, you can do both. Kentucky law allows the joinder of a wrongful death and personal injury claim under certain circumstances. The personal representative of a victim who was injured as a result of another person’s negligence, and later dies from their injury, can recover for both the wrongful death of the victim and the personal injuries the victim suffered before their death. The law allows the personal representative to recover for all damages suffered they would be entitled to in both a wrongful death suit and a personal injury suit.
Kentucky Wrongful Death Damages
Every wrongful death case our firm takes on has two goals: to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions and to recover financial compensation for the family left behind. This can, by no means, make up for the loss you and your family are experiencing, but it can provide some degree of closure and help you cover the unexpected expenses that accompany the death of family member.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Kentucky can recover the following types of damages:
- Medical bills for any care related to the fatal accident.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of financial support from the deceased.
- Loss of care and companionship.
When an act of negligence or wrongdoing leads to a loss of life, our Louisville wrongful death lawyers can help surviving family members seek justice in their loved one’s name. Our seasoned litigators can then fight for the fair settlement or award the family deserves. This is our passion, and we spare no effort in pursuing the best possible result in every case we take on.
Who Benefits from a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under Kentucky law, the probate court must appoint a representative for the deceased estate. This representative is responsible for filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased and their family. Any recovery from the wrongful death lawsuit will go first to the deceased estate to pay for funeral expenses and legal fees.
After that, the remainder of the recovery amount will go to the family, in the following order:
- Surviving spouse, if there are no children.
- Surviving spouse and children.
- Surviving children, if there is no surviving spouse.
- Parents of the deceased if there are no surviving children or spouse.
If there is no surviving immediate family, the recovery will go to the deceased’s estate to be passed on to whoever is named beneficiary by the estate.
Mandy Jo’s Law
Death and grief often bring out the worst in people especially when there is an opportunity for monetary gain involved. Kentucky law provides for the order in which money recovered from a wrongful death lawsuit is to be distributed among the relatives of the victim. The law provides that where a victim leaves no spouse or children, the money recovered goes to the victim’s father and mother in equal parts. If the mother is dead and the father is living, the entire sum recovered goes to the father; and if the father is dead and the mother is living, the entire sum goes to the mother. This provision to recovery by the parents of the victim also applies in the case of adoptive parents.
Unfortunately, sometimes this provision leads to injustice. For instance, in cases where one parent abandoned the victim before their death, it would be unfair for the parent to benefit from any damages recovered from their death. In recognition of this injustice, Kentucky enacted what is known as Mandy Jo’s Law. Mandy Jo’s Law is a law that limits the ability of a parent who has not participated in their child’s care and upbringing from enriching themselves from the death of that child.
Under Mandy Jo’s Law, codified in KRS 411.137 and 391.033, a parent who abandoned their child during the child’s lifetime, cannot benefit from the child’s death. That parent is not entitled to:
- Maintain a wrongful death lawsuit for that child;
- Administer the child’s estate; or
- Inherit any part of the child’s estate through intestate succession, which means that if the child died without a will, that parent is not entitled to their share of the estate, which would ordinarily be legally entitled to as a parent.
If you lost your child as a result of another person’s negligence and the child’s other parent did not participate in the care of your child, we can help you make sure that they are not enriched from the death of your child. If it is determined that the other parent willfully abandoned your child according to the law, then that parent loses their right to participate in and benefit from any wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the abandoned child.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kentucky?
The time limit for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, also known as the statute of limitation, is one year. The time starts running from the time that the cause of the wrongful death is first discovered, or from the time that the cause should have been discovered with the use of reasonable care.
What Happens if I Miss the One Year Time Limit?
You may still be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit under certain circumstances. A person who was an infant or of unsound mind at the time their wrongful death claim accrued may be able to delay the time limit because of their age or mental condition.
You can file a claim after the one year time limit, but the defendant will most certainly raise the issue of the statute of limitation against your case. Once that happens, the burden is on you to prove that you had a mental condition or met other criteria that would have stopped the one year clock from running against you.
If your claim is delayed because of a mental condition, you must prove to the court, using expert testimony, that you were of unsound mind, which rendered you incapable of managing your own affairs.
If any of these exceptions apply to you and time is running out or you have run out of time to file your wrongful death claim, you should speak with a Kentucky wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Depending on your circumstances, your Louisville wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you.
Contact a Louisville, Kentucky Wrongful Death Attorney
When you are grieving the death of a loved one, you may be distraught and confused. You will be grieving and may not be in the right frame of mind to pursue a claim. Unfortunately, the legal clock does not stop for you to grieve. It is important to take action as soon as possible after the death of your loved one. At Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC, we will take the legal worry off you so that you do not lose your opportunity to make your claim. Our team of Louisville personal injury lawyers fight to recover maximum financial compensation for every client we represent because we know that a fair settlement or award can make all the difference in rebuilding your life after the death of a loved one.
Wrongful death cases can be very complicated. Our experienced Louisville wrongful death lawyers are here to guide you through these sensitive situations so that you can get the closure you need after a loved one’s passing. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case and get started with seeking the compensation you deserve.
For more information and a free case evaluation, call (502) 244-7772 .
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