If a member of your family has died due to the negligence of another person, then you may need a Kentucky wrongful death attorney at your side. We are compassionate, kind and ready to help you during this difficult time.
No financial compensation could ever make up for the loss of a loved one, but it can help protect and provide for the future of a remaining spouse, children and family members. Although it may be difficult to discuss legal and financial issues while you are grieving, you will later be thankful that you had a capable Kentucky wrongful death lawyer on your side who helped you through the process.
At the Johnson Law Firm, we are respectful and caring as we represent families and guide them through the legal system so they can receive the compensation they deserve. For a free initial consultation, call us at (606) 437-4488. We’re here for you.
Why Do I Need a Kentucky Wrongful Death Attorney?
While no one likes to think about dying or its repercussions, it is important to promptly address any death that may have been caused by a preventable accident or an intentional act of violence. Based in Pikeville, the Kentucky wrongful death lawyers at the Johnson Law Firm remain sensitive to our clients’ emotional needs while protecting their future financial interests. Let us handle legal matters while you grieve for your loved one.
How Do I Choose a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Kentucky?
That’s a very good question. We recommend that you do your homework to make sure you select an attorney that will give you the best chance possible for a successful outcome. Review a law firm’s website, read the attorneys’ bios, read about other awards and settlements the firm has won, and look over the reviews posted by other clients. Are they positive or negative? Do the reviews say that the firm is compassionate and professional, or did clients have to wait days before their phone calls were returned? The Johnson Law Firm has a track record of satisfied clients, and we are glad to offer a free initial consultation about your case. Just call us at (606) 437-4488.
How Much Money Is Typically Awarded In These Cases?
Each case is different, and the amount of damages awarded is determined by several economic factors, including the decedent’s life expectancy and life income. Damages permitted in a wrongful death case typically include:
- Medical, hospital, funeral and burial expenses
- Compensation for any pain or suffering that the victim might have experienced between the time of injury and death
- Loss of financial support that would have been provided by the victim
- Reimbursement for any future services that the victim normally would have provided to his or her survivors
- Loss of the victim’s parental leadership
- Loss of the victim’s companionship.
In wrongful death cases caused by an intentional act or by gross negligence, Kentucky law allows “punitive damages,” which are awarded to punish particularly bad conduct or prevent other individuals or companies from acting in harmful ways. This means that, in addition to normal wrongful death compensation, the court can also award additional money to the estate or surviving family members for their losses.
There are no limits, or “caps,” in Kentucky on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded. For example, in a 2016 case, the Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed punitive damages that were 386 times the compensatory damages.
For more specific details about the financial compensation you might receive in your unique circumstances, call a Kentucky wrongful death lawyer at (606) 437-4488.
How Much Does a Kentucky Wrongful Death Lawyer Cost?
That’s one thing that you don’t have to worry about. It costs nothing up front to hire a Kentucky wrongful death attorney because we work on contingency, which means we don’t get paid until you get paid. Attorneys’ fees and expenses come out of the financial settlement or award at the end of the process. If for some reason your claim is not successful, then you owe us nothing.
Who Benefits From a Kentucky Wrongful Death Case?
Typically, the person filing a claim must be the individual who actually suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence. This is not possible in a wrongful death case because they are gone. However, even after death, his or her estate lives on for legal purposes. In these cases, the personal representative of the estate is the one who has the authority to prosecute a wrongful death claim. This person is either the executor or administrator of the estate, who is appointed by the court. This person oversees and winds down the estate until assets are distributed and the deceased’s debts are paid.
Under Kentucky law, when a wrongful death attorney succeeds in proving negligence and achieves a favorable settlement or court verdict, any financial award will be paid as follows:
- If a widow/widower and children: Half to widow/widower and half to any children;
- If a widow/widower, but no children: All to the widow/widower;
- If no widow/widower, but children: All to the children;
- If no widow/widower and no children: All to the parents; or
- If no widow/widower, no children, and no parents: All to the decedent’s estate.
What Is the Process of a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a person is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another individual, company, or entity, a “wrongful death” has occurred. Wrongful death claims include every type of accidental death, no matter the specific cause, and include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, workplace accidents, and gas explosions.
After you hire a Kentucky wrongful death attorney, he or she will explain the process and begin to gather evidence, interview witnesses, review police reports, examine the scene where the death occurred and hire expert witnesses, if needed.
In order to bring a successful wrongful death lawsuit, a Kentucky wrongful death lawyer must show that:
- The death of a person was caused by another’s wrongful act, neglect or default;
- The act, neglect, or default would have entitled the victim to file an action for damages if he or she had not died;
- The victim has surviving beneficiaries, children, or dependents; and
- There were monetary damages resulting from the victim’s death.
The primary goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to provide relief to the victim’s family and to deter the wrongdoer from inflicting harm on others. In Kentucky, an action for wrongful death can be filed only by the victim’s personal representative on behalf of the surviving spouse, children or parents.
The one thing that must be established in all wrongful death cases is negligence, which is proven to have resulted from lack of attention, thoughtlessness or mistakes. Also, there is a time limit on how long you have to file a wrongful death claim. A cause of action for wrongful death accrues on the date of death and, in Kentucky, must be filed within one year of that date. It is extremely important to remember that if you choose to file your wrongful death claim after the one-year window has closed, the defendant’s attorney will likely ask the court to dismiss the case, and in almost every case the court will grant that request.
What Is the Difference Between a Settlement and a Jury Award?
A Settlement happens when the defendant offers a certain financial amount to the victim’s representative to end the claim before it goes to trial.
A Jury Award is when the amount of financial compensation is determined in the courtroom by the jury after a trial has taken place.
Do I Have To Testify in Court?
Every case is different, and many cases never go to trial because they are settled out of court. If indeed your case does go to trial, you will have the opportunity to decide whether or not you testify. Your Kentucky wrongful death attorney will advise you about the courtroom process and discuss the options available to you. Generally, it is not necessary to worry at the outset about whether you will have to testify, because that is down the road and the case may never go to trial.
Contact Attorney Billy Johnson Today
If a loved one has died after an accident or injury caused by the negligence or misconduct of another, contact our wrongful death law firm today to discuss your legal rights. We can assist you in determining whether you have a valid claim and, if so, guide you through the legal process. Since 1998, Billy Johnson has represented the survivors of wrongful death victims, and we know how to do so skillfully, yet compassionately. Our initial consultation is free. Let us help you. Call us at (606) 437-4488 or contact us online.