Lexington Fatal Car Accident Attorneys
Fatal car accidents are more common than many realize. Indeed, in each year there are upwards of 700 people killed in Kentucky car accidents. Many of these crashes occur in or around Lexington, Kentucky’s second-most populated city behind Louisville. While any car accident affects more than just those who were involved in the accident, fatal Lexington Kentucky car accidents have an unimaginable effect on families. While nothing can bring back a loved one who was lost in a car accident, families can pursue a claim for monetary compensation to help them cover the costs associated with their loss.
Family Members Can Pursue a Kentucky Wrongful Death Claim
Losing a loved one in a fatal Kentucky car accident is tragic beyond comparison. In the wake of such an accident, family members are not only forced to deal with their losses, but will also eventually confront the reality of medical expenses and funeral costs. Kentucky lawmakers understand that it is not fair for aggrieved families to be burdened with these costs. Thus, family members who have lost a loved one in a fatal Lexington car accident can pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.
A wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim in that the party bringing the lawsuit must prove that the defendant, 1.) owed their loved one a duty of care, 2.) violated that duty by some act or omission, 3.) and that the breach of that duty resulted in the death of their loved one. In most Kentucky car accident cases, establishing that the defendant owed another person a duty of care is straightforward, as all motorists owe a duty to those with whom they share the road. More often, the contested aspect of a wrongful death claim is whether the named defendant violated, or breached that duty and whether the defendant’s breach resulted in the death of accident victim.
A Kentucky wrongful death claim cannot be brought by individual members of an accident victim’s family. Instead, state law requires all wrongful death claims be brought by the personal representative of the victim’s estate. However, although the personal representative files the claim, it is brought for the benefit of the surviving family members. Kentucky law dictates how the proceeds of a wrongful death claim are distributed among surviving family members:
- If the deceased was married and had no children, the entirety of the award goes to the surviving spouse.
- If the deceased does not have a surviving spouse but has one or more children, the entirely of the award goes to the child or children.
- If the deceased has both a surviving spouse and children, the award is split with 50 percent going to the surviving spouse and 50 percent being divided among the children.
- If the deceased leaves no spouse or children behind, the entirety of the award will go to their parents.
In the event that someone leaves no spouse, child or parent behind, a wrongful death damages award will become a part of the deceased’s estate.
What Damages Are Available in a Kentucky Wrongful Death Claim?
No amount of money can bring back a loved one that was lost in a fatal Lexington car accident. However, to help the families of accident victims deal with their losses, the law allows family members to pursue compensation through a Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit. While every claim is different, there are two types of damages awards that are available through a wrongful death claim.
The first type of damages are compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are those that are designed to put the family of a deceased accident victim as close to the position they were in before the accident occurred. Thus, compensatory damages include medical expenses, funeral expenses as well as for any pain and suffering the family has endured. Additionally, family members may be able to recover for the future loss of income and support that their loved one would have provided, had they been alive.
The second type of damages that can be awarded in a Lexington wrongful death claim are punitive damages. Punitive damages, unlike compensatory damages, are concerned with punishing the defendant for their actions. That being the case, punitive damages are not always awarded, and require a showing that the defendant’s actions were intentional or grossly negligent.
Families who have lost a loved one in a fatal car wreck have just one year to bring a claim under the statute of limitations. Typically, the one-year period begins on the date of death or when the personal representative of the estate is appointed. Cases that are not filed within the statute of limitations will be dismissed by the court and the merits of the case will not be heard, so it is crucial that families act quickly.
Consult with a Dedicated Lexington Personal Injury Law Firm
If you have recently lost a loved one a fatal car accident in the Lexington area, you need experienced personal injury lawyers on your side. Hessig & Pohl is ready to help you. One of the reasons Hessig & Pohl is a popular choice among Kentucky car accident victims is that our representation does not cost you anything out-of-pocket. We handle all Kentucky wrongful death claims on a contingency basis and cover all litigation costs up front. We will not collect a fee unless we are able to help you recover compensation for the losses you and your family has suffered. Contact us though our website, or call our office at (502) 777-1111. The initial consultation is always free.
Marty fought for me when the insurance company denied my claim. We sued and got the insurance limits.