Believe it or not, a Louisville car accident attorney might be your best friend
Louisville Fatal Car Accident Lawyers
Risk is always present when driving. It does not matter how safely and defensively you drive, there is always the chance that you will be injured in a car crash caused by someone else’s negligent. Most of the time these auto accidents can happen within a blink of an eye and you have no time to react. When the accident involves a large SUV, truck or 18-wheeler, it can be destructive. It is no surprise that several hundred people die from vehicle related crashes in Kentucky every year.
A wrongful death of a loved one caused by the negligence of another driver can tear a family apart. The care, support, guidance, financial support and love provided by the family member gone. A family going through these terrible circumstances may not know how they are going to survive, especially if the deceased loved one was a major breadwinner for the family.
But we are there to help. The fatal car accident lawyers at Hessig & Pohl will sit with you and answer all of your questions with compassion and understanding. We will develop a plan of action and explain what we can do in simple terms. We will fight so that your family can survive and move forward.
Hessig & Pohl worked hard to get the best possible results for me. I have and would recommend their firm to anybody in need of legal assistance.
You need experienced, effective help from the car accident attorneys at Hessig & Pohl
Unfortunately, fatal car crashes are not rare in Kentucky
In 2017, 799 people died in Kentucky as a result of being in a car, truck or motorcycle crash. That same year, 36,895 people were injured in Kentucky due to a car, truck or motorcycle accident. Approximately one out of every 5,575 Kentucky residents were killed as a result of an automobile collision, and approximately one out of every 22 licensed drivers were involved in a traffic collision in Kentucky. Nearly 40% of all fatal collisions occurred in a crash involving another moving vehicle.
Five surprising facts about fatal car accidents in Kentucky
1. More than half those killed on Kentucky roads in 2017 weren’t wearing seat belts
2. Speeding and aggressive driving contributed to 36% of traffic deaths
3. Nearly a quarter of fatal accidents involved drivers who were using cellphones or were distracted by something else, like changing the radio station
4. Alcohol use was linked to 139 deaths
5. Big trucks and other commercial vehicles were involved in 82 deaths
Causes of fatal car accidents
Proving a wrongful death lawsuit
Kentucky law defines wrongful death as "the death of a person (that) results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another." The wrongful behavior that causes death may be unintentional, such as negligence or recklessness, or intentional, such as assault. In these special kinds of cases, the injured person can no longer seek justice for themselves, but must rely upon the remaining family and dependents to do so.
Bring a successful wrongful death lawsuit
In order to bring a successful wrongful death lawsuit, you must be able to prove that:
- The death was caused by another’s wrongful act or neglect
- 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
- 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 to 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. Under most circumstances, the time limit for filing a wrongful death action in Kentucky, or its statute of limitations is one year. If a lawsuit is not filed within one year, then the family will no longer be able to seek compensation for the death of a loved one.
What compensation is available for families and loved ones?
When tragedy happens and, as a family, you have questions about the death of a loved one, speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney. Wrongful death auto accident cases can be complicated. An experienced Louisville car accident lawyer will be able to investigate the crash and, if necessary, hire accident reconstruction experts to determine who was at fault. Further, the car accident attorney can determine every insurance policy that will be in play in order to recoup maximum damages.
These damages are as follows:
1. Funeral and burial expenses
2. Future lost wages: income that the deceased would have earned until retirement
3. Unpaid medical bills and property damage
4. Pain and suffering that the victim might have undergone from the time of the crash to the time the person died
5. Loss of care and companionship that family members would have received from the deceased
6. Loss of any parental leadership that the deceased would have provided to his or her children
7. Reimbursement for any future services that the victim would have normally provided to his or her survivors
Punitive damages are available when the defendant’s actions are reckless, outrageous or intentional. Punitive damages are not designed to compensate the victim or the family, but to punish at-fault parties for their behavior. An example of actions that are reckless and outrageous is someone being under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing the crash.
Who can recover compensation in a fatal car accident case?
Kentucky law specifies that surviving family members may receive damages in a wrongful death case in the following order:
Surviving Spouse: If there is a surviving spouse and no surviving children, the surviving spouse receives the entire award.
Surviving Spouse & Children: If there is a surviving spouse and surviving children, the spouse and children split the award equally.
Surviving Children: If there is no surviving spouse but there are surviving children, the children split the award equally.
Surviving Parents: If there are no surviving spouse or children, the deceased person's surviving parent or parents receive the award.
The Estate: If there are no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the award goes to the estate. After the estate's debts are paid, the remainder passes to the individuals named in the deceased person's will, if any, or to the heirs at law if there is no will.
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Take the next step
If one of your loved ones died in a fatal car accident, you do not have to go through this alone. These can be scary and confusing times. The smartest thing to do is to contact an experienced fatal car accident lawyer who can provide answers to your questions and to help you through this difficult time. The lawyers and staff at Hessig & Pohl are here to help. Contact us at (502) 777-1111 for a free consultation.