Fort Mitchell Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death is a life-changing tragedy for surviving loved ones. Our Fort Mitchell wrongful death lawyers At Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery, are determined to bring to justice those whose careless and reckless actions take lives. Contact us today at (859) 578-4444
We can help your family understand what happened to your loved one, learn who is responsible for the wrongful death, and find out how much your claim is worth.
Why Clients Choose Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery to Handle Their Wrongful Death Claim in Fort Mitchell, KY
- Our wrongful death lawyers will fight to obtain justice for your loved one’s death even if it means going to trial in Fort Mitchell. We are dedicated legal advocates.
- We have been practicing personal injury and wrongful death law in Kentucky for more than 30 years. We know how to help our clients during difficult times.
- Our attorneys have secured millions of dollars in settlements and jury verdicts for clients. We know how to accomplish our clients’ goals when results matter most.
- We operate on a contingency fee basis on all wrongful death claims in Fort Mitchell. This means you will pay us nothing unless we win your case.
How Can Our Fort Mitchell Wrongful Death Lawyers Help You?
You are already coping with overwhelming sadness and pain after the unexpected loss of a loved one. If you depended on the decedent financially, you are also dealing with the loss of this support. Instead of taking on the legal process alone, hire a Fort Mitchell wrongful death lawyer to represent you. A lawyer can take over your case to allow you to spend time with your family instead. Your attorney will investigate the fatal accident, determine your family’s legal rights, handle the filing process, demand fair financial compensation and take your case to trial, if necessary, to fight for justice.
What Is Wrongful Death In Kentucky?
According to Kentucky Revised Statutes, Section 411.130, the legal definition of wrongful death is when the death of a person results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another person or party. In Kentucky, a wrongful death lawsuit could be filed after a death that results from any of the following:
- Negligence. Negligence is a violation of the duty to exercise reasonable care.
- Medical malpractice. This refers to negligence by a health care practitioner when caring for a patient.
- Intentional tort. An intentional tort means the intent to harm someone, such as a case of assault, battery or homicide.
You may have grounds for a wrongful death claim if someone owed your loved one a duty of care, carelessly or intentionally breached this duty, and caused the fatal injury or illness.
Tell your loved one’s story to an attorney at Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery during a free consultation to determine if your case has merit.
Criminal vs. Civil Cases After a Preventable Death
Intent to injure or kill an individual is a crime in Kentucky. The death of a victim due to intent to harm could lead to criminal charges for manslaughter, homicide, assault and battery, or other crimes against the defendant. A criminal case brought against someone for causing the death of a victim could result in a conviction and sentence as punishment, such as prison time.
Unlike the criminal courts, the civil justice system aims to make the victim of a crime or wrongdoing whole again. It allows someone to pursue financial compensation for the losses suffered due to a death in the family, such as medical bills and funeral expenses.
If your loved one died as a result of criminal activity in Kentucky, your family may have grounds to bring a civil wrongful death case against the perpetrator at the same time as pending criminal charges. However, a crime is not a requirement to pursue compensation with a wrongful death lawsuit in Fort Mitchell.
The burden of proof in a criminal case is higher than in a civil case. Convicting an individual of a crime requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, while a civil case only requires a preponderance of the evidence to hold a defendant liable. In addition, a criminal conviction requires proof of intent. A wrongful death claim does not; it is enough to show that a defendant carelessly or unintentionally caused a death. It is possible for the civil courts to hold someone liable for wrongful death even after the criminal courts reach a not-guilty verdict for the same incident.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Fort Mitchell, KY
One way to look at a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that can be filed against a party if that party would have been found liable for the deceased person’s injuries in a personal injury claim had the decedent survived. Many types of accidents and injuries can lead to wrongful death lawsuits in Fort Mitchell if they result in the death of one or more individuals. Examples include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Catastrophic falls
- Work accidents
- Product liability cases
- Dangerous premises
- Dog attacks
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Criminal activity
Our wrongful death lawyers have experience handling various case types throughout Kentucky. We are prepared to help your family file a wrongful death claim after any fatal accident. We can go up against one or multiple defendants on your behalf to pursue justice for your deceased loved one in Fort Mitchell. This includes drivers, employers, businesses, product manufacturers, property owners, healthcare providers, etc.
Kentucky Wrongful Death Laws
A successful wrongful death claim in Kentucky must follow the state’s related laws. Wrongful death laws change from state to state. In Kentucky, the statute of limitations (deadline for filing) for a wrongful death case is two years from the date of the decedent’s passing. If the death was the result of a crime, however, the statute of limitations is suspended until the completion of the criminal case, up to a maximum of six years.
Another rule to know is that Kentucky lists parties with the right to file a wrongful death claim in a specific order. They are the decedent’s surviving spouse, child or children, parent or parents, and the estate administrator, in that order. Siblings, grandparents, and friends do not have the right to bring a wrongful death claim in Kentucky.
What Damages Are Available In a Fort Mitchell Wrongful Death Action?
A wrongful death lawsuit can force the defendant to pay financial compensation (damages) for the losses that the decedent’s estate and your family suffered because of his or her negligence. A successful claim could pay for your:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost income and inheritance
- Lost benefits and services
- Loss of consortium
- Legal expenses
- Punitive damages, depending on the case
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can not only result in damages awarded to your family, but it can also provide justice. A wrongful death lawsuit can hold a wrongdoer accountable for his or her actions in a way that a criminal case cannot.
Punitive Damages in Wrongful Death Actions
Kentucky’s wrongful death law states that if the death of a person results from gross negligence or a willful act of wrongdoing, punitive damages may be recovered. Punitive damages are a way for the courts to punish a defendant for an especially egregious act of wrongdoing during a civil lawsuit. Unlike compensatory damages, which are designed to reimburse a victim for losses suffered, punitive damages are meant to penalize a defendant for especially wrongful acts.
In Kentucky, punitive damages may be available in addition to economic and noneconomic damages if the plaintiff’s attorney can establish using evidence that the defendant’s “act was willful or the negligence gross.” For example, a family may be eligible for punitive damages if it is shown that a defendant intended to harm or kill the victim through a criminal act, such as physical assault or battery.
What Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement in Kentucky?
An accurate “average” settlement does not exist in personal injury law because each case is entirely unique. Clients receive such widely varying settlements and judgment awards that it is inaccurate to calculate an average. What one family or plaintiff receives could differ greatly from another. Case values are based on factors such as:
- The decedent’s age at the time of death
- How much the decedent made in average wages
- The family situation, including the number of dependents
- The total amount of the victim’s and family’s damages
- The number of defendants and amount of insurance coverage available
- Whether there is a liability dispute or comparative negligence
- Eligibility for punitive damages
The best way to accurately estimate the potential value of your wrongful death case in Kentucky is by consulting with an experienced attorney. The lawyers at Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery will carefully review your situation to help you understand how much a civil lawsuit could pay the decedent’s beneficiaries in damages. If we believe you have grounds for a claim, we can help you seek maximum financial compensation through all available legal outlets.
How Is Financial Compensation From a Wrongful Death Claim Distributed In Kentucky?
Regardless of who files the wrongful death claim in Kentucky, a successful payout could be distributed among multiple dependents and beneficiaries according to state law. Any payment secured through a wrongful death claim in Kentucky must be distributed based on the order indicated in Kentucky Revised Statutes 411.130(2).
First, the amount recovered will be reduced by reasonable funeral expenses for the deceased individual and the cost of case administration and recovery, including attorney’s fees. Then, the remaining amount shall be for the benefit of the “kindred of the deceased,” in this order:
- A surviving spouse but no children or grandchildren: 100 percent will go to the spouse.
- A surviving spouse and children: 50 percent goes to the spouse and 50 percent to the children.
- Surviving children but no surviving spouse: 100 percent goes to the children.
- No surviving spouse or children: one moiety each to the mother and father of the deceased or 100 percent goes to either parent if the other is deceased.
- No surviving spouse, children or parents: 100 percent becomes part of the personal estate of the deceased.
If a settlement or judgment award won in a wrongful death claim is given to the decedent’s estate, it will be used to pay off any remaining debts. Then, if any amount is left over, it will pass to beneficiaries or dependents who are more remote than those listed above in accordance with Kentucky’s laws of descent and distribution.
How to Choose Your Kentucky Wrongful Death Attorney
If you wish to file a wrongful death claim in Fort Mitchell, you should start by finding the right attorney to represent you and your family in the civil courts. The “right” attorney is one who is uniquely suited to handle your case, such as one with a history of litigating (and winning) wrongful death claims. During your search for the ideal wrongful death lawyer in Fort Mitchell, look for the following:
- The time and resources to take your case.
- Years of case experience in your practice area and knowledge of the law.
- A history of achieving successful settlements and jury verdicts.
- The ability to represent your family during a wrongful death trial, if necessary.
- Positive testimonials given by previous clients.
- Reasonable attorney’s fees and a transparent fee arrangement.
- Frequent and open communication with a lawyer (not a paralegal or assistant).
- Compassion toward you and your family during this difficult time.
The lawyer that you choose should make you feel confident in his or her ability to help your family during a wrongful death case. For example, this should not be the attorney’s first wrongful death claim. Search for a lawyer with experience who knows how to handle complex cases while providing honest and objective legal advice along the way. Find out why hundreds of clients have chosen Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery during a free case review.
Contact a Fort Mitchell Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
At the Law Offices of Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery, we are determined to give a voice to those who can no longer speak for themselves. Find out how our Fort Mitchell wrongful death lawyers can help your family today. Request a free consultation by submitting our online contact form or calling (859) 578-4444 today. Our injury attorneys are here to listen to your loved one’s story and help you move forward with your life.