Is Wrongful Death Always Associated With an Injury?
A wrongful death claim is a type of civil lawsuit that may be filed in Kentucky after the unexpected loss of a loved one’s life in a preventable accident. If an individual dies in a fatal Louisville car accident, for example, his or her surviving relatives may be entitled to financial compensation through a wrongful death claim. A common misconception surrounding these cases is that a wrongful death is always associated with an injury.
Injuries and Wrongful Death Claims in Kentucky
The majority of wrongful death lawsuits that are filed in Kentucky are based on incidents that resulted in a critical injury for the deceased victim. These claims argue that a defendant inflicted an injury upon the victim, which subsequently resulted in his or her death. Serious injuries associated with a wrongful death claim can include:
- Internal injuries
- Multiple bone fractures
- Severe burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Wrongful death claims are common after deadly traumatic accidents in Kentucky, such as motor vehicle collisions, falls, workplace disasters and defective product incidents. However, an injury is not mandatory for a wrongful death claim. These civil lawsuits can be filed even in the absence of an injury if the death of an individual is considered wrongful.
Wrongful Death Without Immediate or Visible Injuries
The definition of wrongful death in Kentucky is the death of a person that results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another person. “Injury” in this context, however, has a broad definition. It can refer to a loss of life due to noninjury causes, as well, if the misconduct of another person is responsible. Examples include:
- Illnesses: a fatal illness could lead to a wrongful death claim if one or more parties are responsible, such as the manufacturer of a defective drug that causes serious and deadly side effects for a consumer.
- Medical malpractice: a patient could die due to negligence by a medical professional, such as a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, surgical error or anesthesia error. These incidents may or may not result in physical, visible injuries.
- Toxic exposure: being exposed to environmental toxins could lead to wrongful death without an immediate injury. An example is an employer failing to adequately protect workers from exposure to toxic substances in the workplace, such as asbestos, coal dust, lead, mercury or carbon monoxide.
- Neglect: neglect or a lack of supervision could lead to a wrongful death claim without the victim necessarily suffering a visible injury. Examples include the neglect of a child or an elderly individual who is in the care of a nursing home.
- Intentional assault: an individual may die as a result of an intentional tort or act of wrongdoing, such as physical assault, battery, homicide or manslaughter. Criminal activity may take a victim’s life without evidence of a visible injury.
These are just a few examples of several circumstances that could entitle a family to file a wrongful death claim in Kentucky without a physical injury being present. No matter what circumstances surround your loved one’s recent death, if you suspect that you have grounds for a wrongful death claim, contact a Louisville personal injury attorney for a free case review.