According to FindLaw, accidents are ranked as the fourth leading cause of death in Kentucky. The consequences of an accident, which often include injury and sky-high medical bills, can take a toll on your finances. However, when an accident results in the unexpected death of a contributing member of your family, the emotional and financial consequences can be devastating. Fortunately, Kentucky, like every other state, allows survivors to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. That said, the law does limit who may recover and how much. 

Typically, a person who sustains an injury in an accident is the one who must file a personal injury lawsuit for damages. When a person dies as a result of injuries suffered in an accident, though, filing a personal injury claim becomes impossible. However, his or her estate lives on for legal purposes. Because of this, Kentucky law allows a representative of the estate to pursue a wrongful death suit on the deceased’s behalf. 

If a wrongful death claim results in a favorable verdict or settlement, only certain individuals stand to recover compensation. Per Kentucky Law, the estate’s representative must pay out the award as follows: 

  • Half to a surviving spouse and half to any surviving children 
  • If the deceased does not have a surviving spouse, all to the children 
  • If the deceased does not have children but does have a surviving spouse, all to the spouse 
  • If the deceased does not have a surviving spouse or surviving children, all to the parents 
  • If the deceased does not have children, a surviving spouse or surviving parents, all to the estate 

Like any civil action, Kentucky does impose a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for wrongful death suits is one year from the date of the injury that resulted in death.