Who can benefit from a wrongful death claim in Kentucky?

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.