What Are the Compensatory Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim?

November 11, 2022 Criminal Law

empty hospital bed

Loved ones have the right to seek compensation from the person or organization accountable when a death happens as a result of another’s negligence or illegal action, as stated in Kentucky state law 411.130

This implies that if you lose a loved one as a result of the negligence or malice of another person, you are entitled to compensation. Depending on the burden that the loss of the individual will cause, a method for estimating this compensation, also known as damages, will be applied.

For instance, there is a greater likelihood of receiving a sizable settlement if the victim is a highly compensated CEO. The damages in a wrongful death settlement will be higher due to their greater financial liability.

It is frequently possible to distinguish between damages before the death and those brought on by the actual death. An expert Kentucky wrongful death attorney will be able to identify each element that influences the value of a wrongful injury claim.

These deciding elements consist of the following:

  • Revenue lost from funeral and burial costs;
  • agony and suffering endured before death;
  • and any debt or expenses related to medical care accrued beforehand.

To seek compensation for “loss of consortium,” or losses brought on by the loss of the spouse’s security, company, and support, the spouse must bring a second action.

Since they are often not covered by a conventional wrongful death action, these damages will need more consideration and supporting documentation. Also excluded from these claims is the phrase “loss of pleasure of life,” which is illegal under Kentucky law.

Punitive Damages in Cases of Wrongful Death

Depending on the case’s specific facts, Kentucky law occasionally enables the awarding of punitive damages in wrongful death cases. Punitive damages are meant to humiliate the offender rather than makeup for specific losses experienced by the victim’s loved ones.

These damages are only awarded in instances of exceptionally severe carelessness or purposeful harm, according to Kentucky Statute 411.130. An illustration of this is when a drunk driver causes a car accident and kills a motorist.

Punitive damages are not always available, despite the desire for them to be understandable. Review the specifics of your wrongful death claim before meeting with a wrongful death or injury lawyer in Lexington, KY, to see whether you are entitled to these damages.

The Distribution of Funds for Wrongful Death Damages

Things can become challenging when it’s time to collect compensation from a wrongful death settlement. The same as most states

Kentucky law has a convoluted system for dispersing money to surviving family members after someone passes away. The earnings will have been lessened by any related administrative expenses, legal fees, and burial expenses, which is crucial to keep in mind.

Kentucky distributes wrongful death settlements once a case is concluded following the following rules:

If there are no children or heirs, the entire settlement goes to the surviving spouse. The other half of the inheritance goes to the husband and wife; if any of the children are still alive, the remaining half goes to them.

The entire amount is given to the child or children if there is a living child or children but no surviving spouse.

The money would be given to their parents if the deceased had no living wives or children. The parents still alive will receive an equal share of the funds. Even if only one parent is alive, both will receive the whole amount. In this case, adopted parents are treated as parents for any financial distribution.

The entire sum will be part of the decedent’s inheritance if there are no parents, spouses, kids, or living relatives. Before distributing the settlement to more distant living relatives following Kentucky’s statutes governing descent and distribution, any obligations will be paid.

As you can see, these rules can be challenging and intricate, and family members unaware of them beforehand risk experiencing stress, disappointment, and emotional suffering.

To prevent worry or suffering for yourself or your loved ones, consult a wrongful death attorney immediately. To protect your loved one’s legacy, get the help you need before filing.


Don’t wait too long to file your wrongful death claim, even while it’s important to give yourself the time you need to mourn the loss of a loved one. In Kentucky, a claim for wrongful death must be filed within a year of the decedent’s passing or the appointment of the estate’s personal representative. 

Consult a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible because victims don’t have much time to wait before submitting a claim. When you meet with a law firm in Lexington, KY, let them know if your situation fits into one of these categories. 

If you or a loved one were hurt due to someone else’s negligence, our renowned lawyers at Circeo Law Firm would tenaciously pursue justice on your behalf. Contact us if you need to speak with a law firm in Lexington, KY!