Who Can File A Claim in a Kentucky Wrongful Death Case?

February 14, 2023 Insights

signing papers

In Kentucky, the surviving family members may file for a wrongful death claim if a person passes away due to someone else’s carelessness. The court will compensate the surviving family members if the action is successful. The court will also decide the distribution of the damages among the family members.

It is acceptable to expect justice after losing a loved one due to someone else’s carelessness. But what happens once a wrongful death claim is resolved? 

Allocating the dues to recipients is a challenging and stressful process that occasionally brings out the worst in individuals.

Regardless of whether you or a loved one has successfully disputed a wrongful death claim, it is crucial to comprehend the laws that apply to any compensation. 

It will be easier for you to avoid any pointless conversations or worries related to the compensation for your loved one if you work with an experienced Kentucky wrongful death attorney.

This article will discuss the fundamentals of wrongful death claims, the types of damages that can be appropriate in specific situations, the necessity of bringing a claim as quickly as possible, and the distribution of settlement funds following a judgment.

What Is A Claim For Wrongful Death?

Cases of wrongful death focus on fatalities brought on by the careless or illegal actions of another person, such as:

  • owing to carelessness, fatal (car accident, slip-and-fall, work accidents)
  • medical negligence
  • intentional behaviors, such as crimes

In a wrongful death case, the representative of the decedent’s estate sues the at-fault party to recover damages for the resulting financial and emotional losses the surviving family members suffered.

What Distinguishes Personal Injuries From Wrongful Death?

While wrongful death claims and personal injury cases have many similarities, they differ significantly in some key ways.

Of course, the most notable difference is that, in a personal injury action, the negligent party is alive, whereas, in a wrongful death case, they are not. Other types of damages, however, may be claimed in these civil actions for the following reasons:

The goal of financial recovery in a personal injury case is to reimburse the victim’s out-of-pocket costs and pain (hospital bills, lost income, pain, suffering, etc.)

The financial settlement in a wrongful death case is meant to make up for the losses and suffering of the surviving family members. This can include funeral costs, a loss of friendship, the expectation of future financial support (including benefits) for family members, etc.

How Does Criminal Homicide Differ From Wrongful Death?

Punishment is used in wrongful death and criminal homicide cases quite differently. While a criminal case may end in jail time, a civil lawsuit employs monetary recompense to impose punishment and uphold accountability.

In contrast to civil proceedings, which offer much more leeway for interpretation, criminal prosecutions also have stricter criteria for conviction. You need to demonstrate that your version of events is more likely than not, not “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is meant by the phrase “preponderance of the evidence.”

Who May File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death?

In Kentucky, the person appointed to represent the decedent in court is referred to as the “personal representative” (sometimes known as the “executor”).

The following are the sole exceptions to the personal representative rule in Kentucky, as per Kentucky Statutes 411.130, 411.135, and 411.150:

  • The surviving spouse and children of the victim might claim that a lethal weapon was used to cause their death.
  • The parents of a minor victim may, at their option, intervene in the personal representative’s case.

Even though every death is tragic in some way, you must carefully analyze your claim’s details before submitting it. The legal definition of carelessness is crucial to the claim’s success and may be more difficult to establish than you may imagine. You can relieve yourself and your loved ones of this burden and free up your time to concentrate on your emotional recovery by engaging wrongful death attorneys or injury lawyers in Lexington, KY.


It is important to understand that in a wrongful death case in Kentucky, the surviving spouse or children of the deceased are typically the ones who can recover damages. However, there are other potential beneficiaries, such as the parents or siblings of the deceased. It is also worth noting that the amount of damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit will vary depending on the case’s specific circumstances. Lastly, confirm with a reputable law firm in Lexington, KY, regarding your case. 

If you or a loved one were harmed due to someone else’s negligence, our award-winning wrongful death and injury lawyers in Lexington, KY, at Circeo Law Firm would tenaciously fight for justice. Contact us for a free consultation.