Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kentucky: Who Gets the Money?

March 24, 2023 Insights


In Kentucky, if someone dies due to another person’s negligence, the victim’s family may file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the lawsuit is successful, the court may award damages to the victim’s survivors.

The damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • The victim’s medical and funeral expenses
  • The victim’s lost wages and benefits
  • The victim’s pain and suffering
  • The victim’s loss of companionship and love
  • The victim’s survivors’ mental anguish and suffering

In some cases, the court may also award punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. The victim’s survivors may also recover damages for their financial losses, such as the loss of the victim’s financial support.

In Kentucky, the victim’s spouse, children, parents, or other survivors financially dependent on the victim may file a wrongful death lawsuit. The victim’s estate may file a lawsuit if there are no surviving family members.

It is important to note that Kentucky has a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In most cases, the lawsuit must be filed within one year of the victim’s death. The family will likely be barred from recovering damages if the suit is not filed within this time frame.

If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, it is crucial to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and ensure that your claim is filed on time.

How Money Is Distributed from a Wrongful Death Settlement in Kentucky

The state of Kentucky has established guidelines for how wrongful death settlements should be divided among the beneficiaries of the estate. It is an important consideration for families who have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another party, as the settlement can provide financial security and peace of mind. 

Under Kentucky law, wrongful death settlements are divided into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. 

Economic damages are intended to compensate the beneficiaries for their financial losses due to the death of their loved one, such as lost wages, medical expenses, funeral costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages are intended to compensate the beneficiaries for their emotional losses due to the death of their loved one, such as grief, sorrow, and mental anguish. 

Kentucky divides wrongful death settlements according to the percentage of economic and non-economic damages. Generally speaking, economic damages are split among the beneficiaries per capita, meaning each beneficiary receives an equal share of the settlement. 

Non-economic damages, however, are divided among the beneficiaries based on their relationship to the deceased, with spouses and children receiving the highest percentage and distant relatives receiving a lower rate. 

It is important to note that Kentucky does not require a wrongful death settlement to be divided according to these guidelines. Instead, the beneficiaries may choose to split the settlement however they wish, provided all agree to the arrangement.

Ultimately, it is up to the beneficiaries of a wrongful death settlement to decide how they wish to divide the payment. However, understanding the guidelines outlined by the state of Kentucky can help families make an informed decision that is in their best interests.


If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Kentucky, it is always wise to consult with an experienced attorney. An experienced attorney can provide invaluable advice on the state’s laws surrounding wrongful death and help develop a solid case. Furthermore, they can guide how to navigate the various steps of the legal process and the best approach to seeking justice and compensation. Ultimately, consulting with an experienced attorney can provide invaluable insight and help ensure that all rights are protected and that the best possible outcome is achieved.

If you need a Kentucky wrongful death attorney, we’re here to help. Circeo Law Firm is a Kentucky-based law firm specializing in helping people injured or who had wrongful death due to someone else’s negligence. We are dedicated to providing aggressive client advocacy and offer free consultations. Reach out to us today.