WRONGFUL DEATH

First appointment free. No obligation. All inquiries confidential.
No Recovery No Fee.
Court costs and case expenses are the responsiblity of the client only if we win or settle the case.


We extend our sympathy for the loss of your loved one. We have lost loved ones and know you are suffering. We understand that words cannot ease the pain or fill the emptiness when you lose a loved one.

At most, all that lawyers and the law can do is ease the financial burden by recovering money from the wrongdoer and his insurance company.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHO CAN BRING A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?
Only the Personal Representative (Executor if there is a will or Administrator if there is no will) can bring an action for wrongful death or settle a wrongful death claim.

HOW MUCH CAN BE RECOVERED?
In wrongful death claims, the basic measure of damages is the destruction of the deceased’s power to earn money. This is based upon the decedent’s previous earnings, his likely future earnings, his education, his life expectancy and health. In addition the estate may recover for his funeral expenses, medical expenses and pain and suffering for the period of time between the injury and death.

HOW IS RECOVERED MONEY DIVIDED?
While the personal representative of the estate brings the lawsuit, any money recovered is not divided pursuant to a will, if any. The money is divided as provided by state law.
First, from any recovery, funeral expenses, the cost of administration of the estate, and the cost of recover, including attorney’s fees, are paid before anything is distributed.
Generally debts of the decedent are not paid out of the funds recovered for wrongful death. However, money awarded for medical bills should be paid to the medical provider.

WHO RECEIVES RECOVERED MONEY?
The recovery for wrongful death is distributed as follows:
  1. If the deceased leaves a spouse, but no children or their descendants, then the whole goes to the spouse.
  2. If the deceased leaves spouse and children, then one-half goes to the spouse and one-half goes to the children.
  3. If the deceased leaves children but no spouse, the whole goes to the children.
  4. If the deceased leaves no children or spouse, then the award shall go to the surviving parents. It shall be divided with one-half to each parent or the whole to the surviving parent.
  5. If the deceased leaves no spouse, children, or parents, then the award first goes to pay the debts of the estate and then becomes part of the estate to be distributed under the law of descent and distribution. As part of the estate, it would be distributed as personal property.

WHAT OTHER TYPES OF DEATH CLAIMS ARE THERE?
  • Loss of Consortium. A widow or widower has a right to bring a separate lawsuit or join in a wrongful death lawsuit to recover loss of consortium. Consortium is the right to the services, assistance, aid, society, companionship and conjugal relationships of the spouse (husband or wife).

    This action must be brought by the surviving spouse. The damages awarded for loss of consortium go to the surviving spouse alone. Loss of consortium is for the period between the injury and death. If death or a lapse into unconsciousness followed by death, occurs within a short period of time after the accident, then loss of consortium is not allowed.

  • Loss of Child. Surviving parents may bring a separate claim for the death of a minor child (under the age of eighteen years). This claim is for the loss of services of the child from the time of his death until he reaches the age of eighteen. The parents or surviving parent are entitled to recover. Although this is a separate action, it may be joined with an action for wrongful death.

  • The Motor Vehicle Reparations Act (MVRA) provides for payment of up to $1,000.00 on the funeral expense, and payment for medical bills, survivor’s economic loss and survivor’s replacement services loss up to a total of $10,000.00. More than $10,000.00 in benefits may be available if additional insurance has been purchased.

    MVRA claims are made by the person suffering the loss and are not a part of the wrongful death claim.

  • If the deceased was killed by a deadly weapon and is survived by a spouse or children under the age of eighteen years or both, and the killing is by carelessness, wanton, or malicious use of a deadly weapon and not in self-defense then the spouse or surviving children or both may bring an action. The damages allowed are the same as wrongful death.

WHAT CLAIMS CANNOT BE RECOVERED?
You may not recover for the following:
  1. Loss of consortium after the death of the decedent.
  2. Pain and suffering of the decedent after his death.
  3. Pain and suffering of the beneficiaries.
  4. The cost of administration of the estate.
  5. The cost of recovery, including attorney’s fees.

WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS? HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO MAKE A CLAIM?
Generally, an action for wrongful death must be brought within one year from the death appears that the claim may also be brought within one year from the appointment of the personal representative. However, this is Kentucky case law and one should not wait in bringing the action. Motor vehicle tort claims must be brought within two years. In MVRA claims, you have one year unless MVRA benefits have been paid in which case you have two years.

WHAT IF THE DECEASED WAS NEGLIGENT IN CAUSING HIS DEATH?
One defense is that the deceased contributed to causing the accident or his injuries and death. If the deceased was wholly negligent there is no recovery. If the deceased was negligent and the wrongdoer also negligent, there may be a recovery to the extent of the wrongdoers negligence as determined by a jury.

WHEN CAN WORKER’S COMPENSATION BE RECOVERED?
If the deceased was willed while at work, he is entitled to recover worker’s compensation benefits and may not bring a lawsuit against his employer or fellow employees. However, a lawsuit may be brought against others.
As a practical matter the amount of recovery may be greatly affected by the amount of insurance coverage available and the financial ability of the wrongdoer.

WHY SHOULD I FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?
We respectfully say to you that as attorneys, all we can hope to do is to recover money and ease the financial burden. Winning a lawsuit will not bring you satisfaction. Regardless of the outcome of any lawsuit, you will still have the pain and emptiness from the loss of your loved one. We would be honored to help you obtain money to ease the financial burden.

Hiring a lawyer will help you get the settlement you deserve. At Al Miller Law Offices your first appointment is FREE so call us at 270-754-5502 for an appointment. If you decide to hire us, you will not pay your attorney's fees until you win your case. Court costs and case expenses are the responsiblity of the client only if we win or settle the case.

ALL APPOINTMENTS ARE CONFIDENTIAL AND WITHOUT OBLIGATION.


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