Wrongful death statutes apply in Kentucky when one person’s wrongful action causes another to lose their life. The actions result from recklessness, negligence or an intentional act committed with the intent to harm a victim.
Elements necessary to establish wrongful death lawsuits
Compensation through civil action may become available when a human being dies because of another person’s wrongful actions. The things that must occur before a wrongful death lawsuit can become successful include:
- A human being must lose their life.
- The death results from the negligence or intent of another person.
- Surviving family members suffer financial injury after losing a member of the family.
- A representative for the decedent’s estate steps forward.
Wrongful death lawsuits commonly happen when an individual loses their life due to medical malpractice. A doctor must provide an acceptable level of care to patients. A medical professional becomes guilty of breaching this duty when a patient does not receive the care reasonably expected from a physician of similar experience and training. A plaintiff that can show a direct link between this breach of responsibility and the death of a loved one will likely receive some level of damage award from a civil court.
Injury is the number one factor for determining damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Damage calculations often include pecuniary and punitive damages. Pecuniary damages compensate families for medical expenses and the cost to lay a loved one to rest. This damage category also covers the compensation for the loss of service and support that families lose when a family member dies.
A judge or jury will award punitive damages when a plaintiff demonstrates malicious or extreme wrongdoing on the part of a defendant. These damages are punishment for the individual who caused the death of a person.
There is no way possible to replace the life of a person who dies unnecessarily. However, compensation is sometimes available to families that suffer these types of losses. Individuals with questions regarding wrongful death lawsuits may find the answers they need through a conversation with a lawyer.