Kentucky Lawyer Securing Justice And Compensation After Fatal Accidents Caused By Negligence
Regardless of circumstance, losing a loved one is an incredibly overwhelming and heart-wrenching experience. Losing a loved one due to the negligence of another person or party can be that much more painful and traumatic. A wrongful death, whether due to an accident or malpractice, piles tragedy upon tragedy on a level that no one should ever have to experience.
Unfortunately, unnecessary deaths are all too common. In 2010, nearly 121,000 individuals died as the result of unintentional injuries. Tens of thousands more died as a result of medical malpractice. In many cases, a victim’s life would have been spared, if not for the irresponsibility or gross negligence of someone else.
WRONGFUL DEATH CAN STEM FROM A WIDE VARIETY OF SOURCES, INCLUDING:
If your loved one has been taken from you wrongfully, you don’t have to simply accept this injustice. Our experienced injury law team will help you fight back against the negligent. Not only can you hold the guilty accountable, but it’s also possible for you to win much-needed compensation.
To schedule a legal consultation with Louisville wrongful death attorney Seth Gladstein, please call 800-991-0474 today.
The Consequences of Losing a Loved One
The loss of a loved one doesn’t just alter your daily life and shatter your emotional world – it may also leave you with a plethora of needs and expenses. Oftentimes, people are not aware of the fact that they can get help to compensate for both economic damages, as well as the pain and injury that you and your loved one suffered.
YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE TO BE COMPENSATED FOR A NUMBER OF EXPENSES, INCLUDING:
- Medical expenses accumulated before death
- Burial expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of a parent
- Punitive damages that hold the negligent accountable
The death of a loved one is a loss that no amount of money can recover. However, you deserve to be compensated in order to have the means necessary for supporting your family, to provide your loved one with a proper funeral, and to help you move on from the tragedy.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, the probate court will assign a representative for the deceased person’s estate. That person is in charge of filing any wrongful death claims against negligent parties on behalf of the estate. If the estate is compensated for damages, the compensation goes to the estate, as well as certain family members, perhaps including:
- The deceased’s spouse
- The deceased’s children
- The deceased’s father and mother
- Those named in the deceased’s will
Specifically, any compensation received from a wrongful death claim goes to the deceased’s spouse. If there is no spouse, it is divided among the deceased’s children. If there is no spouse and are no children, it is given to the deceased’s parents. If there are no parents, spouses, or children, the money goes to the estate, and is divided among the deceased’s named or legal heirs.
Experience on Both Sides of the Table
A wrongful death case looks very, very different from the defendant’s side of the table. So different, in fact, that defendants are often able to devise strategies that will defeat most personal injury lawyers because the victim’s attorney simply didn’t anticipate the defense strategy that would be used.
Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC founder Seth Gladstein knows this reality all too well. This is because he spent a decade representing the personal injury and wrongful death defendants – four years at a prominent New York City medical malpractice law firm, and six years learning the local legal system at a top Louisville personal injury defense firm.
In 2011 Seth switched sides and began representing injury victims and grieving relatives full-time. His ten years of experience representing defendants provides him with the experience he needs to anticipate defense strategies and effectively pre-empt them. He stands ready to put this experience to work for you.
You Don’t Pay Unless You Win
At Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, our fees are calculated as a percentage of your eventual compensation. That means you will owe us nothing until and unless your monetary compensation actually arrives. There is no such thing as being too poor to afford us.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is wrongful death, and what does it cover?
The Kentucky wrongful death statute defines wrongful death as “the death of a person [that] results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another.” The death must have resulted from wrongful conduct such as:
- Negligence (carelessness)
- Gross negligence (extreme carelessness)
- Recklessness (conscious disregard for the safety of others)
- Intentional misconduct (a criminal assault, for example)
Who selects the personal representative who is entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
That depends on the circumstances.
- If the deceased left a valid last will and testament, the court will usually appoint the estate executor or personal representative named in the will.
- If the deceased left no valid will, the court will appoint the personal representative in its own discretion (generally from among close relatives, such as the victim’s spouse).
What is the legal deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit?
The general rule in Kentucky is that you have one year from the date of death to open an estate, and then one more year from that the date the estate is opened to file a wrongful death lawsuit (this is one of the shortest statute of limitations periods in the nation). You have two years from the date that the estate is opened if the death arose from a motor vehicle accident.
Are punitive damages available in wrongful death lawsuits?
Punitive damages can be awarded (in addition to ordinary compensatory damages) if the defendant’s wrongful act was intentional or grossly negligent. Unlike in some states, there is no statutory upper limit on the amount of punitive damages you can receive. However, most plaintiffs do not receive punitive damages.
What is comparative negligence? Does it apply to wrongful death claims?
Under Kentucky’s comparative negligence regime, the damages available in a wrongful death case will be reduced in proportion to the victim’s degree of fault. Consequently, if the wrongful death victim was 30 percent at fault for the accident, damages available to surviving relatives will be reduced by 30 percent.
Will my wrongful death verdict or settlement be taxed by the IRS?
The IRS can tax only certain type of wrongful death damages.
- Compensatory damages are not taxable
- Punitive damages are taxable as ordinary income
- Prejudgment interest is taxable as interest income
In all likelihood, you will end up owing the IRS either nothing or a tiny fraction of your compensation.
Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer of a dangerous product that caused my loved one’s death?
Yes. As a matter of fact, you can file a lawsuit against either the manufacturer, the distributor, or the retailer – or against all three at the same time. You do not have to prove negligence to win.
Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit during the defendant’s criminal trial?
Yes, you can. A criminal trial and a civil lawsuit are two different proceedings. In a criminal trial the standard of guilt is “beyond a reasonable doubt” – while in a civil lawsuit the standard of liability is “preponderance of the evidence,” which is a much easier standard to meet.
Can I file a claim against a nightclub that served alcohol to the driver who killed my loved one?
Yes, under certain circumstances. The Kentucky dram shop law allows a wrongful death lawsuit against a vendor who served a drunk patron, if a reasonable person would have realized that the patron was severely intoxicated and the patron later injures or kills someone as a result of his intoxication.
Why Gladstein Law Firm?
The simple answer to this question is that we actually care about you. Not your case. Not your wallet. You.
Seth Gladstein, a Kentucky injury lawyer, is an active member of the Louisville community. As a business and societal leader, he brings a unique approach to law that you won’t find in Kentucky’s largest firms. Gladstein Law Firm accepts only a limited number of cases, because we aren’t interested in providing anything less than our best effort to each of our clients.
The goal of our Louisville personal injury lawyers is to provide real solutions to real people with very real problems. We are invested in fighting aggressively to see you vindicated, compensated, and as restored as possible. If you’ve lost a loved one to another’s negligence, call us at 800-991-0474 for a free and confidential consultation with an attorney. You may also fill out our short contact request form.
“I am extremely pleased with Seth’s work on my granddaughter’s wrongful death case. Seth was always prepared, fought aggressively, and achieved a prompt settlement. What’s even more important is the settlement Seth obtained will provide for my great-grandchildren’s needs, including college tuition, for many years to come. Furthermore, Seth helped bring out the truth regarding the circumstances surrounding my granddaughter’s death. I highly recommend Seth, and would not hesitate to refer friends or family members to him if they had a serious personal injury or medical malpractice matter.” –K.M.