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Kentucky law and wrongful death claims for car accidents

A wrongful death suit stemming from a car accident is filed in cases in which one's death or serious injury was determined to have resulted from someone else's negligence. If it can be demonstrated that gross negligence took place, then a person may be entitled to compensation. In cases in which death occurred, the victim's personal representative is eligible to file the case.

If the case does result in a monetary judgment, once attorney fees, court costs, funeral expenses, and administrative recovery costs are deducted, the remaining funds are divided among surviving relatives based on testate succession if the deceased had a will and intestate succession if they did not.

In cases of intestate succession, the proceeds of the case are divided accordingly. If the deceased had a spouse, and no children or descendants of the children, then the entirety of the distribution goes to the widow or widower.

If the deceased is survived by both a spouse and children, then half the funds go to the surviving spouse, and half to the children of the decedent. If there is no surviving spouse, but the deceased is survived by children, then the entirety of the funds go to the children, to be divided equally.

When the decedent has no spouse or children, then the settlement goes to the parents of the deceased. If both the mother and father are alive, then each parent is entitled to half. If only one parent is alive, then the whole shall go to the surviving parent. The same parental rules hold true if the deceased was adopted. Meaning, both or one of the adoptive parents would inherit the funds.

If the decedent is not survived by a spouse, children, or parents, then the funds will become a part of the probate estate to be distributed to remaining relatives based on the order of intestate succession, such as a siblings, and other more remote familial relatives.

When filing a case for wrongful death resulting from car accidents, the persona eligible to file the claim and receive settlement on the decedent's behalf are the same. If you are the surviving relative of the victim who is considering filing a wrongful death suit, a Kentucky personal injury attorney can help explain your rights to compensation as it relates to your case.

Source: Lrc.ky.gov, "Action for wrongful death," accessed Jan. 20, 2017

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