Losing a loved one is never easy. Having to deal with no longer having this person in your life can be devastating on its own, but it can become all the more difficult if the death was caused by the negligence (or even malice) of another. But what is considered a wrongful death in Pikeville, KY?
What Is Considered A Wrongful Death in Pikeville, KY?
The first thing to understand is that liability, and determining wrongful death, are things that will not necessarily be similar from one state to another. Most states will not be drastically different from most others, but even a small difference may prove to turn your case completely on its head if you are not careful. By having skilled wrongful death lawyer Billy Johnson, you can more easily navigate the complexities of pursuing a wrongful death claim. The best thing you can do when pursuing a lawyer to help you with your wrongful death case is to get a consultation with them such that you can better understand how good a fit they are for your individual needs and desires.
In Kentucky, wrongful death is defined as a death occurring as the result of either negligence or wrongdoing by another party. This can include acts such as car accidents, medical malpractice, and intentional harm. This is a similar standard to a personal injury claim, with the obvious exception being the fact that the victim, in this case, is not capable of filing suit against the alleged perpetrator. As such, someone with the authority to do so must do it instead if they wish. Wrongful death cases have various damages that the accused may be required to cover. These damages include:
- Economic damages — medical costs for the victim, lost wages (both from having to take care of the victim before they passed and from losing out on the wages the other person may have otherwise brought in), repair costs, funeral costs, etc. Intended to make the victim’s survivors whole.
- Non-economic damages — these kinds of damages refer to things that are less tangible than economic damages, built just as valid. They may include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, etc.
- Punitive damages — damages awarded with the intention of discouraging the accused from engaging in this behavior in the future. While punitive damages are awarded to the person filing in lieu of the victim, the purpose is less to award them damages and more to punish the accused. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where gross negligence or intentionality can be demonstrated. If the accused had engaged in the behavior that lead to the wrongful death in the past and was probably aware of the risks, this could be used to justify pursuing punitive damages.
With all that said, it is important that we not put the horse before the cart. There are certain basic details that need to be established in order to show justification for filing a wrongful death claim in the first place. The first, and most obvious example of this, comes in proving that there was a duty of care which the defendant held. For example, a driver has an automatic duty of care over everyone else on the road, whether they are a driver, a cyclist, or a pedestrian. Namely, the duty of care would specify that you have an obligation to drive safely, securely, and conscientiously. Aggressive driving, drunk driving, distracted driving, reckless driving, all may serve as examples of behavior that would prove that the driver has violated their duty of care.
Speaking of, the next step is to demonstrate whether the violation of their duty of care has even occurred. If it is simply an allegation that the driver was engaging in distracted driving at the time of the death, this may make it far more difficult to file a strong case against someone. However, there are ways that certain violations may be proven. One of these examples comes in the form of police statements, which may be useful to demonstrate whether the driver was driving under the influence. There are deeper ways that one can find evidence as well, such as looking at the driver’s phone records in order to determine whether they were using the phone at the time of the accident. They can also take a look at your GPS in order to see whether you were speeding at the time of the incident, which would qualify as reckless driving. Finally, you need to be able to prove that you have suffered damages as a result of their behavior.