Elizabethtown Fatal Car Accident Law Firm
Each year, there are over 700 fatal traffic accidents across Kentucky. Of course, accidents affect more than the lives of those who are immediately involved, especially in the case of a fatal Elizabethtown car accident. Losing a loved one in a car accident is a traumatic experience, and nothing can bring back a loved one who senselessly lost their life. However, the families of those killed in fatal traffic accidents can pursue a Kentucky wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.
Common Causes of Fatal Elizabethtown Car Accidents
Kentucky drivers have a duty to drive in a safe and responsible manner at all times, regardless of the road conditions. Unfortunately, too many motorists engage in dangerous driving behaviors that put those around them at risk.
Any car accident can become fatal; however, certain types of accidents are more likely to result in serious injury or death. The following are among the most fatal Kentucky car accidents:
- Drunk driving accidents: According to the most recent statistics, there is an average of about 150 fatal Kentucky car accidents each year that are caused by drunk driving.
- Aggressive driving: In 2018, there were 111 traffic-related deaths caused by speeding drivers, and that number grows significantly when factoring in other aggressive driving techniques.
- Distracted driving: Behaviors such as talking on the phone, texting while driving, eating or talking to passengers all greatly increase the risk of a fatal Elizabethtown car accident.
Kentucky’s Wrongful Death Statute
Under the Kentucky wrongful death statute, family members who have lost a loved one can pursue a claim for compensation to help them cover the costs associated with their loss. A wrongful death lawsuit is very similar to a Kentucky personal injury lawsuit. Kentucky Revised Statutes section 411.130 provides that “whenever the death of a person results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another, damages may be recovered for the death from the person who caused it.”
A Kentucky wrongful death claim is brought by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate; however, the claim is brought for the benefit of the surviving family members. Kentucky law explains how the proceeds of a wrongful death claim are to be distributed:
- If the deceased was married and had no children, the entirety of the award goes to the surviving spouse.
- If the deceased does not have a surviving spouse but has one or more children, the entirely of the award goes to the child or children.
- If the deceased has both a surviving spouse and children, the award is split with 50 percent going to the surviving spouse and 50 percent being divided among the children.
- If the deceased leaves no spouse or children behind, the entirety of the award will go to their parents.
In the situation that the deceased leaves no spouse, children or parents behind, then the award becomes a part of the deceased’s estate and may be distributed according to their will or the Kentucky intestate laws, if the deceased did not have a valid will.
Damages in an Elizabethtown Fatal Car Accident Case
After a fatal car accident, the family of the accident victim will not only be faced with the grief of losing a loved one, but also with significant monetary costs. For example, there will likely be extensive medical bills and funeral costs associated with the loss of a loved one. However, the true cost of the accident is not accurately reflected by those damages alone. Thus, family members can also pursue compensation for the loss of earning power of their loved one, as well as any pain and suffering they experienced as a result of their loss. These are referred to as compensatory damages, as they are designed to put accident victims in the same place as they were before the accident occurred.
In some cases, involving a fatal car accident that was the result of another’s intentional conduct or gross negligence, families may be able to recover punitive damages. Unlike the compensatory damages, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for engaging in egregious or offensive behavior. A fatal Elizabethtown drunk driving accident is an example where punitive damages may be appropriate.
It is important for those who have lost a loved one in a fatal Elizabethtown car accident to act quickly. Under the state’s strict statute of limitations, parties have only one year from the date of a loved one’s death or the date the personal representative is appointed. While this timeframe can be extended in very rare instances, it is best to act quickly to ensure that a party’s rights are preserved.
Consult With a Dedicated Lexington Personal Injury Law Firm
If you have recently lost a loved one a fatal car accident in the Elizabethtown area, you need experienced personal injury lawyers on your side. Hessig & Pohl is ready to help you. One of the reasons Hessig & Pohl is a popular choice among Kentucky car accident victims is that our representation does not cost you anything out-of-pocket. We handle all Kentucky wrongful death claims on a contingency basis and cover all litigation costs up front. We will not collect a fee unless we are able to help you recover compensation for the losses you and your family has suffered. Contact us though our website, or call our office at (502) 777-1111. The initial consultation is always free.
Marty fought for me when the insurance company denied my claim. We sued and got the insurance limits.