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Wrongful Death Lawyer in Kentucky and Ohio
The death of a loved one resulting from negligence, recklessness, or the intent of another can be devastating. You and your family may likely feel angry or confused to know that the death of your loved one could have been prevented. Whether you lost a spouse, child, or family member as a result of a motor vehicle accident, medical malpractice, or a work-related accident, you want to be certain that you and your family are justly compensated for your loss.
At The Lawrence Firm, PSC, we are dedicated to helping families who have suffered such significant loss resulting from a wrongful death. With more than 40 years of experience handling wrongful death claims in Kentucky and Ohio, we know how to assist you through the process, protect your rights and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
What is Wrongful Death?
When a person dies as a result of another’s negligence or misconduct, the family or survivors may file what is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. This sort of litigation seeks restitution for the damages suffered by the survivors. Lost companionship, lost earnings, and burial expenditures are just a few examples of losses that may be compensable.
A wrongful death may be the result of any number of things, including (but not limited to):
- Medical Malpractice: Survivors of the decedent may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the doctor and/or medical care providers who gave a misdiagnosis, failed to diagnose, or delayed diagnosis or otherwise deviated from the medical standard of care and which resulted in the death of their loved one. For a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, you must prove that the doctor acted negligently and that the patient died as a result of this negligence.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: A wrongful death lawsuit may arise if a person dies as a result of a motor vehicle accident and investigators discover that the driver who caused the accident was negligent behind the wheel. Drunk driving, failure to obey traffic regulations, distracted driving, and reckless or aggressive driving are all examples of driver negligence that may lead to a fatal car accident.
- Intentional Killing: In addition to the criminal case that will likely transpire, the intentional killing or murder of another person may result in a civil wrongful death lawsuit. Even if the defendant was not found guilty in the criminal case, a wrongful death verdict may still be achieved and the victim’s family compensated for their loss.
- Work-Related Accidents: For a wrongful death lawsuit to be successful for a work-related accident, it must be proven that the death occurred as a result of the negligence of the employer.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
In order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, you must first prove that a wrongful death actually occurred. So how do you do that? In order to prove wrongful death, several factors must be present. These factors include:
- A death occurred as a result of the negligence of another person or another person’s intent to harm or kill the individual.
- The plaintiff must show the court that the defendant owed the deceased individual a certain duty of care and subsequently violated or “breached” that duty of care.
- For a medical malpractice case, this duty of care refers to the typical medical standard of care.
- For deaths resulting from a car accident, this duty of care may be the responsibility to follow the rules of the road and drive safely when operating any vehicle.
- In work-related accidents, the employer owes his or her employee a duty of care that includes proper safety precautions and a safe work environment.
- For intentional killings, this duty of care is simply obeying the law and respecting basic human morals.
- By breaching the implied duty of care, the defendant’s actions directly caused the death of the individual.
- The family or survivors of the deceased individual suffered financial losses as a result of the death.
The plaintiff, with the help of their wrongful death lawyer, must also meet the prescribed “burden of proof” in demonstrating each of the aforementioned criteria.
How to Sue for Wrongful Death
When a victim who might have been successful in filing a personal injury claim against another party dies as a result of the defendant’s improper acts, wrongful death lawsuits may arise. In order to sue for wrongful death, you must bring forward a claim within the allowed time frame as well as meet the burden of proof. While each state’s laws may define the burden of proof differently, it is typically required that elements of negligence are established by a preponderance of the evidence.
Many states, for example, require jurors to decide whether the defendant was “more likely than not” responsible for the individual’s death, which requires significantly less proof than in a criminal case, where the bar is often set at “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Though it may be easier to prove that a defendant is more likely than not guilty compared to proving they were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, suing for wrongful death can still be a rather difficult and complex process. Your Ohio or Kentucky wrongful death lawyer will need to gather as much evidence as possible to build your case and prove the required elements of the claim.
To achieve this, our wrongful death attorneys at The Lawrence Firm will immediately begin an investigation into your case to identify any and all responsible parties. We will collect all necessary evidence, contact witnesses, and consult with experts, including forensic and economic specialists to document support for your claim.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In order to sue for wrongful death, you must bring the lawsuit within the specified timeframe laid out in your state’s statute of limitations. Below are the wrongful death lawsuit statute of limitations for both Ohio and Kentucky.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Ohio
The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Ohio is two years from the date of the death. Failure to file a claim within this time period may result in the court’s refusal to hear the matter. However, if an inquiry into the death does not identify the cause of death until later, you may still be able to submit a claim.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Kentucky
In Kentucky, a wrongful death claim has a one-year statute of limitations from the date the decedent’s personal representative is appointed. However, if the decedent’s personal representative is appointed more than one year from the date of death, plaintiffs have two years from the date of the death to file a claim.
Who Gets the Money in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The money awarded from a wrongful death lawsuit is typically shared among the family members who have incurred losses as a result of the death. Each state has its own set of laws that determine who will receive compensation and sometimes, in what order they may receive it. According to Ohio’s intestate rules, damages will be allocated based on inheritance rights. This typically includes the surviving spouse, children, parents, or other dependents of the deceased. Grandparents, siblings, and other relatives are often not entitled to compensation unless they can demonstrate that they have incurred legally compensable losses.
Kentucky’s legislation is very specific about who will receive the settlement money in a wrongful death lawsuit. Kentucky Statute 411.130 establishes that family members may receive compensation in this order:
- Surviving spouse
- If the surviving spouse has no children with the deceased, they will receive the full settlement.
- If the surviving spouse does have children with the deceased, the children and spouse must divide the award equally between themselves.
- If no surviving spouse, the children of the deceased will obtain the full award.
- If no surviving spouse or children, the parents of the deceased will obtain the full award.
- If there are no surviving parents, spouse, or children, the award will go to the decedent’s estate. Once the estate’s debts are paid, the remaining amount will go to any individuals named in the decedent’s will.
Once damages have been determined and the lawsuit is resolved, the at-fault party’s insurance will provide the wrongful death lawyer representing the survivors with a check for the full settlement amount. After deducting their fees and other legal charges, the attorney will transfer the remaining funds to the deceased’s survivors or an estate representative, according to state laws and the settlement agreement.
How To Find a Wrongful Death Lawyer
Experiencing the wrongful death of a loved one is extremely painful, and having to face the legal claims associated with such an unexpected death can also be very difficult. That is why it is so important that you find a wrongful death lawyer who is not only skilled in the area of wrongful death claims but is also compassionate and understanding of your personal needs.
At The Lawrence Firm, our lawyers are sensitive to the difficult nature of wrongful death lawsuits, and we work to see cases resolved as efficiently and effectively as possible. We go to great lengths to find qualified experts in every specialty of medicine to ensure the most compelling support for your claim. While we strive to produce the necessary burden of proof to win your case, we also work closely with our client’s families to ensure that they have all they need to support them during this difficult time. Our experienced Cincinnati and Covington wrongful death lawyers will answer all of your questions and make every effort to get you through this difficult time and relieve you from the hassles of litigation.
Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me
If you are located in either Northern Kentucky or Southwest Ohio and you believe you have a valid wrongful death claim on your hands, seek the help of The Lawrence Firm. Our wrongful death attorneys in Covington and Cincinnati are sympathetic to the difficulties of a wrongful death case and will work to help your family receive compensation for the loss of your loved one. We are highly experienced in handling even the most complex wrongful death cases and always work toward the best possible outcome for our clients. In addition to bringing a claim, we can also help your family through the probate process in association with the death of a loved one.
For more information regarding our wrongful death legal services, please contact The Lawrence Firm by calling our toll-free number at 800-698-4054 or by filling out our online intake form below.
You Pay No Fees Unless We Win!
We are happy to offer a free consultation to evaluate your case. If you hire us as your legal counsel, we will represent you on a contingency-fee basis. You will pay no attorneys’ fees unless we recover financial damages.