Kentucky Wrongful Death Lawyer

Help for the greatest loss of all

All actions have consequences; none is more serious than the death of an innocent person.  Criminal law provides punishment for those guilty of intentionally causing another’s death.

In civil law, a “wrongful death” lawsuit provides the survivors monetary compensation from those responsible for the intentional or careless behavior causing their loved one’s death.   Some people say: “sure, punishment is appropriate, but no amount of money will bring back the dead.”  So why and how can we put a dollar value on the priceless value of life?

Our American system of civil justice requires money damages for wrongful death because we understand that people have value to their families and to their communities. How else does the child who loses her daddy make up for his loss of earnings, or more importantly, for the loss of his care and nurture? Liability insurance exists to pay for civil damages for injury and death.

It’s the job of a qualified and experienced Kentucky wrongful death attorney at the Julie Butcher Law Office to get clients all they are entitled to under our system of civil justice.

If we allow the careless and needless loss of life to go unanswered, we would negate that person’s value and permit the wrongdoer to escape responsibility.  These are the reasons behind civil wrongful death lawsuits that have been part of the American justice system in every single state from the very beginning of our country.

So how do we measure and quantify those damages?  Until recently, in Kentucky the recoverable damages for wrongful death were limited to:

  • The destruction of the ability to earn money;
  • Medical and funeral expenses;
  • Conscious pain and suffering from the time of injury to the time of death;
  • Minor children’s loss of parental consortium (loss of care, comfort, society and companionship) until age 18
  • The surviving spouse’s loss of consortium from the time of the injury to the time of death.
  • Punitive damages for gross negligence (in limited cases).

These measures don’t fairly compensate the spouse of the retired or disabled victim who had little to no destruction of ability to earn money.  The prior law seemed to reduce the value of human life in many cases to only what the decedent could have earned if he had not been killed.  Do we really want to live in a society where we place more value on the life of a Fortune 500 CEO than someone like Mother Theresa?

Fortunately in 2009, the Kentucky Supreme Court recognized this inequity was not the law’s intention or the law in most other states.

The Court made it clear that Kentucky juries may evaluate the surviving spouse’s personal loss beyond the date of his or her spouse’s death.  Bereaved spouses are no longer arbitrarily limited in their loss of consortium claims.  Maybe one day the right case will come along and the arbitrary limit on an adult child’s loss of consortium will be lifted as well.

The biggest difference in how we handle cases and how those “legal mills” handle cases is that we get to know our clients better. Knowing and understanding our clients’ harms and losses allows us to better tell their stories. Our clients don’t have to wonder; they know we care about them personally.  Just look at our testimonials.