Suing for Wrongful Death in Connecticut—What You Should Know
Suffering the loss of a loved one is incomprehensible. However, when that loss is due to another person’s negligence or misconduct, the loss feels substantially more distressing.
The Connecticut Code Section 52-555 defines wrongful death as a claim for injuries resulting in death. In determining how to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you must ask whether your loved one would have had a personal injury case against another had they survived.
What Do I Need to Prove in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When suing for wrongful death, one must prove that the defendant caused another’s death through their wrongful or negligent actions.
How Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Work?
Connecticut’s wrongful death statute imposes a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. The statute of limitations begins running on the date of death.
While suffering the loss of a loved one, bringing a lawsuit for wrongful death may be the furthest from your mind. Additionally, exceptions to the statute of limitations do exist. However, retaining a skilled personal injury attorney’s services to assist you in filing a wrongful death lawsuit assures the statute of limitations doesn’t expire.
Suing for wrongful death may take some time. The length of a wrongful death lawsuit depends on factors including:
- Whether there is a clear cause of death, and
- Whether the alleged party at-fault accepts accountability for death.
In many situations, even if the alleged at-fault party understands they are legally responsible for the death, they may still wish to explore defenses to their act. Defenses to wrongful death lawsuits may arise if another party partially caused the death or if the decedent was partly responsible for their own death.
Even if a party accepts fault, many examples of wrongful death cases involve litigation. Litigation may be required to officially assign percentages of fault in the death of your loved one. When litigation occurs in wrongful death lawsuits, this may extend the time it takes to resolve the case.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
In Connecticut, the executor or administrator of the estate pursues damages on behalf of the decedent’s loved ones. A jury or judge determines the amount of damages to be awarded in a wrongful death claim. Plaintiffs in wrongful death lawsuits may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include tangible losses such as medical expenses, loss of earnings, loss of benefits, and loss of inheritance. Non-economic damages include those intangible losses such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Additionally, in certain situations, one may seek punitive damages if the at-fault party’s behavior was especially egregious or offensive. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the individual. Therefore, punitive damage awards may often be substantially higher than economic and non-economic damages amounts.
Who May File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death
Connecticut laws only permit representatives of a deceased’s estate to sue for wrongful death. Therefore, if the decedent did not select a representative, the Probate Court must appoint someone to bring a wrongful death claim.
It’s essential to speak with an experienced attorney knowledgeable about wrongful death claims to assure the correct party files a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased.
Navigating how to file a wrongful death lawsuit represents multiple complexities one should not undertake without a qualified attorney. The attorneys at Stanger Stanfield Law represent clients with diligence and understanding.
We understand what it takes to present a strong case of wrongful death in court. We work to protect your legal rights and the rights of your loved one. We have the legal knowledge required to hold the at-fault party responsible for their conduct and achieve the financial compensation you deserve.
Contact our office today for a free consultation regarding your potential wrongful death claim. We are here to help!