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Wrongful Death Lawyer in West Hartford

The fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. is unintentional injuries. Falls, motor vehicle accidents, medical errors, and other preventable events cause more deaths than diabetes, chronic respiratory, and stroke. 

When a loved one dies from injuries, it is a tragedy. But if those injuries resulted from someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions, it is an injustice.

At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, we know the financial and emotional losses you experience after a loved one’s death. Our West Hartford lawyers for wrongful death cases fight for financial compensation for your family and justice for your loved one. 

Contact us to learn about your rights and how we can help you with your family’s wrongful death claim.

What Is Wrongful Death?

In common law, an injured person’s legal claims died with them. Thus, an at-fault party’s legal position improved when the victim died. If they had survived, the victim could sue the party for personal injury. But if they died, their injury claim died with them.

Seeing this unfairness, Connecticut changed this rule. In 1949, the legislature passed a law that created a legal claim for injuries resulting in death. This wrongful death action allows the deceased person’s estate to recover any damages resulting from the fatal injuries.

The estate’s ownership of the wrongful death claim affects two issues.

Who Brings a Wrongful Death Claim in West Hartford, CT?

Since the wrongful death claim belongs to the deceased person’s estate, it must be brought by the estate. Specifically, the deceased person’s executor or administrator brings the wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate.

The deceased victim’s will names the executor who will wind up the estate and distribute any bequests. The executor has the authority to pay taxes, sell property, or, in this case, bring lawsuits on behalf of the estate.

The probate court will appoint an administrator if the deceased victim died without a will or the executor named in the will cannot or declines to serve. Regardless of how the administrator was appointed, they have the same powers as an executor would have.

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a West Hartford Wrongful Death Case?

Going back to the purpose of Connecticut’s wrongful death statute will help you understand the damages recoverable. The claim originally belonged to the deceased person, so the damages recoverable will tie back to their losses.

Damages for wrongful death take two forms. Economic damages represent the financial costs and losses the deceased person incurred. Examples of these losses include the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income over the victim’s predicted remaining life
  • Funeral and burial expenses

Non-economic losses include all the ways the deceased person’s quality of life was diminished by their injuries. If the person died instantaneously, their non-economic losses might be smaller than if they had survived for a few hours or days. Examples of non-economic damages include the following:

  • Pain from the fatal injuries
  • Mental anguish from the fatal injuries
  • Destruction of the capacity to enjoy life
  • Effects of death

The last two factors require some explanation. Destruction of the capacity to enjoy life refers to the intangible value of engaging in enjoyable activities. For example, the estate’s lawyer will present evidence that the deceased person enjoyed family activities, work, sports, and recreation.

The effects of death try to encompass the sense of loss the victim felt by dying. The best way to understand this concept is to look at the non-economic losses, such as dismemberment and disfigurement, that someone can suffer if they survive their injuries. 

These losses refer to the sense of loss due to losing a body part and suffering an injury that alters your appearance. Although entirely fictional, the effects of death try to capture the same idea but as applied to the loss of life.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases in West Hartford

Connecticut’s law allows the administrator or executor to bring a wrongful death claim against anyone “legally at fault” for the fatal injuries. There may be several scenarios in which someone may be legally at fault for a death.

Medical Malpractice

Researchers at Johns Hopkins performed a statistical analysis that suggested medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. While other researchers have questioned this conclusion, many patients suffer fatal injuries due to medical malpractice while diagnosing and treating diseases, trauma, and medical conditions.

Every wrongful death attorney at our firm has experience in malpractice cases. They gather the evidence to show what happened and expert witnesses to explain how the death resulted.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury and death in the U.S. Some fatal car accidents occur despite everyone driving with reasonable care. But in many cases, a court can assign the blame for the crash based on dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, and impaired driving.

A wrongful death lawyer from Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge assembles the case to prove the other driver caused your loved one’s death.

Premises Liability

Premises liability claims arise when a premises owner, manager, or tenant fails to exercise reasonable care in finding and fixing hazardous conditions. When a visitor to the premises suffers a fatal injury, the person or business responsible for the premises may be liable for the death. 

A wrongful death attorney from our firm identifies the responsible parties and advises you about your options.

Homicide

Wrongful death is not limited to negligence. The other party can be legally at fault under the wrongful death law for injuries caused by intentional actions. 

These claims can result from intentional actions like murder, nursing home abuse, child abuse, or other similar acts. Importantly, your wrongful death claim is not affected by any criminal prosecution.

A West Hartford lawyer from our firm will use the evidence from the criminal prosecution and add any evidence recovered from our investigation. We will also advise you about the timing of your claim relative to any murder case.

Dangerous Products

Fatal injuries from defective and dangerous products can lead to a wrongful death claim. 

In a product liability claim, your lawyer’s chances of winning a wrongful death suit improve because they only need to prove the existence of a defect in the product’s design, manufacture, or warnings and a causal link between the defect and the fatal injury. They do not need to prove that the manufacturer caused or knew about the defect.

How it Works

Contingency Fees

At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, P.C., we handle all Wrongful Death cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not get paid unless and until you receive a settlement or a jury award.

Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a skilled Connecticut personal injury lawyer today. Contact us online or call our New Haven law firm directly at 203-865-8430.

Questions

Wrongful Death FAQs

Can I Get Compensated for Grief in a Connecticut Wrongful Death Claim?

No. Remember, the damages in a Connecticut wrongful death claim only include those incurred by the deceased victim. The grief of the family members is outside the scope of a wrongful death claim.

However, wrongful death law firms can pursue a separate cause of action for loss of consortium. This action is only available to spouses. It covers the loss of the deceased spouse’s companionship, affection, moral support, intimacy, and sexual relations. 

It also includes the loss of the deceased spouse’s household services like cooking, yard work, and home maintenance. Your wrongful death lawyer can estimate the value of these losses using the cost of hiring someone to replace the lost spouse.

Who Shares in the Damages Recovered?

Since the cause of action belongs to the estate, the damages get added to the estate. The executor will distribute the damages to devisees named in the will. If the victim died without a will, the administrator will distribute the damages to heirs according to Connecticut’s intestate succession law.

Will the Wrongful Death Lawsuit Go to Trial?

Most wrongful death cases are settled rather than going to trial. The estate’s lawyer for wrongful death claims will negotiate with the at-fault party and their insurer to try to settle the claims without trial. Even if the other parties refuse to settle initially, they may see things differently after the executor or administrator authorizes the filing of a lawsuit.

Speak to West Hartford’s Experienced Attorneys for Wrongful Death Claims

After you lose a loved one to someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions, you need closure. One path to closure includes a claim for wrongful death. If you win this claim, you will recover financial compensation for your loved one’s losses. You will also get justice in their memory.

At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, we have extensive experience handling wrongful death cases in West Hartford, CT. Contact us to discuss your loved one’s death and how we can assist the estate in recovering compensation for their losses.

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