Wrongful Death Lawsuits: How to Get the Compensation You Deserve

Wednesday October 5, 2022

If a loved one has died due to another party's intentional or accidental action, you may be able to file a wrongful death or survival claim. Under Connecticut law, the executor or administrator of a deceased's estate may file a wrongful death suit to seek compensation for the decedent’s financial and non-economic losses.

Read on to learn about wrongful death claims in Connecticut. We'll cover what a wrongful death claim is, what qualifies as wrongful death, what kind of damages can be awarded, and whether funeral expenses and lost wages are paid. We'll also discuss how likely wrongful death settlements succeed and how a skilled wrongful death lawyer can help you get justice for your loved one

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Connecticut, wrongful death happens when someone dies by the legal fault of another entity or person.

Some states allow the deceased's family to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, under Connecticut's wrongful death statute, only the executor or the administrator of the deceased's estate may file a lawsuit. If the person died without naming an administrator or executor, or if the named administrator or executor is unavailable, the court may appoint an administrator or executor.

Moreover, executors and administrators can only file a wrongful death lawsuit if:

  • The deceased person has died
  • The death was caused by another's intent to cause harm or negligence

What Qualifies as Wrongful Death?

When is a wrongful death claim applicable? Lawsuits for wrongful death can result from various incidents, including:

Intentional Killing and Injury

Individuals who commit intentional crimes that result in the death of another may be sued for wrongful death. These cases are tried separately from manslaughter or homicide criminal cases. Most wrongful death suits happen after criminal trials, using similar evidence but with a lower burden of proof. As such, someone responsible for wrongful death may not be convicted of murder. 

Medical Malpractice

If medical facilities or professionals don't give patients the right standard of care, they can be sued for wrongful death. For example, you may be able to sue a doctor for:

  • Prescribing the wrong dose of medication
  • Failing to diagnose fatal conditions like cancer
  • Misdiagnosis

Automobile Accidents

Automobile accidents — such as car, truck, and motorcycle crashes — are among the most common causes of wrongful death suits. There are many leading causes of automobile accidents, including:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Distracted driving, which includes talking to passengers, eating, and texting while driving
  • Speeding
  • Fatigue
  • Aggressive driving

What Kind of Damages Can Be Awarded?

You can obtain the following types of damages in wrongful death lawsuits:

Financial or Monetary Damages

Financial or monetary damages are easily quantifiable losses. Common examples include:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of benefits
  • Funeral costs

When determining financial or pecuniary loss, courts will consider the following:

  • The health, age, earning capacity, and life expectancy of the deceased
  • The number of dependents at the time of death
  • The economic and social circumstances of the deceased's family
  • Expert testimony to determine the financial value of the deceased to their family

The main consideration is usually the deceased's circumstances at the time of death. To illustrate, when an adult breadwinner with dependents dies, the court and jury will usually award damages for loss of income and parental guidance. They may also consider the deceased's earnings and potential future earnings at the time of death. 

Non-Economic Damages

Besides financial damages, you may also receive non-economic damages. These are awarded for intangible losses, such as loss of enjoyment of life, pain, and suffering, and loss of a spouse.

Punitive Damages

If your wrongful death case involves malicious or serious wrongdoing, the court and jury may award punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar behavior. However, Connecticut law limits punitive damage to the amount of money you spend on the litigation process. 

Are Funeral Expenses and Lost Wages Paid?

Yes, wrongful death in Connecticut covers funeral expenses and lost wages. As discussed above, lost wages and funeral expenses fall under financial or pecuniary damages. 

How Likely Are Wrongful Death Settlements to Succeed?

Without first-class legal representation, wrongful death settlements are unlikely to succeed. In Connecticut, wrongful death actions must be filed within two years from the date of the deceased's death. You must also:

  • Preserve evidence by taking photos of the death scene, the deceased's injuries, property damage estimates, and medical records
  • Value your claim fully by determining the economic value of the deceased's life
  • Calculate future damages
  • Avoid making conflicting statements on social media
  • Make a good impression in court

If you don't do this, you may not get the settlement you deserve. For instance, you may only get $200,000 when you and your family deserve at least $1 million.

Luckily, there's a reliable way of getting the justice you deserve — by working with an experienced wrongful death attorney. The right wrongful death lawyer will maximize your damages by:

  • Investigating your case
  • Gathering evidence
  • Presenting expert testimony to establish the value of the deceased to their family
  • Drafting and filing legal documents
  • Negotiating with insurance adjusters. Depending on the facts of your case, insurance companies may pressure you to settle for lesser amounts. Your lawyer will look at your case and argue for fair compensation. If they don't agree, your attorney will take the case to trial. 

File Your Lawsuit With the Right Wrongful Death Attorney on Your Side

Losing a beloved family member is always difficult. While there's no price tag for human life, we at Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C., can make closure a bit easier by pursuing justice for wrongful death. Compassionate and skillful, our personal injury lawyers have won millions of dollars in wrongful death damages.

Schedule a free, confidential consultation today by filling in this contact form or calling us at 203-354-4559. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, so we don't get paid unless you receive a jury award or settlement.

Get in Touch

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation

At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C., we handle all 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.

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