Personal Injury - Wrongful Death
When someone dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, company, government agency, or other entity, the survivors may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Survivors are typically those who were dependent on or beneficiaries of the deceased. This allows you to seek compensation for your loss, such as lost wages from the deceased, lost companionship, and funeral expenses.
Some examples of wrongful death lawsuits involve car manufacturers (for vehicle accidents), other product manufacturers (for defective and dangerous items), and hospitals or doctors (for emergency room malpractice or fatal anesthetic dosages).
A wrongful death claim must be filed by a representative on behalf of the survivors who suffer damage from the decedent’s death. The survivors are called the “real parties in interest.” The representative may be the executor of the decedent’s estate. The “real parties in interest” may include:
- All persons who suffer financially
- Immediate family members
- Distant family members
- Life partners, financial dependents, and putative spouses
- Parents of a deceased fetus
Who is responsible for someone’s wrongful death?
Often, there is not always a singular individual or entity at fault. For example, in a car accident involving a faulty roadway and a drunk driver, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed against:
- the driver at fault in the automobile accident
- the designer and/or builder of the faulty roadway
- a government employee who failed to provide adequate warnings for the road hazard that caused the accident
- the manufacturer, distributor, and/or installer of a faulty part of the vehicle that reacted poorly to roadway conditions
- the people who sold, served, or gave alcohol to the impaired driver
- the owner of the premises where the alcohol was served
When determining wrongful death damages, the court may consider:
- The amount of money earned by the deceased
- Loss of companionship
- The savings of the deceased
- The degree to which survivors were financially dependent on the deceased
- Expenses incurred by survivors for medical and funeral costs
Seek Justice for a Loved One
While no amount of financial payment can ever compensate for the loss of a loved one, being financially secure in your future and assured that the responsible parties are brought to justice can provide a sense of closure and security to survivors. During your grieving period, consideration of a wrongful death lawsuit may not seem urgent – however, wrongful death cases must be filed within a specific time period or you risk losing your right to financial compensation. In Connecticut, you have up to 2 years after the date of pursue a wrongful death claim. Although, depending on the particular facts and circumstances that led to the death, certain parties may need to be put on notice of a potential claim much earlier. It is always imperative to seek legal counsel as soon as possible, especially if you are unsure whether or not to begin a suit. Michael Dolan can offer you advice at a free consultation.
As a civil litigation attorney, Michael Dolan fights wholeheartedly to protect the rights of people who have been wronged. Our firm can help you determine whether you have grounds to file this type of claim, who the at-fault party is, and what compensation you may pursue. Once we establish a course of action, we will guide you through every step of the legal process.