The sudden loss of a loved one in an accident is a traumatic experience. Amid the challenges of grieving, planning a funeral, and supporting your family, it is easy to overlook your family’s legal rights.
If your loved one died as a result of negligence on the part of a careless driver, property owner, medical professional, company, or other party, the members of your family are likely entitled to compensation from a wrongful death claim. Claims for wrongful death are subject to a number of special legal rules, including who is allowed to file, deadlines for filing, and probate court issues.
A wrongful death attorney at The Flood Law Firm can review your case and advise you of the process for recovering damages. Contact us for free today.
Plaintiffs pursue personal injury claims for damages they have suffered due to the negligence of another. Similarly, wrongful death actions seek compensation for damages suffered by a person who was fatally injured by a negligent party or parties, as well as damages suffered by their family members.
While compensation can’t bring back the victim, it can help support his or her family and help to replace some of the things lost with their death. In order to prosecute the wrongful death claim, an estate must be created with the probate court and a fiduciary must be appointed by the probate court. A wrongful death lawyer at The Flood Law Firm can guide you through this process and make sure that the case is properly prepared to proceed.
Connecticut law only allows the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate to file a claim for wrongful death. If the decedent has a valid will, the will names someone as an executor. Spouses, adult siblings, adult children, and parents are all commonly named as the executors in wills, but the person in charge of administering an estate does not have to be a family member.
When somebody dies intestate (i.e., the decedent does not have a will), the probate court will appoint someone as the administrator of the estate. As with an executor, the administrator may be a family member or someone from outside the family.
While a fiduciary is appointed by the probate court to help pursue the wrongful death claim, the compensation recovered is distributed according to the decedent’s will if he or she left one, or by Connecticut law for those who die without a will, or intestate. Generally, it is best to speak with a knowledgeable attorney for assistance with this process.
It is important to distinguish between the individual who is legally allowed to bring a wrongful death claim (the executor or administrator of the estate) and the person(s) who may be entitled to damages. Many of the damages recovered in a successful wrongful death case go to the estate to pay for funeral expenses and medical bills for care provided to the decedent before death.
However, these are not the only damages that can be recovered for wrongful death.
Dependent family members of the deceased (such as a spouse and children) may be compensated for the loss of their loved one’s earning capacity (i.e., the wages he or she would have earned and contributed to the household) as well as the loss of benefits, inheritance, and other financial support. These damages are awarded to the estate, which are then distributed to dependents according to the terms of the will or according to the Connecticut laws of intestate succession (if the decedent dies without a will).
Spouses of someone killed by the negligence of another also have the right to file a claim for loss of consortium. As defined by Connecticut law, loss of consortium damages include the “loss of the society of, affection of, moral support provided by, services provided by, sexual relations with or companionship of the other spouse.” These damages are intended to compensate the surviving spouse for the loss of intimacy, support, and companionship they suffer as a result of the wrongful death.
Wrongful death cases can be challenging both emotionally and legally. Given the hardships family members face when a loved one is unexpectedly taken away from them, it may be difficult to think about filing a lawsuit to recover damages from the party at fault.
You are not alone in your loss. At The Flood Law Firm, every member of our team is a “true believer” in the importance of evening the playing field for people who suffer serious injuries or the death of a family member. Our results speak for themselves, and we never hesitate to take cases to trial if it means achieving a better outcome for our clients.
Attorneys at The Flood Law Firm assist you with all aspects of a wrongful death claim, from investigating the circumstances of the fatal injury or accident to calculating damages to filing suit on your behalf. Our team is with you every step of the way, handling the rigors of the legal process and providing emotional support as you try to put your life back together.
Please call The Flood Law Firm at (860) 346-2695 today for a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney. Our firm serves clients throughout Connecticut from offices in Middletown, Danbury, Waterbury, and Bridgeport.