If a death is “wrongful,” it means that it more than likely would not have occurred was it not for the negligent, reckless, wanton, or intentional acts of another person or company. Wrongful death cuts live short and take many in the prime of life. It is a tragic occurrence that no family should have to suffer through. If the recent death of a loved one came from someone else’s negligent or criminal act, come to our Bridgeport wrongful death attorneys for legal counsel. We provide services to the people of Bridgeport, Milford, and throughout Connecticut.
Don’t let the unexpected death of a loved one go without recompense. Once your family has had time to process the information, contact us and schedule an appointment at our local law office. No matter who you think is to blame, we can help you identify the true defendant(s) in your case. We can then take over all aspects of your case, including conversations with insurance claims adjusters, so you can focus on grieving. Calling our lawyers for representation right away can give you immediate peace of mind about your case.
- What do you need to know about wrongful death claims?
- What are the most common causes of wrongful death in Connecticut?
- What to do after a suspected wrongful death?
What You Need to Know About Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death claim is a type of lawsuit that goes through the civil claims court in Connecticut. If the claim involves more than $5,000 in damages (as most wrongful death claims do), it will go to the Fairfield Judicial District Courthouse in Bridgeport or the Milford District Court in Milford. You must file your claim in the district where the alleged wrongful death occurred. Our lawyers cover both areas and can help you understand where to file your claim. We will also help you navigate state wrongful death laws, such as:
- Who can file. Connecticut Code, Section 52-555, describes the state’s wrongful death laws. It states that only the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate has the right to file this type of claim within the state. The person’s will or estate plan may name an executor, or the courts may appoint one during probate.
- Deadline for filing. Parties in Connecticut who may file for wrongful death have two years from the date of death to do so. No one may file after five years from the date of the act or omission that led to the death has passed. It’s important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible about a potential wrongful death claim, to meet application deadlines.
- Damages available. Damages in a wrongful death claim are different from those in typical personal injury cases. The estate of the decedent may receive payment for medical and hospital expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost earning capacity, the deceased person’s pain and suffering prior to death, and lost the enjoyment of life.
If someone deliberately violated traffic laws or did so through “reckless disregard” for the law, the estate may be eligible for double or triple damages. The executor of the estate must specifically request this award with by pleading that the driver acted deliberately or recklessly and that this was a substantial factor in the death. This may apply if the driver was drunk, texting and driving, speeding, running a red light, or engaged in another dangerous practice.
Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Connecticut
All personal injury accidents can result in wrongful death if the injuries are fatal. Some accidents cause life-threatening injuries more frequently than others. Learning the most common causes of wrongful death in Connecticut can give you a clearer idea of whether you have a case. It can also help you understand you’re not alone after losing a loved one to negligence. This is a frequent problem that has plagued the world for centuries. The following are some of the wrongful death causes we know to occur most frequently:
- Car accidents. In 2015, 305 people died in Connecticut car accidents. Car accidents are most often fatal when they involve drunk drivers, reckless driving, and speeding. Accidents involving motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians are also often fatal.
- Workplace accidents. Working in a dangerous industry, such as construction, runs a high risk of serious and fatal accidents. Transportation accidents fall, electrocutions and acts of violence are all common work-related risks.
- Medical malpractice. Malpractice from a health care practitioner can mean the death of a patient who otherwise would have survived. Surgical errors, medication mistakes, negligent patient care, and unsanitary premises are examples of fatal malpractice.
- Defective products. A defective airbag, seat belt, water heater, chemical cleaner, child’s toy, or other product could cause fatal injuries to unsuspecting consumers. Manufacturers can be liable for these types of accidents.
- Premises accidents. Negligent security dog attacks, swimming pool accidents, elevator/escalator accidents, and fires are examples of premises liability accidents that could prove fatal. Our premise liability lawyers in Bridgeport say property owners may be legally responsible for these deaths.
Determining the proximate cause of your loved one’s recent death might take assistance from a team of personal injury attorneys in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Harlow, Adams & Friedman, P.C., can investigate the fatal accident and give you our best professional opinion of who may be liable. Many cases involve more than one responsible party, which may be “jointly and severally liable” for your damages. This means you could get the full amount of your settlement from multiple parties.
What to Do After a Suspected Wrongful Death
You should also include gathering information, building a case file, and learning about your rights. The more facts and evidence you can collect surrounding your loved one’s untimely death, the better. Get the names of any person or establishments involved. If your loved one died in a car accident, get the at-fault driver’s insurance information. Collect medical and/or police records. If anyone saw the accident, get a recorded eyewitness statement. Once you have the facts about your case, call a lawyer.
Proving your wrongful death claim will require showing the defendant breached a duty of care that he or she owed your relative, resulting in the fatal accident. This will require enough evidence to fulfill the “but for” requirement – in other words, that the death would not have happened but for the defendant’s negligence or breach of duty. You must also show a “reasonable and prudent” person in the same situation would have done something differently and prevented the accident. One of our experienced attorneys can help you fulfill your burden of proof in a Bridgeport, Connecticut wrongful death claim.
It is possible to pursue a wrongful death claim while a criminal case is ongoing. Criminal and civil cases against the individual exist separately. The executor of the estate must file a civil claim directly with the courts in Bridgeport or Milford to pursue compensation of damages for the estate. If the case is a success, the estate will receive the compensation for use according to a will, estate plan, or the executor’s determination. For representation for these complex claims, come to a local firm that has your best interests at heart. Come to Harlow, Friedman & Adams, P.C.