In Connecticut, a wrongful death occurs when one person dies as a result of the legal fault of another person or entity. A wrongful death can either be negligent or intentional, and can occur from a variety of incidents including car accidents, construction accidents, falls, medical malpractice, and criminal acts.
What distinguishes wrongful death cases from other types of injury claims is that the injured person in a wrongful death case is deceased, meaning that he or she is no longer able to seek compensation from the individual or entity that caused the injury. In this type of case, an executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate must bring the claim. If the deceased did not have a will, the probate court may appoint an executor/administrator for the estate to pursue the wrongful death claim and handle other estate issues.
Like with other types of negligence cases, the first element that must be proved is liability. It must be proven that the other party caused the injuries and death of the deceased. Because the deceased person is no longer able to speak in support of his or her case, full investigation of the incident and cause of death are critical. The case is likely to depend heavily on witness testimony, reports, and experts. Accordingly, hiring an experienced firm to navigate these issues is critical.
If liability is proved, the next item is damages. In an award, the court will consider pain and suffering, the experience of the injury, loss of earning capacity, medical expenses, funeral expenses. Additionally, if there is a surviving spouse, the court will consider “loss of consortium”, which is the surviving spouse’s claim for loss of companionship, affection, and support as a result of the spouse’s death.