Losing a loved one is never easy, especially if this loss was caused by someone else’s carelessness or reckless actions. The financial strain of funeral costs and lost wages only adds to the emotional burden that family members face during this time.
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of someone else, an Enfield wrongful death lawyer could help your family recover damages for the tragedy and hold the responsible party accountable. Personal injury cases are multifaceted, so reaching out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible can help ensure that your losses are fairly compensated.
What Constitutes Wrongful Death in Enfield?
When someone’s carelessness causes or contributes to the death of another person, the negligent party could be liable for wrongful death. This is a civil action and is distinct from any criminal proceedings that might ensue.
A family could bring a wrongful death lawsuit even if the events that led to the death did not result in criminal charges. Criminal liability is different from negligence, and it is negligence that must be proven in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Many wrongful death lawsuits arise out of motor vehicle crashes. However, nearly any fatal accident could form the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit if negligence led to the death. Incidents that could give rise to wrongful death suits include:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Industrial accidents
- Exposure to toxins
- Fires and explosions
- Medical malpractice accidents
An experienced local attorney could evaluate the circumstances of a fatal accident to determine whether a wrongful death claim might be viable.
Procedural Requirements in a Fatal Accident Case
After an individual passes, someone will need to gather their property, settle their debts and obligations, and distribute their assets. If the deceased individual left a will, this document would name an executor to handle these matters. The executor is often a family member but could be someone unrelated to the decedent. If an individual dies without a will, a probate court will name an administrator to handle the decedent’s affairs. An administrator could be a family member, attorney, or another responsible person.
Connecticut General Statutes §45a-448 calls for the damages from a successful wrongful death lawsuit to be distributed as personal assets in accordance with the decedent’s will. If the decedent did not leave a will, state laws governing intestate property will determine the distribution of assets. The executor or administrator of the will must bring a wrongful death lawsuit in order for damages to be awarded to the family.
Statute of Limitations
In most cases, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the decedent’s passing. If an individual’s injuries are not immediately fatal, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within five years of the incident that led to death.
In certain instances, an individual will have as few as 90 days following an injury to file proper notice with the court. A seasoned Enfield attorney could help ensure family members, executors, and administrators of the will file a wrongful death suit within the state’s required timeline.
Potential Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case
In a wrongful death case, the damages awarded serve to compensate for the losses of family members and those incurred by the decedent leading up to their passing. Damages can be economic or non-economic in nature. Economic damages may include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of benefits or inheritance, and loss of projected income. Non-economic damages are intangible and can include pain and suffering that the decedent experienced, mental anguish, and loss of companionship for the family.
If the conduct that caused a death was especially egregious, the decedent’s estate could seek punitive damages, which serve to punish the negligent party for their actions. If the death resulted from a car accident and the driver committed specified violations, increased damages could also be available. A knowledgeable wrongful death attorney in Enfield could advise a family about the damages that might be available to them given the unique facts of their case.
Call an Enfield Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you are grieving the unfair death of a family member, you deserve to have someone on your side fighting for justice for your loved one. An Enfield wrongful death lawyer could help hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and advise you on the best legal steps forward. Reach out to learn more about what our compassionate attorneys could do for you.