Wrongful death can be defined as the death of a human being as the result of a wrongful act of another person. If a person dies through the fault of another then a cause of action can be brought by the Estate of the decedent. Wrongful death actions were brought into existence to ensure that the surviving spouse and children of the deceased were financially compensated, as well as providing an incentive for people not to behave in such a manner that might result in the death of another. The wrongful act of another person can be either intentional or can occur through negligence. An example of an intentional wrongful act is the murder of the deceased. A negligent wrongful act may have resulted from a driving error or a medical error, resulting in a medical malpractice claim, causing the death of an innocent person.
Each state has its own wrongful death statutes and laws but, in general, they set out who is eligible to sue, the elements of the damages and what limits, if any, are applicable to an award for damages. If the deceased is a parent, spouse or a minor child family members may be entitled to a claim for damages for a wrongful death award. An unborn child has a separate distinction. A fetus does not have legal status which would not create a cause of action for a death case. However, if the infant is born alive and later dies from an injury sustained before birth, he or she is recognized legally as a minor child and the parents may have a viable wrongful death claim. If the deceased in a death case is a parent, a minor child may be entitled to financial compensation for the loss of guidance and support the parent would have provided for that child until the age of majority.
For a deceased who has a spouse, the surviving spouse may receive an award for the loss of earnings their deceased spouse might have earned, as well as damages for grief and loss of companionship. These awards are usually calculated based on a reasonable life expectancy, the deceased's earning capacity and, sometimes, the state of health of the deceased at the time of his or her death. The loss of a child through a wrongful death may enable the parents to receive compensation for grief, loss of companionship and possible financial contributions the child may have made to the parents. Additionally, family members may be awarded an amount to cover medical, funeral and legal costs. A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed either by the executor or representative of the estate and could include claims for the applicable family members impacted by the death of the deceased. Wrongful death claims may be filed against a person, employer, business and local or state governments or, dependent on the circumstances, a combination of these.
The limitation period – the time after which a lawsuit can no longer be initiated – for filing a wrongful death claim can vary based on state law and whether the Defendant is the local or state government. Generally, notice of an impending lawsuit must be given to the government within a specified time or the lawsuit will be barred. If you have lost a loved one, or know someone who has lost a family member, through the fault of another an immediate consultation with an experienced attorney is recommended to protect your rights. If you or someone you love thinks they may have a potential wrongful death case, it is best to consult with a CT wrongful death lawyer. Contact our experienced team of CT Personal Injury Attorneys at 888-244-5480 today, to discuss your case, and to make sure that your rights are protected, so you can ultimately claim what is rightfully yours.
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