Navigating the aftermath of a tragic loss is never easy. When the loss of a loved one is due to another’s negligence, the grieving process can become even more complicated. Connecticut law provides a way for surviving family members to seek justice and compensation through wrongful death claims. If you recently lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence, you may wonder whether you can file a wrongful death claim. Please continue reading and reach out to a dedicated Stamford, Connecticut wrongful death lawyer from Casper & de Toledo to learn more. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Before diving into the specifics of who can file, it’s crucial to understand what a wrongful death claim is. Simply put, a wrongful death claim is a legal action taken against a party believed to be responsible for someone’s death due to negligence or wrongful conduct- whether involving an affirmative act or omission. Such claims can arise from various situations, including car accidents, medical malpractice, or workplace incidents.
Who Is Legally Allowed to File?
Connecticut law specifies that only certain individuals or parties can file a wrongful death claim. So, who exactly qualifies?
- The Executor or Administrator of the Deceased’s Estate: In most cases, the individual named as the executor in the deceased’s will or the person(s) appointed as the administrator is the person with the legal right to file the claim. This person acts on behalf of the estate, ensuring any damages awarded pass through the estate. Regardless of the official designation, the representative of the estate cannot officially act without appointment by the probate court.
- Because Connecticut’s laws are somewhat archaic, a surviving spouse has the right to bring a loss of consortium claim.
What if the Deceased Didn’t Have a Will?
It’s a common concern. What happens if the deceased did not leave a will? In these situations, Connecticut law steps in to provide clarity. A decedent who does not have a will is said the have died intestate. See above, as the probate court has the power to appoint one or more administrators of the estate. Generally, one or more family members make application for appointment to the position.
Who Benefits from the Wrongful Death Claim?
Another common question is, who actually receives the compensation from a wrongful death claim? While the executor or administrator files the claim, any damages awarded are for the benefit of the estate. This could include:
The last will and testament generally provides for the distribution of the assets of an estate, including the proceeds from a wrongful death claim. In the absence of a will, the laws of intestacy spell out the rules for distribution. See Connecticut General Statute §45-437.
Are There Time Limitations?
Yes, there are. Connecticut has a statute of limitations in place for wrongful death claims. Typically, these claims must be filed within two years of the date of death, but in no event later than five years from the date of the injury that resulted in the death. However, there are exceptions, so consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is crucial to ensure timely and appropriate action.
Losing a loved one is undeniably challenging, and when another’s negligence is the cause, seeking justice becomes imperative. If you believe you have a wrongful death claim, the professionals at Casper & de Toledo are here to guide you through the process, ensuring you receive the justice and compensation your family deserves.