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CONNECTICUT PERSONAL INJURY LAW FIRM

Who Has the Right to Sue for Wrongful Death?

Connecticut operates a little differently than other states when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits.

While many states allow surviving family members and life partners to file a suit, Connecticut law limits this privilege to the estate’s executor or a personal representative. Despite this restriction, Connecticut does allow you to name any adult as an executor.

As long as this person is named in the will as the executor, then he or she is authorized to sue for wrongful death. Often, the individual named as an executor will have a familial tie to the deceased, but that is not a requirement.

Why File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If a loved one dies because of another’s recklessness or negligent actions, family members may be able to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. There are numerous situations that can lead to a wrongful death suit, including, but not limited to:

  • Car, motorcycle, and truck accidents
  • Defective products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Workplace accidents
  • Drug reactions

Like any personal injury claim, the defendant in a wrongful death suit may be ordered to financially compensate the estate of the deceased for medical and funeral costs as well as mental suffering as a result of a loss of companionship and love. Future lost wages are also a relevant component to consider.

Loss-to-Estate System

Some states have implemented “Lord Campbell’s Act,” a law inspired by the British Parliament. It establishes a hierarchy of litigious rights in a wrongful death suit, starting with the widow or widower, then progressing to the children, parents, distant family members, life partners, and so on. Connecticut is not included in the list of states that follow this act, however.

Instead, Connecticut follows the loss-to-estate system, where only the estate can bring suit. The purpose is to compensate the estate as a whole for the loss incurred by the unjust death. In this case, the suit would be filed by a representative of the estate under their name. If successful, the financial recovery would be distributed among the estate’s beneficiaries.

Wrongful Death Suits are Relatively New

Causing the death of another person due to a negligent act used to be a criminal offense only, and the perpetrator’s consequences were limited to jail or similar. The lack of financial accountability to the victim’s family had an unintended consequence. Namely, the perpetrator could avoid the bulk of financial responsibility if the victim was killed instead of injured.

In light of this development and perhaps as a way for families to get closure and a sense of justice for their loss, every state in the U.S. has overturned the previous rule. This development allows the person responsible for the wrongful death to be sued in civil court as well as criminal.

Don’t Wait to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Keep in mind that each state has a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, meaning that you might not be able to get the court to hear your case if you wait too long. In Connecticut, the statute of limitations is two years.

The team at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers understands the gravity of a wrongful death claim. We’ll work with you to determine the potential for financial recovery and represent you with compassion and integrity. Contact us at 800-PERKINS for a free consultation.