Losing a loved one suddenly due to negligence and carelessness is an overwhelming and devastating loss. When such an avoidable tragedy strikes a family, there is a need for accountability and closure.

We understand what you are going through, and we are here to help; we believe our decades of experience as skilled and successful personal injury attorneys can help you find the peace of mind you need during this difficult time. A Watertown wrongful death lawyer from our firm would be honored to meet with you for a confidential in-person or remote consultation and provide honest answers about your family’s legal options.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims

Legal action cannot turn back the clock and undo the tragedy that occurred. We wish it could. But a wrongful death claim can discover answers needed to bring closure and hold that negligent person or people accountable, thereby providing a measure of justice and comfort for such a devastating loss.

Common scenarios where negligence or recklessness can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit include:

In addition to the civil lawsuit seeking accountability for wrongful death, the state of Connecticut may also bring criminal charges against the person responsible for an untimely and preventable death. These criminal charges are controlled by the state attorney’s office, and we frequently communicate with that office to be sure the family’s views are known.

Damages in a Wrongful Death Suit

While no amount of money can adequately compensate a family for the loss of their loved one, money is the civil remedy, while incarceration or other fines and penalties are the criminal remedy under the jurisdiction of the state attorney’s office and the criminal courts. In a civil lawsuit, compensation can be recovered for financial costs such as funeral expenses, medical bills, and the lost wages of your loved one.

Other losses for which financial recovery is allowed include compensation for non-economic harm, such as your loved one’s lost ability to enjoy life and conscious pain and suffering before death. A surviving spouse can also claim compensation for loss of “consortium,” which can include no longer being able to enjoy a loved one’s care and companionship. These non-economic components of financial compensation are typically larger than the economic losses due to the importance society places on the gift of life. Connecticut does not cap these non-economic losses and leaves these to be negotiated by way of settlement or to be decided by a jury if a settlement cannot be achieved.

Our compassionate Watertown attorneys will hold a negligent person responsible for a loved one’s wrongful death, bringing a family closure and helping to protect other families from experiencing similar losses.

Who Can Take Legal Action Over a Wrongful Death?

Connecticut General Statutes § 52-555 requires that the claim be filed by the executor or executrix if there is a will or by an administrator or administratrix if there is no will. In either situation, an estate must be opened in the Probate Court, and the executor/executrix or administrator/administratrix appointed by the Probate judge for the venue where your loved one resided at the time of death. This person is generally referred to as the fiduciary of your deceased loved one’s estate and is most typically a close family member.

Filing Deadlines for Wrongful Death Litigation

Wrongful death claims are subject to a statute of limitations that restricts how much time a fiduciary has to file suit. This time limit ensures that cases proceed within a reasonable amount of time and that evidence does not go missing or get destroyed before a claim can proceed.

For most wrongful death suits, the filing deadline is two years from the lost family member’s date of passing—and no more than five years from the date of the negligent conduct described in the lawsuit. There are special circumstances that can significantly shorten or lengthen this period of time, so it is critical you contact an experienced lawyer immediately after such a tragedy.

How Comparative Fault Could Affect Available Compensation

A family’s ability to recover damages through legal action may be limited if the court holds their lost loved one partially responsible for their own death. Should the court assign the lost loved one a percentage of comparative fault that is 50 percent or less, the final award would be reduced by that percentage. According to Connecticut General Statutes § 52-572h, if the lost loved one was greater than 50 percent responsible for the accident that resulted in their death, any recovery would be barred.

A knowledgeable Watertown attorney can explain in greater detail who can file a wrongful death claim, when they must file it, and how much they might receive in compensation.

A Watertown Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You Find Closure

At D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC, we understand the emotional and legal challenges faced by families who have lost a loved one in a fatal accident or by medical error. We are passionate advocates for families, both in negotiations with insurance companies and, when necessary, in the courtroom. We understand your need to hold the responsible person accountable, to find closure, and to heal. Contact us today to schedule a confidential, in-person, or remote consultation with one of our Watertown wrongful death lawyers.