In Connecticut, it is possible to file a wrongful death case in pursuit of financial compensation for the preventable loss of a loved one’s life. The burden of proof, however, rests with the filing party. This means that if your family files a wrongful death claim, it is up to you or your Waterbury wrongful death attorney to prove your case.
What Is the Definition of Wrongful Death in Connecticut?
According to Connecticut General Assembly, Chapter 925, Section 52-555, a legal cause of action can be maintained for an injury that results in death if someone else’s negligence, malpractice or intentional act caused the death. A wrongful death claim can be brought in Connecticut after many different types of fatal incidents, including car crashes, medical malpractice, acts of violence and workplace disasters.
Four Key Elements of a Wrongful Death Case
A wrongful death case is submitted through the civil justice system. This is separate from a criminal case for homicide or vehicular manslaughter. While a criminal case serves to punish a defendant, a civil case is meant to make victims whole again. To have grounds to file a wrongful death claim in Connecticut, there generally must be proof of four elements:
- Duty. An obligation or expectation to exercise reasonable care.
- Breach of duty. An act or omission that violates the duty of care.
- Causation. A causal link between the breach of duty and the fatal injury or illness.
- Damages. Compensable losses suffered by the filing party in connection to the death.
These are the elements that make up the legal doctrine of negligence. If you have grounds to base your case on something other than negligence, such as strict liability or negligence per se, you may not need to prove all four of these elements. An attorney can help you determine the grounds for your wrongful death claim in Connecticut.
What Is the Burden of Proof in a Wrongful Death Claim?
The burden of proof refers to the amount of evidence that is necessary to prove a claim that is being made. This burden is lower for a civil lawsuit compared to a criminal case. In a wrongful death claim, it is a preponderance of the evidence, or “more likely than not.” In a criminal case, it is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” To meet the burden of proof in a civil action, you or your lawyer must provide enough clear and convincing evidence to show that the defendant is responsible for your loved one’s death with at least a 51 percent likelihood.
Evidence Used in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Meaning the burden of proof in a wrongful death case requires evidence. The strength of your evidence can determine whether or not your case succeeds. This is why it is important to turn to an attorney for help preserving and collecting evidence to support your wrongful death claim in Connecticut. Evidence may include:
- Medical records
- Death certificate
- Police report
- Autopsy report
- Financial records
- Eyewitness statements
- Video surveillance footage
- Expert testimony
An attorney can take immediate action to protect key evidence from being destroyed, such as filing a Preservation Order. Then, your lawyer can compile and present evidence in the most compelling way possible to optimize your odds of a jury ruling in your favor. With enough clear and convincing evidence, you will meet the burden of proof and your family will be eligible for financial compensation for a loved one’s death.
How Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Help You?
If you recently lost a loved one in a tragic accident in Connecticut, contact The Law Offices of James A. Welcome to schedule a free case consultation with one of our wrongful death lawyers. We can provide a comprehensive investigation of your loved one’s death and search for evidence to prove that a defendant is at fault. Then, we can present this evidence in the most persuasive way possible. We have years of storytelling experience and know how to win wrongful death cases on behalf of our clients. Call (203) 753-7300 today to request a free case evaluation.