When you lose a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the person who caused the accident or injuries to the decedent. But how do you prove wrongful death in Connecticut?
The plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) holds the burden of proof. This sensitive topic becomes more challenging because the injured person may be grappling with grief during the time that evidence needs to be gathered for a wrongful death case.
What Is Required to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Connecticut?
What are the minimum requirements to qualify a case for a wrongful death claim? There are four minimum qualifications for a wrongful death claim in Connecticut, including:
- An accident or crime resulted in the death of the decedent
- Another person’s negligence fully or partly caused the incident
- The decedent’s death caused a loss to you or related dependents of the decedent
- The loss of the decedent led to financial damages for you and your family
While most states allow a spouse, adult child, or another heir to file the wrongful death claim, Connecticut requires that the representative of the decedent’s estate file the claim in court. This could be the executor of a will, a trustee responsible for administering the estate, or a representative appointed by the probate court. The representative will file the claim on behalf of the beneficiaries of the estate.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
If your loved one lost their life due to another’s negligence, the decedent’s estate representative can file a claim, regardless of the type of accident or incident that led to your family member’s death. Common wrongful death cases include:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Truck accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Construction accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
- Criminal activity
The injured party will have to prove that the defendant (the person whose negligence caused the incident) was negligent or intentional in their actions that led to your loved one’s death. For example, if the defendant was driving drunk and ran a stop sign, colliding with your loved one at a high speed, the court will likely find the defendant liable.
However, if your loved one died in a construction accident falling from a scaffold, the employer may not be found liable if they upheld the necessary safety standards for scaffold height, railings, and restraints. You have the burden to prove wrongful death against the party whose negligence you believe led to your loved one’s death.
Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Connecticut
The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file your suit to be heard in court. In Connecticut, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the death of your loved one. However, that date cannot be more than five years after the incident that was at-cause of the death.
Another exception to the statute of limitations is if your loved one died while the negligent party was actively committing a crime. If the defendant was either convicted of the crime or found not guilty by means of mental deficiency or disease, you may bring a wrongful death claim against them at any time. The courts limit wrongful death claims due to crime to include:
- First-degree manslaughter
- First-degree manslaughter with a firearm
- Felony murder
- Arson murder
- Murder with special circumstances
Contact an Experienced Attorney for Your Wrongful Death Case in Connecticut
The person filing the lawsuit must prove wrongful death, and this is not always simple. For help, contact the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, an experienced team of personal injury and wrongful death attorneys in Connecticut. Call 205-753-7300 to schedule a free consultation at one of our offices.