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When a loved one dies, his or her family may experience significant financial stress in addition to their profound sense of grief and loss. If the fatality occurred in an auto accident in which another driver was at fault, you may be able to seek legal damages.

Learn the process for filing a Connecticut wrongful death claim.

Individuals who can file a claim

If your deceased family member had a will, the named administrator or executor of his or her estate must file the wrongful death claim. In the absence of an estate plan, the court can appoint an individual to serve the executor role. This person could be the deceased person’s spouse, parent or adult child.

Types of available damages

The judge or jury in a wrongful death case determines a fair amount of financial damages based on:

  • Final burial and funeral expenses for the deceased individual
  • Nursing, medical and hospital costs associated with the fatal injury
  • Lost current and future earning capacity of the deceased individual
  • Loss of enjoyment of life on behalf of the surviving loved ones
  • Pain and suffering the person experienced as a result of the fatal injury

State law allows for double or even triple damages when the responsible driver drove recklessly or deliberately ignored traffic laws in the fatal accident. Evidence such as police reports, witness accounts, photos and videos can help support your case for punitive damages in addition to proving that the other driver acted negligently, without regard for his or her duty of care as a motorist.

When to file a claim

Connecticut maintains a two-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the responsible party is also subject to criminal prosecution, such as in an accident involving drugs or alcohol, the civil lawsuit can take place at the same time. When your family member died several years after the auto accident that caused the fatal injuries, the statute of limitations extends to five years from the accident date.