Wrongful death law firm Bartlett Legal Group will fight to get fair and just compensation for families who have lost a loved one due to the negligent, willful, or wrongful act, omission or fault of another.
Below are valuable questions about wrongful death claims that we have repeatedly been asked over the years by clients.
1) WHAT IS A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?
Wrongful death or accidental death lawsuits are meant to compensate those family members left behind after a fatal accident. Besides hurting the person who died, the family members of that person are also hurt because they relied on the decedent for financial and emotional support. The death may be the result of a murder, reckless driving, a negligent or careless act, malpractice, or many other causes. We can help you determine if you have a viable claim.
2) WHO CAN FILE A CLAIM?
Parents, surviving spouses, and dependent children may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim depending on the circumstances. Normally the plaintiff is the estate of the decedent. Our family law and probate attorney will assist attorney Bartlett and the surviving family members in setting up the necessary probate estate that would allow the family to pursue a claim.
3) WHAT DAMAGES ARE RECOVERABLE IN A SUIT?
In a personal injury action, which includes a wrongful death action, there are two general types of damages, economic and non-economic. Economic damages are monies awarded as compensation for monetary losses and expenses that have been incurred as a result of the defendant’s negligence. They are awarded for such things as cost of reasonable and necessary medical care, funeral expenses and lost earnings. Non-economic damages are monies awarded as compensation for non-monetary losses and injuries that the plaintiff’s decedent has suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence. They are awarded for such things as physical pain and suffering and the destruction of the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures.
4) CAN YOU RECOVER A LOSS OF EARNING CAPACITY DUE TO THE DEATH?
The destruction of earning capacity, that is, the capacity to carry on gainful employment or other means of earning compensation during the decedent’s probable lifetime, may be compensated. An estate must deduct probable income taxes and necessary personal living expenses and adjust for inflation. This value is then reduced to its present value. Our wrongful death attorney will work with an expert in economics to derive the present value of the decedent’s potential earning capacity to arrive at a fair figure for the loss of the decedent’s earning capacity as a result of the wrongful death.
5) CAN WE SUE FOR DESTRUCTION OF CAPACITY TO ENJOY LIFE’S ACTIVITIES?
Damages are allowed for the destruction of the decedent’s capacity to enjoy life’s activities such as family, work, sports, recreation and other aspects of life.
6) CAN WE BE COMPENSATED FOR THE DEATH ITSELF?
The rule is that insofar as money can do it, the plaintiff may be awarded fair, just and reasonable compensation for the loss of life. As in the other categories of damages, there is no precise mathematical formula. Working with our experienced wrongful death lawyer will allow the estate to clearly articulate the value of the decedent’s life so as to maximize the compensation awarded.
7) IS PAIN AND SUFFERING COMPENSABLE?
Pain and suffering prior to the decedent’s death may be claimed if the loved one did not die instantaneously.
8) WHO CAN PURSUE A RELATING LOSS OF CONSORTIUM CLAIM?
The surviving spouse, and due to a recent Supreme Court ruling, the children of a person who has died as a result of another person’s negligent, reckless or intentional act can recover for the loss of their ability to enjoy the companionship of their spouse throughout their lifetime. Such a claim is derivative of the claim for wrongful death, but accrues in favor of the surviving spouse, rather than of the estate. Compensable damages for loss of consortium include loss of the spouse’s affections, companionship and sexual relations. Our lawyer assists loved ones in articulating and quantifying the value of a claim for loss of consortium.
9) CAN A BYSTANDER PURSUE A CLAIM FOR EMOTIONAL DISTRESS?
Under certain circumstances, family members who witness the death of a family member are entitled to pursue a claim for bystander emotional distress for the shock and emotional and psychological trauma they have endured. If a person is a close family member (child, parent, spouse or sibling) and they either witnessed the death of a loved one, or arrived on the scene of the accident and witnessed the deceased person in the same or similar condition as when they had passed away, the family member may be entitled to compensation. Compensable damages for bystander emotional distress include the emotional and psychological injuries occasioned by the actual event of witnessing the loved one’s death, above and beyond the emotional injuries that would be expected from the loss of a loved one. As such, pursuit of a claim of bystander emotional distress requires expert testimony and a skilled attorney to differentiate these claims. You may also be entitled to double or treble damages depending on the circumstances. It is very important to seek experienced counsel as soon as possible.
10) WHAT ARE SOME TYPES OF WRONGFUL DEATH CASES?
These are the most serious personal injury cases and can arise out of a many types of accidents. Accordingly, handling this type of case requires a high level of knowledge and skill in personal injury law.
Our firm has successfully handled hundreds of cases involving:
- Automobile accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Fire liability
- Premises liability
- Nursing home negligence
- Drunk driving
- Animal bites
11) HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A CLAIM (WHAT IS THE WRONGFUL DEATH STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS)?
It depends on the state. As an example, pursuant to Connecticut General Statute § 52-555, a wrongful death claim must be brought within two years of the date of death, except that no such action may be brought more than five years from the date of the act or omission which ultimately resulted in the person’s death. (https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_925.htm#sec_52-555). In addition to this general statute of limitations of two years, depending on the particular facts and circumstances that led to the death, certain parties may need to be put on notice of a potential claim much earlier. Accordingly, should you wish to pursue a claim stemming from a loved one’s death, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
12) WHY CHOOSE OUR LAW FIRM?
Personal injury lawyer Frank Bartlett Jr. is one of the top ranked wrongful death attorneys and the lead wrongful death lawyer at our firm. Along with Attorney William Burns, the firm’s medical expert Bonnie Caines, and an experienced legal staff, we will strive to mount the strongest case possible for your claim. Your team will conduct an in-depth investigation of your case, gather evidence, and arrange the required experts in an effort to obtain just and reasonable compensation for all injuries and losses, past and future, that were caused by the defendant’s legally proven negligence, and to allow you to focus on personal matters and help your family get back to a normal life. While money can never replace a loved one, it may help mitigate the financial hardship such a tragedy has caused. Again, the law says that insofar as money can do it, a plaintiff is to receive fair, just and reasonable compensation for all injuries and losses, past and future which are caused by the defendant’s legally proven negligence.
At Bartlett Legal Group we know that no amount of compensation can change the outcome of an accident or replace your loss. Our firm will provide you with dedicated, compassionate counsel, allowing you to focus on other matters during a difficult time. While we cannot turn back the clock on an accident, we can help you seek justice by obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled.
We have the critical experience to fight for your rights during negotiations and in court. We understand that you have suffered the ultimate loss, and offer compassionate counsel and aggressive representation with the goal of securing justice.
If you have lost a loved one due to a wrongful death, please contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.
NO FEE UNLESS WE WIN
These cases are handled on a contingency basis by our wrongful death lawyers, which means it costs you nothing unless we are successful at getting you compensation for your loss.
Clients often are unsure if they have a viable case. You have nothing to lose by scheduling a free consultation. It is critically important to not delay contacting an experienced attorney.
Please call now at 203-463-4939.
Our mission at Bartlett Legal Group is to be the best wrongful death law firm and to have the highest level of client satisfaction.