As a surviving family member, you must feel that no one else but yourself should be on top of sorting out your deceased loved one’s affairs by default. However, as much as it pains you not to be in charge, you may only receive compensation but not file a lawsuit. Connecticut law prohibits any family member of the deceased from bringing about a wrongful death claim against a negligent party.
Instead, this responsibility falls on the decedent’s trusted executor or personal representative named on the deceased’s will. The state court does not look for any formal requirement for this role, only that the individual must be competent to represent the decedent and perform expected tasks. Any dispute, which is often unlikely, regarding the appointed executor’s competence results in a hearing to determine whether irrefutable evidence supports a possible termination.
Once there is a clear executor, they can get to work recovering damages from the decedent’s standpoint:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost earning capacity
- Conscious pain and suffering before death
- Lost ability to continue carrying out and enjoying activities
- Reasonably necessary medical expenses related to the accident’s illness or injury
There is no concrete formula to quantify these damages. Instead, a jury considers specific factors for a decision, such as a decedent’s life expectancy, physical condition, lifestyle choices, sources of income, traffic violation and other circumstances unique to the case.
If you are the decedent’s spouse, you may file a separate claim known as “loss of consortium.” This claim refers to the intangible loss of losing your spouse and a marital relationship. You may recover compensation for the noneconomic loss of companionship, comfort, sexual relations and other support you would have received from your spouse if not for the accident.
Further, it is essential to note that filing a wrongful death claim must be within two years of the decedent’s passing and not more than five years since the incident.
Aftermath of a loved one’s death
A loved one’s death is unquantifiable. But the recovery of damages can jump-start healing. A legal team can help you with courses of action, like establishing liability and determining the extent of compensation your family deserves to close this tragic chapter.