Aeton’s personal injury attorneys have handled over 100 wrongful death cases, including deaths caused by car and motorcycle accidents, industrial accidents, defective products, and fires and explosions. These cases are complex, and nearly always require the effective use of experts from any number of possible disciplines. If your family is suffering the loss of a loved one as a result of an accident then we may be able to help you recover damages under Connecticut’s wrongful death statute by putting our experience, resources, and experts to work immediately.
When our personal injury attorneys accept your wrongful death case then nothing becomes more important to us than ensuring that we allow you to grieve your loved one and care for your family. That is the important work. Allowing an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your wrongful death claim will help to alleviate some of that burden.
Our team will immediately contact the appropriate insurance companies, investigate the accident with our own independent investigators, and retain the top experts. Bottom line, we don’t wait. We have the resources to focus on your wrongful death claim so you can focus on moving forward.
An added layer of stress you may encounter when a loved one is involved in a fatal accident is trying to negotiate the often-complex probate and estate issues that arise. Our experience representing families in death cases means that we are well-versed in dealing with the probate court. While some other firms require you to hire separate counsel for probate court, Aeton Law provides in-house probate court and estate legal services. Our experienced probate court attorneys and staff will help you open and administer the estate, deal with creditors, talk with extended family. Simply put, we provide you comprehensive legal services for every aspect of your family’s wrongful death claim.
Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your wrongful death claim. We are available 24 hours a day and provide consultations by phone, by video, or a safe in-home or in-office meeting.
Learn more about Wrongful Death cases in Connecticut below.
Experienced Wrongful Death Attorneys
Connecticut has a special law that must be followed in both Probate Court and Superior Court in order to bring a claim for wrongful death in Connecticut. It’s called the Wrongful Death statute.
Sec. 52-555. Actions for injuries resulting in death. (a) In any action surviving to or brought by an executor or administrator for injuries resulting in death, whether instantaneous or otherwise, such executor or administrator may recover from the party legally at fault for such injuries just damages together with the cost of reasonably necessary medical, hospital and nursing services, and including funeral expenses, provided no action shall be brought to recover such damages and disbursements but within two years from the date of death, and except that no such action may be brought more than five years from the date of the act or omission complained of.
Before this statute became effective, you couldn’t bring a wrongful death claim in Connecticut. In other words, a person could not recover “damages” for the loss of a loved one, including spouse and children.
The statute now allows the victim’s estate to bring a lawsuit on his or her behalf. First, to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, the Connecticut Probate Court where your loved one lived at the time of death must appoint an executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased. The potential wrongful death claim becomes an “asset” of the victim’s estate.
For example, if your loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident in New Haven and was a resident of Middletown, then the estate would go to the Middletown Probate Court, and a lawsuit could be filed in either Middletown, Meriden, or New Haven superior court.
Wrongful Death Claims and Connecticut Probate Court
The Connecticut probate court will appoint either someone previously selected by the decedent (the victim of the accident) or another person. If the “decedent” (the victim of the accident) has a “Last Will”, then the Will directs the Probate Court to appoint. That person is known as an executor or executrix. The executor or executrix will then be responsible for “administrating” the estate. More often than not, that person will hire an attorney. Unlike some other firms, when we accept a wrongful death claim in Connecticut, we are also able to help our clients with estate administration on behalf of the administrator, executor, or executrix.
If the victim of a wrongful death does not have a Will, then the Probate Court will appoint an “administrator.”. This person can be a family member, lawyer, or another trusted person. The wrongful death attorneys at Aeton Law will help you file the proper paperwork to start the process in Probate Court. We may even be able to help you with the estate without any additional charge depending on the size and complexity of the estate.
If your loved one was a resident of a different state at the time of the accident, then we will coordinate the estate from Connecticut with an attorney in the decedent’s home state.
Bringing a Wrongful Death Case in Superior Court
The probate court does not actually hear the merits of wrongful death claims, however. Instead, your wrongful death claim would be brought by a lawsuit filed in one of Connecticut’s superior courts.
Our wrongful death attorneys will first attempt to resolve the claim with the responsible person’s insurance company. If the insurance company is unreasonable, or the matter does not settle, then a lawsuit may become necessary. While we attempt to resolve matters before undergoing the sometimes expensive and lengthy process of filing a lawsuit in Connecticut superior court, we won’t allow insurance companies to undervalue your claim or attempt to settle for pennies on the dollar. When it comes time to fight, then we fight. And, we do not wait.
If the matter does settle, then the Connecticut probate court will approve the settlement and the estate can be closed.
Time Limitations in Connecticut Wrongful Death Claims
The Connecticut Wrongful Death statute has two different time limits. The first is a “statute of limitations” which starts to “run” at the moment of death. For example, if your loved one is killed in an accident in New Haven on January 1, 2018, then the estate must commence a lawsuit in Connecticut superior court by January 1, 2020.
The second time limitation is referred to as a five year “statute of repose.” Essentially the Connecticut Wrongful Death Statute requires that a lawsuit for wrongful death may not be brought more than five years after the accident that led to the death.
For example, if your loved one is involved in an accident in Hartford, Connecticut on January 1, 2021, but dies more than five years after the accident from injuries caused by the accident, then the estate may not bring a claim for wrongful death. In other words, if your loved one dies four years after the accident that leads to the death, then the estate would have only one year to bring the claim, not two.
Your claim may be subject to even shorter time limitations, too. These additional limitations apply depending on the nature of the accident, the party responsible, or whether the victim was at work at the time of the accident.
Learn more about statutes of limitation that apply to Connecticut serious injury claims here.
If you have questions about the statute of limitations, the statute of repose, or any other time limitations, then you should consider calling an attorney with experience handling wrongful death claims in Connecticut immediately.
Connecticut Wrongful Death Attorneys
The devastation that comes with losing a loved one in an accident can make it very difficult to navigate all that comes considering a wrongful death claim. If you have questions, call the personal injury attorneys at Aeton Law or text the word Injury to 474747.