The death of a loved one can be one of the most unbearable experiences in life, especially when someone could have prevented it if not for their negligent, careless or intentionally hurtful behavior. Sometimes, if the victim’s family is are ever able to forge ahead into a more promising emotional life, it can take many years.
It may seem strange or unfair that there are strict laws for who can file wrongful death lawsuits and when it is too late. But such rules have important roles in the legal system. Families who have lost a loved one might be wise to pay close attention to who can file a wrongful death suit and when.
Who will act on behalf of the deceased?
After a fatal injury, the deceased is, of course, unable to file a personal injury suit. But Connecticut deals with wrongful death lawsuits much like a personal injury case.
So, someone can file on their behalf, namely the executor or administrator of their estate (their assets and possessions). If the person had no will or did not appoint someone as their personal representative in case of their death, a court appoints someone. They are typically the deceased’s parent, spouse, child or attorney.
In any case, the message is the same. There is no immunity from a personal injury lawsuit simply because the injured person died from their injuries. The fault, responsibility or liability does not die with the victim. It lives on in whoever caused their death.
How long are the survivors able to think about it?
A wrongful death case involves a civil action, not a criminal one. The police may make an arrest and a criminal court may try, convict and imprison the person, but the family can still have the deceased’s personal representative sue for wrongful death in civil court.
In Connecticut, the time to file expires only two years after the victim’s death. It is not much time to think, especially given that there may need to be some research and investigation to help the family decide. It is best to beat the deadline by as much time as possible in case there are complications.
Certain rare situations qualify for exceptions that stretch the time limit out a few more years, but nobody should count on that. It is best to contact a qualified attorney experienced in wrongful death cases as soon as you think it may be an option you will want to choose.