No death feels right to loved ones left behind, but wrongful death laws in Connecticut allow surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim for compensation when the death was preventable and occurred due to another person’s or business’s negligent actions. However, like all states, Connecticut limits those who may recover damages in a wrongful death claim to close family members or the victim’s estate. This prevents distant family members and others from capitalizing on the death.
If your loved one died due to someone else’s careless, reckless, or wrongful actions, it helps to know who can recover compensation in your family member’s wrongful death claim for damages, including the lost income and benefits the family member would have provided for the remainder of their working years, their retirement contributions, medical bills, and funeral costs.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Connecticut?
While many states allow a close family member to directly file a wrongful death claim, Connecticut only allows claims filed by the executor of the decedent’s estate named in their will. If the deceased family member didn’t leave a will or estate plan, a personal representative or administrator named by the court may file a claim. This is typically a close family member of the deceased individual.
Who Recovers the Damages in a Connecticut Wrongful Death Claim?
In Connecticut, the most common and court-preferred way for family members to recover wrongful death damages is directly to the victim’s estate. When a successful claim for damages is settled by an insurance claim against the at-fault party, or through a court award if the case goes to court within the state’s two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death, the amount awarded goes directly to the victim’s estate.
After the compensation goes to the victim’s estate, their estate plan or will determines which family member receives the compensation along with other assets in the will by directing it to the beneficiary named by the decedent in their estate plan.
What If The Loved One in a Wrongful Death Claim in Connecticut Left No Will?
If the deceased family member left no will or estate plan, or if the terms of the will don’t specify to which family member unanticipated assets would be distributed, the state’s intestacy laws apply. Typically the law for those without a will specifies that their estate passes to their surviving spouse. If they leave no living spouse, then it passes to their children. For those with no children, the decedent’s parents may recover the estate, including the wrongful death compensation. In some cases, siblings may recover the compensation for damages if the decedent leaves no closer family member.
Loss of Consortium in Wrongful Death Claims
In addition to the standard wrongful death claims in Connecticut filed by an executor or representative of the victim’s estate, the spouse or civil partner of a decedent in Connecticut may directly file a separate portion of the claim for loss of consortium. Loss of consortium damages provides a spouse compensation for the following:
Loss of companionship
Loss of affection
Loss of moral support
Loss of a sexual relationship
In Connecticut, these damages apply only to spouses or legal domestic partners and are filed and considered separately from the damages awarded to the victim’s estate, but as a separate category of the same wrongful death action.