This is the first article in a series discussing common issues arising in Hartford, Connecticut wrongful death cases. Families who have suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of the negligence or wrongdoing of one or more third parties may be overwhelmed by the legal process that follows. Depending upon the circumstances surrounding the incident, the case may involve multiple defendants, insurance companies and attorneys attempting to settle the family’s claims. The case may also involve liability disputes or other complex legal theories. The goal of this article is to provide an overview of certain issues that commonly arise in wrongful death cases. Another goal is to provide information that will assist families in choosing an attorney to assist them through their wrongful death case. If you need assistance, contact our office today to speak to a lawyer.
The following key topics will be discussed in this series:
- Identifying the potential defendants in a wrongful death case
- How comparative fault can apply to wrongful death cases
- The calculation of damages in such matters
- The possibility of a bifurcated trial
- Taking a case to trial
- Selecting an attorney for such matters
Surviving family members should understand these issues for a variety of reasons. First, it is not uncommon for wrongful death cases to involve multiple defendants. Failing to identify and name each responsible party can result in the family members not receiving the full amount of compensation to which they are entitled. Second, defense attorneys often claim that the deceased person was partially at fault for the accident. This argument commonly arises in cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, etc. It is important to understand how Connecticut’s comparative fault laws may impact one’s wrongful death case. Third, the calculation of damages can involve money for lost wages, pain and suffering by the deceased, the loss of consortium, and possible punitive damages. Experts are often required to help determine a party’s potential damages. Fifth, defense attorneys will sometimes attempt to split, or “bifurcate,” the trial into two stages, one related to liability and the other to damages. This is very often not in the plaintiff’s best interest. Next, if a case cannot be settled outside of court, the parties should understand what to expect at trial. Finally, in light of the issues referenced in this paragraph, it is important to engage counsel who can best represent your family’s interests in the wrongful death matter. Making the right selection of counsel can potentially make a difference in the outcome of your case.
If you have lost a loved one and believe you have a claim for wrongful death, it is imperative to contact a law firm as soon as possible after the accident occurs. Doing so will allow your attorney to begin investigating and preserve evidence that may be important to your case. Our firm has over 50 years of experience with personal injury cases, including wrongful death matters, in Hartford, Connecticut. Call us today to speak with a lawyer. We also service the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.