Experiencing a car accident is never expected. Yet, the sad reality is that car accidents happen far too often in the State of Connecticut. We may try to practice safe driving, yet, we simply cannot control the actions of other drivers on the road. Even more tragic is when a car accident results in the death of an innocent victim. In fact, according to one source, 295 people lost their lives in car accidents in Connecticut in the year 2020 alone.
When a family receives the devastating news that their loved one has been tragically killed in a car accident, it may be as if time stops. Plans that the family may have made come to a sudden halt. A range of emotions from shock to grief and anger may begin sweeping over the surviving family members. The family may begin to wonder, “What steps do we take from here?” “How do we pursue justice for our loved one?”
If you and your family has suffered the loss of a loved one due to a car accident in Connecticut, you need the assistance of wrongful death lawyers – and you need it fast! Now is the time to call the lawyers at Gould Injury Law at 888-WIN-FAST. Our fast-working experienced personal injury lawyers will fight to hold the responsible party liable and get fair compensation for your loss. We can accomplish the work with speed and efficiency while you concentrate on healing.
Investigating the Exact Cause of the Accident
After every car accident, the police are usually the first responders to the scene. The assistance provided by the police officer is a vital first step for several reasons. Not only will the police redirect traffic for the safety of other vehicles, but they will also start investigating the cause of the collision.
The report made by the officer would include crucial information such as damages to the vehicles, pertinent road conditions, drug and alcohol test results, eyewitness testimony, and possibly even photographs. This report is a vital piece of evidence in investigating the cause of the crash, but it is by no means all that is needed.
Sometimes, the liable party might not be so obvious. In addition to the other driver, there may be other parties that share a measure of liability. Therefore, an extensive investigation must be done to ascertain the exact cause of the accident and to discover all liable parties.
Determining the types of negligence involved
In most cases, the cause of the accident would probably be recklessness on the part of the other driver. Some types of driver negligence or recklessness that could result in a fatal car accident are:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Aggressive driving
- Failing to yield
- Running redlights
Identifying potentially liable parties
If a driver recklessly causes the death of an innocent victim, he or she is likely to be liable for damages to the family of the victim and could face criminal charges as well. This would fall under a criminal case, which is different from the civil case in which the family is seeking compensation for their loss.
In some cases, even if the at-fault driver caused the accident, there may be other parties who are liable for the fatality. Some of these potentially liable parties include the following:
- The car manufacturer: If the cause of the crash is discovered to be a faulty part or mechanical failure, then the manufacturer could be found fully liable. Some examples of mechanical failure include ABS malfunction, steering problems, and sudden engine failure.
- An employer: If the at-fault driver was on-the-job when the accident occurred, his or her employer could be found liable. This would be the case if the employer encouraged or enforced unsafe driving practices such as unrealistic delivery times, or unusually long working hours.
- A vendor: Several states, including Connecticut, have established “dram shop laws.” This law states that any alcohol vendor (bar, restaurant, hotel, etc.) could be found liable for damages if it serves alcohol to a person who is visibly intoxicated or under the age of 21 and that individual causes serious injuries to another.
- A municipality: In cases where it is found that the cause of the fatal crash was due to defects in the road, such as potholes or uneven surfaces, the municipality could be held liable for damages. The county or state has an obligation to maintain the roads in a safe condition for travelers.
Although this list is not at all comprehensive, it highlights why a deep, thorough investigation would absolutely be needed after a fatal car accident. This is why the assistance of a fast-working experienced law firm, like Gould Injury Law, would be crucial. Our team of experienced lawyers will work fast to gather evidence and analyze the facts to find the cause (or causes) of the accident and hold the responsible parties liable for damages.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Although the at-fault party may be facing criminal charges for causing the death of an innocent victim, a wrongful death claim is not to be confused with a criminal case. A criminal case is brought on by the state for the purpose of ascertaining whether the at-fault party broke the law. If so, he or she may be punished with prison time or other penalties.
Rather, a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that seeks to hold the at-party liable for compensation for negligently causing the death of an innocent victim. The intent of this lawsuit is to remove the unexpected financial burden from the family of the victim and place it squarely on the shoulders of the guilty party. Wrongful death lawsuits usually follow the criminal case, but not always.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Since the victim who suffered a wrongful death cannot represent himself or herself, the question arises: Who can represent the victim in pursuing compensation from the at-fault party for damages? Unlike other states where surviving family members may file a wrongful death claim, Connecticut law (§ Sec. 52-555) specifically states that only the executor or administrator of the estate of the victim may file.
The executor or administrator may be a family member, but sometimes this is not the case. However, even if the executor who is responsible for filing the claim is not a family member, any compensation received would be for the benefit of the beneficiaries. In most cases, the beneficiaries will be the family such as the spouse and surviving children.
Keep in mind that each state has set a time limit, called a statute of limitations, for filing a wrongful death claim. In Connecticut, the statute of limitations is just 2 years (and no more than 5 years) from the death of the loved one. This means that fast action would be needed on the part of the executor and family members. Further, it means that assistance from a law firm that works at a fast pace, such as Gould Injury Law, would be needed as well.
Types of Compensation the Family May Be Entitled to Receive
Losing a family member unexpectedly due to a negligent act can be an incredibly painful experience for the surviving family members. If you and your family are going through this terrible ordeal now, our sympathetic lawyers can help ease the anxiety – and we can do it fast!
It simply does not make sense for your family to pay for someone else’s recklessness. True, the responsible person may be facing criminal charges for his or her recklessness. But even a criminal conviction wouldn’t help to ease the financial burden your family may be suffering now.
Although no amount of money would be sufficient to replace the loved one you have lost, a wrongful death lawsuit can help cover expenses you and your family may be dealing with at present. This will allow your family to move forward with focusing on healing.
With Gould Injury Law, compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit can come faster and may cover the following damages:
- Medical expenses: In some cases, the car accident victim’s injuries may not prove to be fatal immediately. In such a case, the costs for any medical care that was given to the victim from the time of the accident by paramedics on the scene and in the hospital thereafter would need to be compensated.
- Lost wages: The deceased loved one’s income most likely contributed to the family’s monthly expenses. The vacuum left from the loss of this income must be filled. Compensation would include present and future income and, quite likely, any retirement savings.
- Pain and suffering: The family may be compensated for any pain and suffering their loved one experienced before passing away. It does not matter whether the death occurred almost immediately from the crash or sometime later in the hospital. Compensation for pain and suffering would still be owed.
- Loss of services: Any household services that the family member may have provided could also be included in compensation. This is especially important if the victim did not work outside the home. Services such as cooking, cleaning, child care, and others that were performed by the family member all have value and need to be compensated.
- Loss of consortium/companionship: The loss of intimacy, affection and companionship that a spouse was enjoying before the loss of his or her mate would need to be compensated. The emotional pain felt by other family members as a result of not having their loved one present would also come under compensation for loss of companionship.
- Funeral and burial expenses: Costs for the funeral and burial of the loved one can be quite expensive. If the family paid these expenses, then naturally they should be compensated by the negligent party.
The above list is not comprehensive. The surviving family members may receive additional types of compensation such as possibly punitive damages. Further, in Connecticut, if the wrongful death was caused by a reckless driver, additional damages may be awarded to the victim’s family (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-295).
Since the circumstances surrounding each case are unique, it is wise to speak with an attorney who is familiar with handling wrongful death claims. An experienced, compassionate, fast-working wrongful death lawyer with our firm can discuss your family’s options for compensation.
The Fast-Working Wrongful Death Lawyers of Gould Injury Law Can Protect Your Rights
The loss of a loved one can be a traumatic experience. But, when that loss occurs due to someone else’s negligence, it may cause you and your family to feel like you’ve been cheated. The thought of never being able to speak with your loved one again or to enjoy his or her company can be extremely crushing. And to add insult to injury, the bills from the loss just keep accumulating. You may be feeling that you need help – fast.
You do not have to suffer alone. Remember: You and your family have rights! It’s true that a wrongful death lawsuit will not truly compensate for the loss of a beloved family member. Indeed, he or she simply cannot be replaced. What a wrongful death lawsuit can do is provide you and your family with a measure of justice and assist in securing your financial future.
Many people make the mistake of speaking with insurance companies before speaking with a lawyer. Do not make this common mistake! Insurance companies may resist paying you the maximum amount the family is entitled to receive according to the law.
What’s more, as was mentioned, a third party may also share a measure of liability. Further, it is likely that the family may be entitled to receive compensation for losses beyond what an insurance company may cover after an accident. The wrongful death lawyers at Gould Injury Law are here to help you get the compensation you deserve as fast as we can.
Contact us at the law firm of Gould Injury Law today at 888-WIN-FAST to schedule a free consultation.