Losing a loved one is never easy, but some of the effects might not be felt for weeks, months, or even years. In particular, financial impacts can be pretty severe, even if they aren't immediately apparent. For example, lost wages can be an immense figure, but that figure won't necessarily grab your attention until the bills really start to pour in. Funeral costs can also be a lot more prohibitive than you might imagine.
Thankfully, there is a way to help mitigate some of those financial burdens with civil litigation. A wrongful death lawsuit could help you get a large sum of money, which can be used to offset those problems. However, you do need to be careful about filing such a lawsuit, since the particulars can vary dramatically from state to state. Here are some of the key rules that you need to consider when you are specifically filing in Connecticut:
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Like many states, Connecticut requires that wrongful death lawsuits be filed by the personal representative or executor of the estate. Even if you are a child or spouse of the deceased, you cannot directly file if you are not in charge of executing the estate.
That being said, you can usually request that the executor file such a lawsuit and you may aid in building the case. If the executor is unwilling to file such a lawsuit, then you can potentially pursue legal action and have a new executor appointed. If the executor is not operating in the best interests of the estate, then the courts may agree with you and have a newer, more agreeable executor appointed.
When can you file a wrongful death lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for wrongful deaths is fairly simple, since it tends to follow the same rules as personal injuries in general. The statute of limitations for personal injuries (and wrongful deaths) in Connecticut is 2 years.
That being said, there are some circumstances where the statute of limitations may be extended. For example, if you didn't discover that the death was due to negligence or wrongdoing until after the statute of limitations had expired, then you may get an extension. It's important to also know that Connecticut places a hard cap of 3 years on such extensions, so even if you do discover that the death was a result of negligence, you only get an additional year to file (in addition to the original 2 years).