According to its recently-released report, the U.S. Coast Guard found that national boating deaths fell to the third lowest number on record. The fatal boating accident report is still sobering, however, because there were 626 boating fatalities last year -- a 2.6 percent increase from the 610 deaths in 2014.
A fatal car crash has incalculable emotional losses for a victim's family members and friends. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report in December that also places a financial price to this type of tragedy. In 2013, fatal auto accidents killed 30,000 people and cost $44 billion in medical and work losses in the United States. Car accidents are among the top 10 causes of death for people under 55-years-old, according to the CDC.
A wrongful death action in Connecticut sometimes involves complex legal, scientific and constitutional issues beyond the events surrounding a fatal workplace accident or car accident. A recent medical malpractice lawsuit posed significant and novel questions, normally related to debates on abortion, on whether a fetus may be considered a person for legal purposes. Settlement of this case, however, may leave many controversial questions unresolved.
Seeking compensation for the death of a family member is only a partial remedy that can lessen any financial loss. The wrongful death legal process is often lengthy and complex and requires expertise to navigate.
Families who suffer the loss of a loved one because of another person's negligence or reckless behavior may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Connecticut. Serving in a dangerous occupation, such as a first-responder, does not foreclose these lawsuits.
In a wrongful death case involving complex constitutional and medical issues, a Connecticut Superior Court judge ruled that a Stamford physician may be sued for allegedly causing the death of a 2-hour-old baby while removing an intrauterine device from the mother. The legal issue was whether the 22-week-old baby -- who was born alive -- may be considered a plaintiff in this lawsuit.
Family members can suffer the loss of a loved one in any number of circumstances including a fatal workplace accident. A particularly catastrophic example occurred on Feb. 7, 2010 with the Middletown natural gas explosion at the Kleen Energy power plant. The blast occurring during construction and led to earthquake-like tremors that were felt 10 miles away. Six men were killed.
Incalculable acts of negligence can lead to a fatality and a wrongful death action in Connecticut. One example recently occurred where a jury in Hartford awarded $3 million to a Torrington man's estate and his widow for medical malpractice because insufficient attention was paid to his test results.
The circumstances that give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit can vary widely. Negligence may take lives in surgery, in a drunk driving accident, at an unsafe workplace, in a boating accident, during roadside construction or even on a playground. Unsafe equipment, defective drugs or a driver texting instead of watching the road are among the many causes of death that might lead to legal action.
In Connecticut, surviving family members of a decedent killed by another person's negligent or reckless conduct can seek just damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Compensation is awarded to the decedent's estate for distribution to family members. These damages include reasonable and necessary medical and funeral expenses, compensation for ending the decedent's capacity to enjoy life, payment for conscious pain and suffering, compensation for the death itself and payment of the value of the decedent's lost earning capacity minus deductions for living expenses and consideration that a present cash payment will be made.