Connecticut wrongful death laws are very different to those in other states. If you are familiar with the basics of wrongful death, it may sound very confusing at first, but the big differences are the terminology used. In Ohio, wrongful death compensates the estate for the decedent’s losses and suffering, rather than compensating loved ones for their losses as a result of the death. But the surviving spouse and minor children can recover separate compensation through a loss of consortium claim. As for common-law spouses, yes you can recover compensation. What type depends on several factors.
Common Law Marriage in Connecticut
You cannot form a common-law marriage in Connecticut, so if you and your partner have only lived together in the state, you did not have a valid marriage. If you formed your common-law marriage in one of the few states that allows it, and you can prove it, Connecticut will recognize you as the surviving spouse.
Wrongful Death in Connecticut
In Connecticut, wrongful death is very similar to what is referred to as a “survival action” in other states. Damages can include the decedent’s:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of life’s enjoyments
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses
The damages are paid to the estate and distributed according to the decedent’s will. If you do not qualify as a spouse, but you are named in the will, wrongful death can increase your inheritance. If there is no will, the proceeds are distributed according to Connecticut’s laws of intestate succession.
Loss of Consortium
Through a loss of consortium claim, in Connecticut, the surviving spouse can recover the types of damages more traditionally involved in wrongful death claims in other states, such as:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of services
- Loss of companionship, affection and society
You only have two years to bring a wrongful death suit in Connecticut, so you need to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney right away.