For most of us, the death of a loved one is the most difficult thing imaginable. On an emotional level, there is a deep and irreplaceable void. And from a practical perspective, a death in the family can have a major impact on a family’s financial well-being and support structure.
From a legal perspective, “wrongful deaths” historically presented a conundrum: personal injury lawsuits must be brought by the victim themselves— obviously impossible for a deceased victim. Therefore, in the past, a person injured because of negligence could institute a legal action, but if that same person was killed, no lawsuit could be commenced. This paradox is solved by so-called “wrongful death” statutes. These statutes allow next-of-kin to bring a lawsuit for the death of their family member.
New Hampshire’s wrongful death statute (RSA 556) authorizes the Administrator of the decedent’s estate to bring the lawsuit. The statute permits the typical array of personal injury damages associate with negligence claims, including medical bills and pain and suffering.
Wrongful death actions also allow unique types of damages: funeral costs, income lost due to the shortened life, and damages for “loss of enjoyment of life.” Similarly to pain and suffering damages, these latter two categories can be difficult/complex to calculate and can vary wildly depending on many factors.
If your loved one passed away and it may have been the result of negligence, contact Welts, White & Fontaine today. As Nashua’s largest law firm, our attorneys have decades of experience with personal injury matters such as wrongful death lawsuits. We offer free consultations and handle most personal injury matters on a contingency fee basis.
Author: Israel F. Piedra
This blog is intended for informational use only. The information contained herein should not be construed as offering legal advice or a legal opinion.