Losing a loved one by any means is a terrible experience but losing someone you love in a preventable accident is gut-wrenching. When losing someone you love, your initial thoughts are not of damages and expenses, your thoughts are of how you will never see your loved one again. However, after the dust settles, issues of medical bills and lost wages will become important to you and your family. If you’ve lost someone you love at the hands of a negligent driver, you could be entitled to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Like a personal injury lawsuit, wrongful death claims are civil suits to recover damages. The primary difference in these two types of cases involves the party filing the lawsuit. In a personal injury case, the injured party is also the party filing the claim. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the person involved in the accident died from their injuries, so their loved ones are left to file on behalf of the victim in the case. Most wrongful death cases in the state come from motor vehicle crashes, but wrongful death suits can stem from most types of personal injury cases.
Requirements for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
In New Hampshire, wrongful death lawsuits are protected by statute § 556.19, and the law allows anyone with a legal connection to a victim’s estate to file a wrongful death claim. To file a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must file their claim before the statute of limitations expires. In New Hampshire, wrongful death cases can be filed up to three years after the date of the client’s death. In addition to meeting filing deadlines, the plaintiff must also prove liability.
The court will consider damages such as:
- Pain and suffering caused by the wrongful death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial support
- Emotional distress caused by the wrongful death
- Punitive damages