Nothing can bring back a loved one who was lost in a senseless accident. However, when someone is tragically killed in a car accident, or any other type of preventable accident, the family of the deceased accident victim may be entitled to compensation for their losses through a New Hampshire wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits are similar to traditional personal injury claims, in that the person bringing the case must prove that the named defendant was legally negligent. Wrongful death cases are common following truck accidents, nursing home abuse, and instances of medical malpractice.
In this context, the word “negligent” refers to a legal cause of action. To establish that defendant was negligent, a plaintiff must show, 1.) that the defendant owed the accident victim a duty of care; 2.) by some action or omission, the defendant breached that duty; 3.) the defendant’s breach was the cause of the accident victim’s injuries, and; 4.) the accident victim suffered some type of compensable harm. Of course, in the context of a wrongful death claim, the fourth element is not at issue.
Wrongful death claims can provide families with much-needed compensation after the loss of a loved one. Under New Hampshire’s wrongful death law, the damages that are available depend to some degree on the nature of the relationship between the person and the accident victim. For example, common damages in all wrongful death claims include:
- The mental and physical pain suffered by the deceased;
- The reasonable expenses incurred by the estate;
- The probable duration of life but for the injury; and
- The capacity to earn money during the deceased party’s probable working life.
In addition, the spouse of a deceased accident victim may be entitled to additional amounts for “the loss of the comfort, society, and companionship.” However, under New Hampshire law, this amount is capped at $150,000. Additionally, if the accident victim was a young child, parents may be entitled to damages for the loss of the familial relationship. Likewise, if a young child loses a parent in a preventable accident, the child can also recover damages for the loss of the familial relationship.
Wrongful death claims in New Hampshire must be filed within six years of the date of death, otherwise, courts will dismiss the claim as untimely. If a case is dismissed as untimely, there is likely nothing that can be done, and the aggrieved family members will be without any means of recovery.
Have You Lost a Loved One?
If you have recently lost a loved one due to a senseless and preventable accident, contact the New Hampshire personal injury law firm of Peter Thompson & Associates. At our New Hampshire wrongful death firm, we represent families who have lost loved ones due to the negligence of others. We have extensive experience handling all types of wrongful death claims, including those arising from motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, as well as those caused by dangerous or defective products. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to speak with an attorney today, call 1-800-804-2004.