There is no easy way to lose a family member. However, an unexpected or preventable death can be far more difficult for surviving family members to comprehend. In addition to the emotional toll an untimely death can have, there is often a financial impact on the surviving family. Family members that were financially dependent on a deceased loved one could suddenly face uncertainty.
If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, you could have a viable wrongful death claim. Keep in mind, there is a strict deadline for filing these claims.
To ensure your legal rights are protected, contact the Coates Law Office, PLLC, right away.
Wrongful Death Claims In New Hampshire
A wrongful death claim is not a criminal case. They are civil lawsuits designed to compensate the surviving heirs of the deceased person following their untimely death. While these cases are separate from any criminal prosecution, it is possible that both types of claims could occur in the same case. While a criminal prosecution could result in jail time or fines, monetary damages are the remedy available under a wrongful death suit. It is important to understand these two cases are independent of each you; you have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim regardless of what happens in a criminal prosecution.
In New Hampshire, a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate if another person’s careless, reckless, or intentional actions caused the death of your family member. These claims are often similar to personal injury lawsuits.
The Deadline To File
As with any lawsuit, New Hampshire law sets a deadline for the filing of any wrongful death case. This deadline, known as the statute of limitations, bars any lawsuit filed after the deadline expires. The statute of limitations in a New Hampshire wrongful death suit is governed by New Hampshire Revised Statutes Section 508:4. Under this statute, a plaintiff in a wrongful death claim has three years from the date of death to file suit. This statutory period is significantly longer than many other states.
The statute of limitations is strictly enforced. Should you fail to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on time, the court will likely dismiss your case with prejudice. This will end your opportunity to recover compensation on your claim. This can occur regardless of how strong your claim might be. While these consequences are severe, an experienced New Hampshire wrongful death lawyer can assist you in complying with every legal deadline in your case.
The Right To Bring A Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Not just anyone can bring a wrongful death case. In many states, the right to file suit is strictly limited. In some cases, only the estate of the deceased person could file a claim. In other jurisdictions, there is a complicated formula used to identify the one person with the right to bring a suit. New Hampshire law takes a much more open approach.
The right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit is governed by New Hampshire Revised Statutes Section 556:19. According to the statute, “any person interested in the estate of the deceased” has the right to bring a lawsuit. In other words, any person with the right to inherit from the deceased person’s estate can bring a lawsuit.
The compensation available in a wrongful death action is similar to those in a negligence claim. However, there are certain types of damages that are unique to a wrongful death action. According to New Hampshire Revised Statutes Section 556:12, the damages available to a plaintiff include:
- The mental and physical pain suffered by the deceased in consequence of the injury
- The reasonable expenses occasioned to the estate by the injury
- The probable duration of life but for the injury
- The capacity to earn money during the deceased party’s probable working life
In addition to compensation related to the deceased person, a suit may also seek compensation for the loss of comfort, society, and companionship of the deceased. A claim could also seek compensation for a spouse’s loss of relationship with their husband or wife. The array of compensation and the complex rules regarding their recovery are best explained in detail by an experienced lawyer.
How a New Hampshire Wrongful Death Attorney Could Help
If you have lost a family member due to the negligence or recklessness of another person, you could have a viable claim for damages. This process can be challenging on your own, but an experienced wrongful death lawyer could guide you through the process.
To discuss your case with an experienced New Hampshire wrongful death lawyer, contact the Coates Law Office, PLLC, right away. Call 603-968-5762.