Hiring the Best Wrongful Death Lawyer in Vermont
Accidents happen every day.
Sometimes, accidents result in injuries to the people involved.
These injuries can be fairly minor or severe to the point of permanently disabling the victim.
In some cases, victims die from their injuries on the spot or shortly after their accidents.
One common cause of accidental death is wrongful death in a car accident.
But this is not the only kind of accident that can result in a victim’s death.
A victim can die in any type of accident and when this happens, the victim’s loved ones may pursue monetary compensation for their related damages through a wrongful death claim.
Accidents that Can Result in Wrongful Deaths
A victim can die in any kind of accident. Examples of accidents that can result in death include:
- Car accidents;
- Acts of medical malpractice;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Truck accidents;
- Dog bites;
- Construction accidents;
- Incidents involving defective products;
- Pedestrian accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents; and
- Workplace accidents.
As mentioned above, sometimes a victim’s death occurs quickly. A vehicle may strike them or injure them in another manner at the scene of an accident. In other cases, the victim dies later from the injury he or she sustained or from a secondary condition related to the accident. Any time a victim dies because of an accident, whether the death is immediate or months after the accident, the victim’s loved ones may pursue wrongful death compensation.
Who can Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim in Vermont?
Who can file a wrongful death claim following an accidental death varies from state to state.
In Vermont, the personal representative of the victim’s estate is the only party who can file a wrongful death claim. Other beneficiaries can get compensation for damages, but only the personal representative may file the claim. If the victim did not name a personal representative to his or her estate, the court may appoint one.
In New Hampshire, any individual with an interest in the victim’s estate may file a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation for compensation related to that legal interest.
Recovering Damages Through a Wrongful Death Claim
The damages one can recover through a wrongful death claim and the person receiving compensation also depends on state law. In New Hampshire, any party who files a wrongful death claim may pursue compensation for the following:
- His or her own emotional trauma related to the death;
- The victim’s pain and suffering prior to his or her death;
- The victim’s medical expenses prior to death and all the funeral and burial expenses his or her estate faced; and
- The income and benefits the victim would reasonably have earned over the course of his or her remaining career.
Additionally, a surviving spouse may pursue compensation for his or her loss of the victim’s companionship and love, and the victim’s minor children may recover compensation for their loss of parental guidance and love. This compensation is “capped” at $150,000, and will be lower if the Court finds the victim or the spouse partially at fault for the death.
In Vermont, compensation goes to the victim’s next of kin. If the victim had a spouse and children, they get the compensation. When the victim was married but had no children, only the spouse recovers compensation. If there are neither a spouse nor children, the victim’s surviving parents may recover wrongful death compensation. The following damages are eligible for compensation:
- Burial and funeral expenses;
- Accident-related medical expenses;
- The family’s loss of the victim’s love and support; and
- The victim’s household’s loss of his or her contributions to the household.
Pursuing Compensation for Wrongful Death Damages
In any wrongful death claim, the claimant must demonstrate that the victim’s death was the result of another party breaching their duty of care to the victim. The expected duty of care varies between accident types. A claimant pursuing compensation after losing a loved one in a car accident might need to prove that the victim’s death resulted from another driver’s aggressive driving. A claimant pursuing a medical malpractice claim might need to prove that his or her loved one died because the doctor left surgical equipment inside his or her body after a procedure and it became infected.
You can demonstrate these facts with evidence, like:
- Copies of your loved one’s medical reports;
- Photographs of the accident scene;
- A copy of the official accident report, if one exists;
- Testimony from your loved one’s doctor or the police officer who attended the scene; and
- A digital reconstruction of the accident scene.
Each state also has specific rules for filing wrongful death claims and how they determine appropriate compensation. In Vermont, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years after the defendant’s return to Vermont if he or she is not in the state, two years of the date of the defendant’s conviction or seven years after the state files charges, or two years after the victim’s death. It is not necessary to file criminal charges to file a wrongful death claim.
In New Hampshire, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is six years from the date of the victim’s death.
Work with an Experienced Vermont Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that could have been prevented with greater care on another party’s part, you may pursue monetary compensation for the damages you suffered and the damages his or her estate suffered because of the death through a wrongful death claim. To learn more about filing and pursuing this type of claim with an experienced wrongful death attorney, contact Sabbeth Law today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.