Losing a loved one is always emotional. When that loss occurs due to the negligence of another person, the sadness may be compounded by worry about the unexpected loss of income or sudden expenses brought about by the situation. While hiring an attorney and filing a lawsuit might not be the first tasks on your mind, a wrongful death case against the negligent party can help ease your financial burdens. Here's some important information you should know about this type of lawsuit. 

What Families Should Know About Wrongful Death Suits 

What is wrongful death?

A wrongful death is one that occurred because someone was negligent or failed to act with a reasonable amount of care. For example, a family can sue a drunk driver for causing an accident or a public transit operator who hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk. It's also possible to sue a company if their products don't meet safety standards or if they failed to perform proper maintenance, which led to the incident.

How is it proven in court?

wrongful death

An attorney can make a case that a death was wrongful if they can prove that the defendant was negligent. They must also prove that the deceased has surviving relatives that have experienced financial consequences due to the situation.

This requirement makes it more difficult to prove wrongful death for a child or elderly person, but it's possible to sue successfully in those cases. However, the damages are typically more modest since the financial losses aren't as significant. 

What damages can I sue for?

An attorney can help you determine what to ask for, which usually includes medical expenses for the deceased, funeral and burial costs, loss of the deceased's income, and loss of inheritance for the deceased's children. The suit can also include damages for loss of companionship and pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before death. 

Can I file even if criminal charges are filed? 

Wrongful death lawsuits are civil cases, so unlike criminal lawsuits brought by the government for suspected wrongdoing, they don't include punishment. However, families can still file a lawsuit when a defendant faces criminal charges, even if they're found not guilty. It's also possible for the defendant to be found guilty in both criminal and civil cases.  


If you have a wrongful death claim, reach out to Steven P. Ciardiello Esq, PC, in Hamden, CT, for help. For over 30 years, this compassionate attorney has provided legal counsel for families in Connecticut and New York, ensuring their rights are protected. Learn more about his legal services online, or call (203) 248-8000 to schedule a consultation.