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Can I seek punitive damages in a wrongful death case?

The loss of a loved one due to an accident is never easy to bear. The desire to seek justice tends to be high. Connecticut, like all states, does allow for grieving families to seek some measure of compensation.

It is possible to recover the costs of medical care and funeral expenses. It is also possible to seek compensation in a sum equal to what the decedent would have earned over the course of his or her lifetime, and for the family's pain and suffering due to the absence of the loved one. It can be very frustrating, however, if prosecutors make a determination that no criminal case exists for holding the party responsible criminally. But that may not be the end of the story.

Unlike some states, Connecticut does allow for additional damages to be sought in some cases. The code does allow for civil action to be filed to seek double or even triple compensatory damages if the right circumstances exist.

To bring such a case, the plaintiff has to specifically claim that the defendant was not simply negligent, but acted deliberately or with reckless disregard for the consequences of his or her actions. In addition, the plaintiff has to show with a preponderance of evidence that the defendant's actions were a "substantial factor" in causing the wrongful death. It's then up to the jury to decide if such damages are appropriate.

The standards called for by the statute are strict and must be carefully followed. Otherwise, the no multiple damages can be granted.

Not every accidental death represents a legitimate claim for wrongful death. If you wonder if you have such a case, contact an experienced attorney to learn more.

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