When negligent, reckless, or intentional actions on the part of one person or party results in someone’s death, a wrongful death claim may be filed in the state of New Hampshire. In short, a wrongful death claim can be thought of as a personal injury claim on behalf of someone who, due to being deceased, is unable to file a lawsuit of their own.
Another person, on behalf of the deceased’s estate and surviving family, must file the claim. This person might also have the option to file certain civil claims that were open to the deceased person during his or her lifetime, provided that the statute of limitations has not yet passed.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Hampshire?
Under New Hampshire Revised Statues Section 556:19, a wrongful death claim can be filed by “any person interested in the estate of a deceased”. In this sense, New Hampshire differs from many states, most of which only allow individuals such as an estate’s personal administrator or surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim. In the state of New Hampshire, anyone with a legal interest in the estate of the deceased has a right to protect that interest in court via a wrongful death claim.
Due to wrongful death claims being civil suits, they must be filed in a New Hampshire civil court directly by the interested party. This differs from claims involving criminal charges, which must be filed by the prosecuting attorney. Wrongful death claims can be filed in addition to any criminal charges occurring in the same case.
Damages in a New Hampshire Wrongful Death Claim
The types of damages available in a New Hampshire wrongful death claim are detailed under New Hampshire Revised Statutes Section 556:12, including who is entitled to such damage. While the total amount of damages varies from case to case, the specific types of damages available in a New Hampshire wrongful death claim include:
- Pain and suffering of the deceased prior to death
- Medical, funeral, and burial expenses resulting from the deceased person’s fatal injury or illness, and
- Compensation that might have been earned by the deceased person had he or she lived.
The administrator of the deceased’s estate can consider these elements upon filing the wrongful death claim. The length of time the deceased might have been expected to live absent the fatal event could also be considered.
The surviving spouse of the deceased may be entitled to damages relating to loss of comfort, care, companionship, and guidance. But such damages are limited to an amount up to $150,000.
Contact Us Today
If you have lost a loved one and suspect wrongful death, our attorneys can help you navigate the complex legal process of filing a claim, including the statute of limitations and when it may expire for filing your wrongful death claim. We will fight for you while you focus on healing from your unexpected loss. Call us today.