Photo of a library filled with legal publications

Navigating the Legal Landscape: A Guide on How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

December 19, 2023 by Frank Bartlett

Navigating the Legal Landscape: A Guide on How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Losing a loved one is an incredibly challenging experience, and when that loss is due to someone else's negligence or wrongful actions, the pain can be even more profound. In such cases, pursuing justice through a wrongful death lawsuit may be a viable option. The team at Bartlett & Grippe aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the steps involved in filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Understanding Wrongful Death

A wrongful death occurs when an individual loses their life due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party. Wrongful death lawsuits are civil actions brought by the surviving family members or beneficiaries of the deceased against the responsible party. The goal in these cases is to seek compensation for the emotional and financial losses resulting from the untimely death. Here are some key steps to filing a wrong death lawsuit.

Consultation with an Attorney

Seek the counsel of one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys. They can evaluate the circumstances surrounding the death, determine the viability of a lawsuit, and guide you through the legal process.

Appointment of a Representative of the Estate

In Connecticut, only a duly appointed representative of an Estate has the legal capacity to pursue a wrongful death claim. Our attorneys will work with you to open an Estate in the Probate Court and appoint a family member as the executor or administrator of the Estate to pursue the wrongful death claim.

Identification of the Responsible Party

Establish who is legally responsible for the death. This may involve a thorough investigation to gather evidence proving negligence or intentional harm.

Gathering Evidence

Collect relevant documents, such as medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and any other evidence that supports your case. This evidence will be crucial in establishing liability.

Statute of Limitations

Be aware of the statute of limitations, which varies by cause of action. It is essential to file the lawsuit within the specified timeframe to avoid being barred from seeking legal action. In most instances, a Connecticut Wrongful Death Lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of death. However, in certain circumstances, notice must be provided within as little as 90 days and a lawsuit may need to be commenced within one year of the date of death. Accordingly, it is important that you consult with an experienced Wrongful Death Attorney promptly following an accident.

Filing the Lawsuit

If negotiations are unsuccessful, our attorneys will file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf. This involves submitting a complaint outlining the details of the case, the damages sought, and the legal basis for the claim.

Discovery Process

Both parties engage in the discovery process, during which evidence is exchanged, depositions are taken, and expert witnesses may be consulted. This phase helps build a solid case for trial.

Mediation or Settlement

Many cases are resolved through mediation or settlement negotiations. Our attorneys will work to secure a fair and just settlement that compensates plaintiffs for losses incurred.


If a settlement is not reached, the case will proceed to trial. Our attorneys will present the evidence, call witnesses, and argue your case before a judge and/or jury.

Compensation Distribution

If the court rules in your favor or a settlement is reached, the compensation will be distributed among the beneficiaries named in the decedent’s will. In the event that the decedent did not have a will, the Probate Court will distribute the proceeds of the wrongful death lawsuit to the statutory beneficiaries according to Connecticut’s intestacy statute. This typically involves distribution to the decedent’s surviving spouse or children.

Call us at 203-463-4939, and let us help you navigate the complex legal system.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is a complex and emotionally challenging process, but it can be a means of obtaining justice for your loved one and holding responsible parties accountable. Consulting our experienced team of attorneys at Bartlett & Grippe will help you understand the legal steps involved, which is crucial to navigating this difficult journey and increasing the likelihood of a successful resolution. Remember, you do not have to face this process alone — seek the support and guidance of our legal professionals, who specialize in wrongful death cases.

Free Consultation

Awards & Accolades

2022 Top 10 Personal Injury Attorneys
2022 Peer Rated for Highest level of Professional Excellence
Rated 10 Top Attorney Litigation
Rated 10 Top Wrongful Death Attorney
Life Member Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Litigation Counsel of America Fellow
Four Time Member ASLA
Super Layers Top Rated 5 years verified attorney