Losing a loved one unexpectedly is a tragic and life-altering experience. While no amount of money will ever be able to bring the person back, there are potential legal options to explore in these situations. Each state has different rules about who can bring a claim forward and what time of claims are available in these tragic cases.


What’s a Wrongful Death Case?

A wrongful death claim is a personal injury case where an individual has passed away due to another party’s actions. Car accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, or criminal acts are some of the most common causes of action in a wrongful death case.


Who Can Bring Forward a Wrongful Death Claim?

In New Hampshire, a wrongful death claim can be brought forward by any individual interested in the estate of a deceased person. The estate is the financial interests of the deceased person, such as property, bank accounts, investments, or other assets. Any claim for wrongful death must be filed within three years of the date of death.


What Can I Recover?

The goal of wrongful death cases, and personal injury cases in general, is to offer the injured party financial compensation to make up for their loss. While receiving money for the loss of a loved one certainly pales in comparison to their absence, the recovery can include things like lost future wages, medical costs, funeral costs, caretaker loss, and punitive damages. It’s important to note that there is no exact formula that guarantees what the recovery could be.


Do I Have to Pay for This?

No, a wrongful death claim is a personal injury claim, which are generally done on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorneys who work on the case would receive a percentage (typically 33%) of the total settlement or damages awarded after a trial. As the attorney’s fees are contingent, if there is no award or no settlement, you likely would not owe anything in attorney’s fees. The only thing you may be responsible for are the costs associated with your claim, such as records and experts. However, how costs are allocated should be addressed in the fee agreement with your attorney.


What if the Death was Caused by a Work Injury?

Generally, an employee is prevented from bringing forward a personal injury claim against their employer for injuries or disabilities that occur due to their employment. For people injured at work, their remedies are available under the New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation Statute (RSA 281-A).

The statute does however provide benefits to direct family members if a person dies as a result of a worker injury under RSA 281-A:26. Also, there are certain exceptions that allow a wrongful death claim to be brought forward, such as if the actions of a third-party (someone not connected to the employer) caused the work-related death. Our attorneys handle both workers’ compensation and personal injury cases and can help assess the way to proceed moving forward.


I’m Overwhelmed, Who Do I Even Call?

Managing the wrongful death a person you care about is an overwhelming process, but we’re here to provide you some guidance and reassurance in this extremely difficult time. Feel free to reach out to our office any time and we’d be happy to hear about your case and see if we have an attorney that can help you.

Personal Injury Attorneys in NH and MA

Shawn J. Tennis

Shawn J. Tennis

Personal Injury Attorney
John L. Ward

John L. Ward

Personal Injury Attorney
Dana K. Smith

Dana K. Smith

Personal Injury Attorney

More Personal Injury Blog Posts

Slip and fall blog post header