New Hampshire Wrongful Death Lawyer
In contrast with murder and manslaughter, which involves the taking of a human life without legal justification, which are criminal acts punishable by imprisonment or death, claims for “wrongful death” are civil actions, by which the estate of the decedent seeks monetary compensation for death brought about by negligence. The law, which allows the estate of a deceased person to recover monetary damages, is New Hampshire Revised (”RSA”), Laws Chapter 556, the so-called “Wrongful Death Statute”. According to the statute, where the death of an individual is due to the conduct of a third party, the person(s) designated by the Probate Court as the estate’s legal representative (referred to as the “Executor/trix” (where a Last Will and Testament exists) or the “Administrator/trix” (where no such will exists) may bring a civil action against the responsible parties to recover damages on behalf of all legal heirs or beneficiaries of the decedent.
The amount of monetary compensation to which the estate is legally entitled to recover is set forth in RSA 556:12, which states:
556:12 Damages for Wrongful Death, Elements. –
I. If the administrator of the deceased party is plaintiff, and the death of such party was caused by the injury complained of in the action, the mental and physical pain suffered by the deceased in consequence of the injury, the reasonable expenses occasioned to the estate by the injury, the probable duration of life but for the injury, and the capacity to earn money during the deceased party’s probable working life, may be considered as elements of damage in connection with other elements allowed by law, in the same manner as if the deceased had survived.
II. In addition, the trier of fact may award damages to a surviving spouse of the decedent for the loss of the comfort, society, and companionship of the deceased; however, where fault on the part of the decedent or the surviving spouse is found to have caused, in whole or in part, the loss complained of, damages recoverable shall be subject to diminution to the extent and in the manner provided for in RSA 507:7-d. In no event shall damages awarded under this paragraph exceed $150,000.
III. In addition, where the decedent is a parent of a minor child or children, the trier of fact may award damages to such child or children for the loss of familial relationship, whether caused intentionally or by negligent interference; where the decedent is a minor child with a surviving parent or parents, the trier of fact may award damages to such parent or parents for the loss of familial relationship, whether caused intentionally or by negligent interference. However, where fault on the part of the decedent or the claimant is found to have caused, in whole or in part, the loss complained of, damages recoverable shall be subject to diminution to the extent and in the manner provided for in RSA 507:7-d. For purposes of this paragraph, loss of familial relationship shall include the loss of the comfort, society, affection, guidance, and companionship of the deceased. In no event shall damages awarded under this paragraph exceed $50,000 per individual claimant.
Parker | Scheer attorneys have successfully represented the estates of individuals killed as a result of medical malpractice, defective products (product liability), car accidents, and negligent service of alcohol (“dram shop cases”), in addition to other legal theories of negligence.