2012 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 52 - Civil Actions
Chapter 925 - Statutory Rights of Action and Defenses
Section 52-555 - Actions for injuries resulting in death.
(a) In any action surviving to or brought by an executor or administrator for injuries resulting in death, whether instantaneous or otherwise, such executor or administrator may recover from the party legally at fault for such injuries just damages together with the cost of reasonably necessary medical, hospital and nursing services, and including funeral expenses, provided no action shall be brought to recover such damages and disbursements but within two years from the date of death, and except that no such action may be brought more than five years from the date of the act or omission complained of.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, an action may be brought under this section at any time after the date of the act or omission complained of if the party legally at fault for such injuries resulting in death has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect of a violation of section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55 or 53a-55a with respect to such death.
(1949 Rev., 8296; 1949, 1951, S. 3230d; 1957, P.A. 532; 1969, P.A. 401, S. 1; P.A. 91-238, S. 1, 2; P.A. 99-42; P.A. 00-200, S. 8.)
History: 1969 act changed deadline for bringing action from one year from date injury is sustained or discovered or should have been discovered to two years from that date, effective October 1, 1969, and applicable only to injuries first sustained on or after that date; P.A. 91-238 required that action be brought within two years of death or within five years of act or omission complained of rather than within two years of date of injury or discovery of injury or within three years of act or omission complained of, effective October 1, 1991, and applicable only to injuries first sustained on or after that date; P.A. 99-42 designated existing provisions as Subsec. (a) and added Subsec. (b) eliminating time limitation in certain homicide cases; P.A. 00-200 amended Subsec. (b) by adding references to Secs. 53a-55 and 53a-55a.
See Sec. 45a-448 re distribution of damages recovered for injuries resulting in death.
See Sec. 52-584 re limitation of action for injury to person or property.
See Sec. 52-594 re time limit for executor or administrator to bring personal action which survives to deceased person’s representatives.
Cited. 3 CA 598. Cited. 43 CA 294. Cited. 44 CA 172. An executor who brings an action under this section does so in his representative, fiduciary capacity, not as an individual plaintiff, and because it is not his own cause of action, he has no right to self-representation under Sec. 51-88(d)(2). 118 CA 211.
Limitation held applicable to recovery under section allowing action for death or injury against highway commissioner. 1 CS 136. History of section reviewed. Id; 11 CS 117. Action to be brought one year after “the neglect complained of” and not from date of death. 4 CS 32. Applicable to action where death results from malpractice of a physician. 6 CS 450. Cited. 7 CS 328. Cited. 9 CS 184. Statute does not limit the number of parties that can be sued. 10 CS 396. Proviso is not a true statute of limitations but a condition precedent to the actual ripening of a complete right of action. 11 CS 239. Parent has no cause of action to recover for loss of services of child wrongfully killed. Id., 447. Fact that person injured died more than a year after injury immaterial where original complaint was brought within statutory period. Id., 413; Id., 468. Cited. 16 CS 430. Cited. 17 CS 3. Covers both antemortem elements of damage such as pain and suffering and also for injuries resulting in death. 19 CS 487. Connecticut’s wrongful death statute compared with that of North Carolina, which is based on Lord Campbell’s Act. 21 CS 233. Where prenatal injuries result in death, the personal representative of the child may prosecute an action. It makes no difference whether death took place just after birth or just prior to birth. 23 CS 256. Stillborn infant, dead from injuries sustained as a viable fetus, has a cause of action. 26 CS 358. Connecticut follows the “survival” rather than the “new cause of action” theory. Id., 358. Damages for antemortem injuries, though required to be claimed in same action as damages for death, do not depend on this section but on section 52-599, which provides that decedent’s cause of action survives to his personal representative. Where one year period of limitation with respect to those injuries had not expired when decedent died, his personal representative, under section 52-594, had year from date of death to initiate action. 28 CS 461. Wrongful death action must be brought by executor or administrator to have standing. Standing acquired subsequent to statute of limitations does not cure original action. 29 CS 139. Amendment to complaint not deemed instituting new cause of action so as to be barred by section but was amplification and expansion not change of facts originally claimed. 35 CS 38. Wrongful death action is not a new and independent action created by the demise of the injured party, but rather a claim of the deceased party which survives his death. Therefore the decedent’s spouse can attach to the wrongful death claim an independent claim for loss of consortium. Loss of consortium is now legally recoverable under “just damages”. Consortium is an element of a marital relationship and cannot be extended to the children of the marriage. Id., 292. Cited. 37 CS 1. Cited. 38 CS 318. Damages for loss of consortium are not recoverable under this statute, which compensates losses suffered only by decedent or his estate. 39 CS 8. Cited. 40 CS 95. Read together with Secs. 45-249c and 45-249d(a) “executor or administrator” is interpreted to include a temporary administrator to be allowed to commence wrongful death action when necessary to preserve estate. Id., 451. Cited. Id., 457. Cited. 44 CS 477. Administratrix may maintain action for wrongful death on behalf of a viable unborn fetus for injuries and death. 48 CS 440.
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