CHAPTER 256

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 426

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1, HOUSE AMENDMENT 1

TO HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1, HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 4,

AND HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 5

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 37, TITLE 10, OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO WRONGFUL DEATH ACTIONS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Chapter 37, Title 10, Delaware Code by striking the chapter heading and substituting in lieu thereof a new chapter heading to read as follows:

"Survival of Actions and Causes of Action; Wrongful Death Actions".

Section 2. Amend Chapter 37, Title 10, Delaware Code by inserting therein after the chapter heading and before Section 3701 the following:"

"Subchapter I. Survival of Actions and Causes of Action".

Section 3. Amend §3704, Chapter 37, Title 10, Delaware Code by striking subsection (b) of said section in Its entirety.

Section 4. Amend Chapter 37, Title 10, Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subchapter to read as follows:"

"Subchapter II. Wrongful Death Actions.

§3721. Definitions.

As used in this subchapter:

(a) 'Child' includes an illegitimate child.

(b) 'Parent' includes the mother and father of a deceased illegitimate child.

(c) 'Person' includes an individual, receiver, trustee, guardian, executor, administrator, fiduciary, or representative of any kind, or any partnership, firm, association, public or private corporation, or any other entity.

(d) 'Wrongful act' means an act, neglect, or default including a felonious act which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued.

§3722. Liability Notwithstanding Death.

(a) An action may be maintained against a person whose wrongful act causes the death of another.

(b) If the death of a person was caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of a vessel, an action in rem may be maintained against the vessel.

(c) If a person whose wrongful act caused the death of another, dies before an action under this section is commenced, the action may be maintained against his personal representative.

§3723. When Wrongful Act Occurs Outside of Delaware.

(a) If the wrongful act occurred in another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory of the United States, a Delaware Court shall apply the substantive law of that jurisdiction.

(a) Notwithstanding the fact that the wrongful act occurred in another jurisdiction, a Delaware Court in which the action is pending shall apply its own rules of pleading and procedure.

§3724. Action for Wrongful Death.

(a) An action under this subchapter shall be for the benefit of the wife, husband, parent, and child of the deceased person.

(b) If there are no persons who qualify under subsection (a), an action shall be for the benefit of any person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage.

(c) In an action under this subchapter, damages may be awarded to the beneficiaries proportioned to the injury resulting from the wrongful death. The amount recovered shall be divided among the beneficiaries in shares directed by the verdict.

(d) In fixing the amount of damages to be awarded under this Act, the court or jury shall consider all the facts and circumstances and from them fix the award at such sum as will fairly compensate for the injury resultihg from the death. In determining the amount of the award the court or jury may consider the following:

(1) deprivation of the expectation of pecuniary benefits to the beneficiary or beneficiaries that would have resulted from the continued life of the deceased;

(2) loss of contributions for support;

(3) loss of parental, marital and household services, including the reasonable cost of providing for the care of minor children;

(4) reasonable funeral expenses not to exceed $2,000.00;

(5) mental anguish resulting from such death to the surviving spouse and next of kin of such deceased person. However, when mental anguish is claimed as a measure of damages under this statute, such mental anguish will be applicable only to the surviving spouse, children, father and mother, (if there is no surviving spouse or children) or person standing in loco parentis to the deceased and persons to whom the deceased stood in loco parentis at the time of the Injury which caused the death of the deceased.

(e) Only one action under the subchapter lies in respect to the death of a person.

(f) For the purposes of this section, a person born to parents who have not participated in a marriage ceremony with each other is considered to be the child of his mother. He is considered to be the child of his father only If his father (1) has been judicially determined to be the father, or (2) prior to the death of the child, (a) has acknowledged himself in writing, to be the father, or (b) has openly and notoriously recognized the person to be his child, or (c) has subsequently married the mother and has acknowledged himself, orally or in writing, to be the father.

§3725. Purpose.

The purpose of this Act is to permit the recovery of damages not limited to pecuniary losses by persons injured as the result of the death of another person.

Section 5. The effective date of this Act shall be December 1, 1982.

Approved June 9, 1982.