When a loved one dies due to the negligent or intentional misconduct of another person or entity, you may be struggling not only with intense grief but also funeral expenses and other financial burdens. For many residents of Boston and the surrounding area, a wrongful death claim offers a chance to recover compensation for the loss of a family member. At the Naumes Law Group, we help people who have lost loved ones because of another party’s negligence pursue the money they need so that they can focus on regrouping emotionally from their bereavement.Wrongful Death Claims in Massachusetts
A person or entity can be liable for wrongful death in Massachusetts for causing an individual’s death by acting negligently, recklessly, or wantonly, or by committing a breach of warranty. The standard of proof is lower than it is for a criminal prosecution involving the same event, since the defendant’s responsibility must be shown only by a preponderance of the evidence. A victim’s family must prove that the defendant owed their loved one a duty of care and breached that duty with some negligent action. They also need to draw a direct causal connection from the breach to their loss and identify actual damages that resulted.
An executor or administrator of the deceased person's estate may bring the wrongful death claim against the responsible entity or person. Any damages recovered from the lawsuit will be paid to the deceased person's estate and then distributed to the appropriate individuals. All wrongful death claims in Massachusetts must be filed within three years of the death or the date that the estate administrator reasonably should have known that a wrongful death claim was appropriate.
The estate can recover damages that may include the value of income that the decedent was expected to earn for the rest of his or her life, funeral and burial expenses, and the care, companionship, guidance, and support that the decedent would have provided. Punitive damages are also available, but they are restricted to instances in which a death is caused by gross negligence or malicious, willful, wanton, or reckless conduct.
There are specific circumstances in which a wrongful death claim is not permitted, such as when an employee dies on the job, or when a person dies in a streetcar accident or in a train accident. In those situations, there may be remedies other than a tort-based lawsuit. When railroad employees lose their lives on the job, for example, a FELA lawsuit may be filed in which the surviving spouse, children, and other relatives may seek damages if the railroad was negligent or violated a safety statute.Contact a Boston Attorney After a Fatal Accident
If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s careless actions in the Boston region, you should consult an injury lawyer at the Naumes Law Group. While nothing can truly compensate you for the unexpected loss of a close relative, you may be able to recover money that allows you to pay bills and deal with other losses. The Naumes Law Group is committed to helping grieving families in Middlesex, Franklin, and Suffolk Counties, as well as other communities throughout Massachusetts. Contact us at 617-227-8444 or via our online form.