Wrongful Death FAQs
The loss of a loved is devastating and when one loss is the result of someone’s negligence it becomes even more painful. At the Attorney Injury Group, we understand how devastating it can be to lose a loved one as a result of someone’s negligence. The surviving family members may be left with medical bills and funeral expenses, while trying to cope with the sudden unexpected loss of a loved one. The Massachusetts’ law allows the surviving family members to take legal action after a death occurs. At Attorney Injury Group, we will take care of the legal issues for you and ensure your rights are protected, so you can focus on rebuilding your life after your loss.
Many are unaware of what wrongful death claims are or of how they work. We have prepared the answers to some frequently asked questions so you can better understand wrongful death claims.
Wrongful Death FAQs
What is a wrongful death claim?
If someone is killed as a result of somebody’s negligence a wrongful death can be filed to help the surviving next of kin recover for their loss. Wrongful death lawsuits seek to hold the negligent individuals responsible for the death their actions caused. A death can cause both economic and non-economic distress on the surviving family members. A wrongful death claim allows those suffering the death of a loved one to receive compensation. A wrongful death claim also allows recovery for the deceased’s pain and suffering under special circumstances, punitive damages may also be recoverable.
Which family members are considered survivors of a wrongful death?
Massachusetts law allows the next of kin of the deceased to recover damages. The next of kin is generally the surviving spouse and children of the wrongful death victim. If there is no surviving spouse or children, the next of kin may include parents and brothers and sisters of the deceased.
Who can make a wrongful death claim?
The duly appointed personal representative of the deceased is the only person authorized to bring a wrongful death claim in Massachusetts. Someone, usually a surviving spouse or child, is appointed by the Probate Court as the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
When does the wrongful death claim have to be filed?
Generally, the personal representative must file a wrongful death lawsuit within 3 years of the date of death. There may be circumstances that allow for a greater time. For instance, the 3-year period does not begin to run until the deceased’s personal representative knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known of the factual basis for a cause of action.
What types of compensation are available in wrongful death claims?
The next of kin or survivors may each recover for their individual loss of reasonable expected net income, as well as their loss of services, protection, care, assistance, society, companionship, comfort, guidance, counsel, and advice of the deceased. The medical bills and funeral and burial expenses are also recoverable.
The personal representative may also recover for the deceased’s conscious pain and suffering that occurred prior to the death. You must be able to prove that the deceased was conscious prior to his death in order to recover for their pain and suffering. Any recovery made for the conscious pain and suffering is a recovery on behalf of the estate.
If there is evidence that the death may have been caused by malicious, willful, wanton or reckless conduct, or the gross negligence of the defendant, the personal representative may try and recover punitive damages. If punitive damages are awarded the minimum amount that can be awarded is $5,000.
Getting Legal Help
Wrongful death cases are complex high-stake cases and your future financial security often hangs in the balance. It is very important to have a knowledgeable legal advocate representing your interests so you can protect your rights and maximize your compensation.
At Attorney Injury Group, our experienced Massachusetts wrongful death lawyers understand the ins-and-outs of wrongful death claims. We will fight for you at every step of the way! To schedule your free consultation and learn more about how we can help you, get in touch with us today at 617-934-7000 or contact us online.