Losing someone you love is tragic, but the experience can be even more debilitating if a premature death stems from another person’s wrongful act. If you have lost someone close to you under such circumstances, you may want to consider seeking assistance from a compassionate injury attorney to help carry the burden.
Wrongful death situations can be confusing both legally and practically. A knowledgeable Dorchester wrongful death lawyer could help clear up complicated legal procedures and work with you towards a just resolution.
Wrongful deaths occur when a person or company causes the death of another human being through negligence, an intentional or reckless act, or breach of warranty. Various causes could give rise to wrongful death claims, such as occupational exposure to hazardous conditions, automobile accidents, or medical mistakes resulting in the decedent’s death.
Wrongful death claims are similar to ordinary personal injury claims in that they both involve one party causing injury to another. However, if the victim does not survive their injuries and therefore cannot bring their lawsuit to court, their surviving family may be able to take action on their behalf in the form of a wrongful death case.
To file a wrongful death claim, the deceased person must have otherwise had the right to bring personal injury lawsuit based on the accident, had they survived the negligent or intentional act. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 229 §2 states that the only parties that can file a wrongful death claim are the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate, who in turn can usually file a lawsuit on behalf of the surviving family members and affected parties.
Both executors and administrators perform the same functions, which include following the decedent’s instructions pursuant to their will, paying off the decedent’s final debts, and wrapping up all affairs involving their estate. The only difference between the two is the way they are appointed: the decedent nominates an executor within their will, while administrators are appointed by the court to manage the decedent’s estate in the event that they do not have a will.
M.G.L. Ch. 229 §2 also imposes a three-year statute of limitations on filing a wrongful death claim. With or without help from an attorney, wrongful death plaintiffs in Dorchester must file their claim within three years from the date of death, or from the date the executor or administrator first had knowledge or should have had knowledge a wrongful death claim had arisen.
Surviving family members and affected persons may pursue certain damages in Massachusetts for their wrongful death claim. These damages may include reasonable funeral and burial expenses, loss of care and companionship the deceased would have provided to family members, and loss of income the decedent could reasonably have expected to earn during their natural lifetime.
A Dorchester wrongful death lawyer may also help a plaintiff seek punitive damages in rare cases, although this would be purely up to the court’s discretion. Specifically, punitive damages would only be granted if the court determines that the decedent’s death was caused by malicious, reckless, wanton, or willful conduct or gross negligence.
If you have lost a loved one or someone close to you from a wrongful act, you could benefit from getting a legal professional to review your case. A Dorchester wrongful death lawyer could assist you in weighing options and provide insight for your next steps.
Depending on your relationship with your loved one and the circumstances of your case, a local attorney may be able to lighten the load and fight for your family’s case. Start now by calling to schedule an initial consultation.