Losing a family member is painful and when your family loses a family member because of the action or inaction of another person, the loss is compounded with anger. In addition to losing your loved one, you are facing a life without their companionship and in addition, very real monetary losses. There is no doubt that no amount of money will ever mitigate the loss but the fact remains, you have the legal right in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts per Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 229, Section 2 to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Filing Wrongful Death Claims
To file wrongful death claim, the personal representative of the decedents estate must work with a personal injury attorney in Massachusetts who understands the statutes that apply to wrongful death. Should the decedent not have a will at the time of their death, the probate court will appoint a person to bring the claim. A successful suit that results in damages awarded will be distributed according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
What You Have to Prove
In order to be successful with your suit, you must be able to prove that the death of your loved one was caused by reckless behavior or negligence on the part of another person or business. In addition, you must be able to prove that their death resulted in financial losses which can be done easily since this includes medical expenses, burial expenses and a loss of earnings.
Calculating the Losses
While it may seem uncharacteristically ghoulish to assess a dollar value to someone’s death, the legal system has put in place a method for determining full and fair compensation for a wrongful death claim. Claims typically include economic damages including medical and burial expenses as well as lost wages and non-economic damages such as punitive damages and pain and suffering.
Typically the court will consider the age and life expectancy of the decedent, the needs of the family, expenses incurred for medical and funeral expenses, the needs of the family as well as losses incurred because the decedent can no longer contribute financially to their household. In some cases, judges or a jury will also award damages to act as a deterrent to similar future conduct which are known as punitive damages.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence, consider speaking with a personal injury attorney to review your case and help you determine whether you should file a wrongful death case.