When Can I Sue For Wrongful Death?

May 25, 2021

Losing a loved one to someone’s negligence or indifference is one of the most horrendous experiences of life. While no amount of money can bring your family members back, you can strive for justice against those who showed so little respect for human life.

Preventable deaths are especially hard to deal with because the victim did not necessarily have to die at the time they did and also did so because of someone else’s fault. Automobile accidents, medical malpractice, or even a simple slip and fall accident can lead to such consequences..

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Whatever the case, the loss of life is not something to be taken lightly, and you should thus not delay seeking compensation for loss of companionship due to the wrongful death of your family member. Even though Massachusetts is a no-fault state, you can sue for wrongful death cases.

And, if the deceased was the sole bread earner of the family, then the payout would be even greater.

But in any case, you should contact experienced lawyers to be able to demand fair compensation from the responsible parties.

Most Common Types Of Wrongful Death Cases

Before we dive deeper into what you can do, let’s understand some of the most common types of wrongful deaths. Of course, the list below does not represent all forms of incidents that can result in a wrongful death but these are the most recurring ones:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Automobile accidents are among the leading causes of wrongful deaths. Distracted driving, drunk driving, reckless driving, not wearing seat belts, or avoiding protective gear (for motorcyclists) have all been correlated with wrongful death incidents.

Head-on collisions and rollover accidents are the most destructive of the lot, however, even rear-end crashes have resulted in the loss of life. The probabilities become even more inflated if the victim is involved in a motorcycle accident, pedestrian-car accident, or a trucking accident.

In all of such cases, the disparity between the sizes of the colliding parties is an important factor in elevating the fatality factor.

Personal injury claims for auto accidents involving wrongful deaths are not uncommon because the risk of death in traffic crashes is high enough throughout the USA, so much so that most states have not seen a single week without an accident fatality for years.

Workplace Accidents

Lack of adequate safety protocols in the workplace can make it a risky work environment. However, most people are forced to work under such conditions simply because of their financial needs, which force them to go ahead with their jobs regardless.

This does not absolve the employer from their responsibility of providing a safe working environment to the employees. If an accident does happen then the employer will have to bear the brunt of the legal force from the plaintiffs.

Shocking negligence or indifference can also make the at-fault party liable for punitive damages thus swelling up the compensation sum.

Medical Malpractice

Medical professionals and healthcare workers have to contend with loads of stress and a hectic work schedule daily but this does not give them the excuse of ignoring their patients’ needs. If any negligence on their part results in any harm to the patients, then it will be considered medical malpractice.

Even minor wrongful actions can cause someone’s death, i.e. administering the wrong injection or a much heavier dose than what was supposed to be used.

If the mistake was avoidable, then the doctor, nurse, or even the hospital can be sued for gross negligence leading to wrongful death.

Defective Product Liability

If the personal injury victim bought a product that was either defective or misleadingly labeled and that led to their death then the company will be held liable.

For instance, in the case of automobile accidents, many people get involved in a crash simply because their vehicles didn’t stop in time.

This, more often than we think, can happen because of an inherent design flaw or defect in the vehicle rather than negligence on part of the driver.

If such is the case then the manufacturer will be liable for the damages, and the survivors of the victim may even file a civil lawsuit against the responsible party if the defect led to wrongful death.

Filing Wrongful Death Claims In Massachusetts

Now comes the when, who, and how part.

The legal frameworks regarding personal injury law are variable throughout the USA, and you, as a citizen of Massachusetts will be bound by the local state laws. Although Massachusetts is a no-fault state, as noted earlier, you may still be able to demand compensation from the liable parties if a personal injury accident resulted in the death of a loved one.

However, as with all other states, there is a three-year wrongful death statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Massachusetts as well.

This means that you only have three years to file your claim and that too only if you are eligible for filing it. Thus there is no reason for you to delay contacting a team of competent wrongful death attorneys, seeking legal advice, and then proceeding with legal action.

This responsibility usually falls on the shoulder of the person who takes charge of all estate-related matters on behalf of the deceased (usually appointed in advance, or decided later), known as the executor of the estate.

If this individual (spouse, adult child, parent, etc.) fails to file the lawsuit within a three-year window, the courts will not hear the case.

What Damages Can You Claim In A Wrongful Death Case?

The deceased person, though not in this world anymore, still deserves justice for all that befell them. Thus, the law offers compensation rights to the estate of the deceased for all the monetary damages and non-economic losses that resulted due to wrongful death, such as:

  • Funeral expenses and burial costs
  • Economic damages such as medical bills and hospital expenses for the medical care received before death
  • Compensation for the loss of income (this applies to the surviving family members if they depended on the deceased)
  • Reimbursement for loss of consortium, love, and other relationships filled by the deceased
  • Compensation for the social roles and services filled by the deceased within their family circle

On top of this all, exemplary negligence demands exemplary punishment. Thus punitive damages may also be awarded to the deceased’s estate so that the negligent party is made to pay up for the insufferable loss their reckless actions incurred upon others.

The exact value of compensation varies from case to case but it may be anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to a six-digit sum!

Michael Kelly Are Here For You

Having to go through the death of a loved one is troubling enough without all the financial burdens it brings upon people.

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And, there is emotional pain and agony to contend with as well.

Such sorrows can cut through even the most thick-skinned people, let alone someone with deep emotional bonds to the deceased, i.e. a spouse, children, and parents.

Thus, the need for seeking fair compensation is not merely financial but is instead a matter of justice.

If you’re worried about being unable to pay the legal fees and other charges for experienced attorneys amid such challenging financial times then don’t let this keep you from seeking the legal help you need.

Our teams of experienced personal injury lawyers at Michael Kelly will help you without any upfront monetary obligations. We will work without any demand for consultation fees or other charges, instead, you’ll only have to pay us when you win the case because we offer our services on contingent fee arrangement.

Seems fair, right?

Call us today to start exercising your legal rights without delay!

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Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.