Who can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit?
Compassionate Boston Area Attorney Assisting the Families of Accident Victims
The sudden and inexcusable loss of a loved one is a life-altering event. While no amount of money can make the family whole again, it can help those left behind cope with the financial burden that often results from this kind of loss. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein and Affiliates P.C., we have provided over two decades of compassionate legal guidance to personal injury victims and their families throughout Massachusetts. Our team has handled a wide variety of wrongful death cases including motor vehicle accidents resulting in fatalities. We understand what you are coping with, and how important it is for you to have a diligent and responsive Boston wrongful death lawyer to assist you with pursuing the settlement or judgment that you may be entitled to.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit in Massachusetts
Each state has enacted its own approach to wrongful death claims, including designating who can bring a wrongful death suit. In some states, the surviving relatives can stand in the shoes of the decedent to bring a personal injury claim on his or behalf. In Massachusetts and many other states, however, only the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim to recover damages for the incident. In order for the administrator or executor to bring a claim, he or she must show that the decedent would have been able to bring a personal injury claim had he or she survived. Just like in regular personal injury claims, there is a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims, which means that the administrator or executor must file the claim within three years of the date that he or she knew or should have known that the claim was available.
A wrongful death action can be based on virtually any type of personal injury claim. In the lawsuit, the administrator or executor will need to prove the same elements that the decedent would have needed to prove had he or she lived. In essence, the administrator or executor stands in the shoes of the decedent to assert the personal injury claim on his or her behalf. The most common example is a motor vehicle accident that results in a fatality. In order to prevail, the administrator or executor must show that the defendant failed to drive with the appropriate level of care and skill and that the decedent died as a result of this failure. Premises liability claims such as slip and falls are another common situation in which wrongful death claims arise. Here, the administrator or executor must show that the property owner failed to maintain his or her premises in good working condition or that he or she failed to post sufficient warnings.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Action
After establishing that the defendant is liable for the decedent’s death, there are a variety of damages that the estate can recoup. The most common category of damages that Massachusetts residents claim is funeral and burial expenses. The surviving family members can also seek compensation for the reasonable expected income that the decedent would have earned had he or she not passed away, as well as compensation for the loss of their loved one’s companionship, comfort, and support. In cases where the defendant acted recklessly, the court may also award punitive damages. This category of damages is designed to punish defendants for reckless conduct while discouraging others from engaging in the same conduct. A seasoned wrongful death lawyer can help you ensure that you seek the full amount of compensation that you and your family deserve following the unfortunate and untimely loss of your loved one.
Speak With an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney in Boston
At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein and Affiliates P.C., we are available to provide reliable and responsive legal guidance to individuals and families in areas around Boston, Cambridge, Lowell, Newton, Waltham, Somerville, Dedham, Quincy, Norwood, Brookline, and Peabody. Whether you are wondering who can bring a wrongful death suit and simply want more information about your legal rights, or you are ready to take action with the help of a skilled lawyer, we provide a free consultation so that you can learn more about our team and how we can assist you. We also understand how stressful this situation is for you and your family, and will do everything we can to ensure that you are treated with the compassion and respect that you need. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (800) 262-9200 or contact us online to get started.