you might be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit
If you have lost a loved one to the negligence or outright misconduct of another individual or entity, including murder, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, wrongful death lawsuits follow criminal trials and require a lower standard of proof. Perhaps the most famous of these occurred in 1994 when O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murder in a highly publicized trial. However, he was later found liable in a wrongful death suit after the plaintiffs proved his responsibility for the murders by a preponderance of the evidence.
Massachusetts Wrongful Death Statutes
Wrongful death lawsuits may only be filed be the excecutor or administrator of the decedent’s estate. In order for an individual or entity to be held liable for wrongful death, it must be shown that the defendant caused the death in one of the following ways:
- A “wanton or reckless act”
- Breach of warranty
In each of the instances above, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed if the deceased would have been eligible to file suit for a personal injury claim had they lived. Therefore, most wrongful death lawsuits are fairly similar to personal injury claims in that negligence, recklessness, wantonness, or breach of warranty must be proven in order to pursue damages successfully.
In Massachusetts, wrongful death claims against the following entities are not allowed:
- Railroad companies (when the deceased was killed on or near the tracks)
- Streetcar companies (when the deceased was killed on or near the tracks where they don’t intersect a sidewalk)
While representatives of the victim’s estate are not eligible to file wrongful death claims in the instances above, there could be other legal action that they could take against those entities. Contact the Law Offices of George A. Malliaros to learn more.
Wrongful death lawsuit damages are determined by and compensate for the following:
- Lost income that the deceased would have been reasonably expected to have earned over the course of their lifetime
- The care and companionship that the deceased would have been reasonably expected to have provided their family members
- End of life expenses, including funeral expenses
Additionally, punitive damages could factor into a wrongful death lawsuit. These damages are not intended to compensate the victim’s family or estate but rather to punish the party responsible in order to send a message to that party and to the public at large. In order for punitive damages to be awarded, the court must find that the decedent’s death was caused by “malicious, willful, wanton, or reckless conduct.”
Contact the Law Offices of George A. Malliaros
If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death incident, we would like to extend our condolences to you and your family and offer our assistance during this difficult time. No amount of financial compensation could ever replace your loved one, but we can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit during this difficult time; we have the experience and track record to help resolve your family’s legal issues.
Please contact us today at (978) 452-6641 or complete the form on this page to receive a free consultation. Our contingent fee policy ensures that you do not pay a dime in fees or expenses unless or until we are able to achieve a recovery on your behalf.