Nothing can prepare a family for the loss of a loved one, especially when that loss was caused by another’s negligence and could have been prevented.
The Boston wrongful death attorneys at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers are dedicated to helping families through the grieving process while pursuing the financial security you need to move forward. If a family member died due to the carelessness of another, please call us at 800-577-5188 or contact us online to arrange your free consultation.
What is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case intended to provide compensation for loved ones of the deceased individual when the individual’s death was the result of another party’s negligence.
Wrongful death cases are not criminal matters, and it is not necessary to prove that the at-fault party intended to harm the decedent. Wrongful death cases often arise as a result of:
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Defective products
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability/slip-and-fall accidents
Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, a wrongful death claim can only be filed by the “personal representative” of the deceased. There are two types of personal representatives:
- The executor of an estate (named in the decedent’s will)
- An administrator of the decedent, which must be petitioned in probate and granted by the court
Executors and administrators perform the same estate management functions; the primary difference is how the titles are appointed. If compensation is awarded in a wrongful death case, the estate collects awarded money and distributes it according to the deceased’s will.
If there’s no will, a court will determine the future of the estate using Massachusetts’s intestate succession rules. The order of preference commonly awards compensation to survivors in this order:
- Next of kin
If your loved one passed away without a will, our attorneys can help you file the necessary paperwork—without additional cost—to create an estate and have you appointed as the administrator. There is a charge for the filing fee in these circumstances.
Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases
No amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one, but a successful wrongful death claim can provide financial relief to survivors. In Massachusetts, compensation in wrongful death cases may include money for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of expected income
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
There are limitations to Massachusetts’s compensation rules related to wrongful death cases. For example, there’s a $500,000 damage cap in medical malpractice cases, and punitive damages are only awarded if the death was caused by malicious or reckless conduct. There may be ways around this cap, and your attorney will help you understand your compensation expectations based on the specifics of your case.
Statute of Limitations in Massachusetts Wrongful Death Cases
According to the Massachusetts statute of limitations, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the death, or within three years of the date the personal representative knew—or should have known—a wrongful death claim was viable.
Despite the three-year window, it’s in your best interests to act swiftly in filing a wrongful death claim. In most cases, insurance providers will launch immediate investigations and attempt to avoid or limit compensation.
Working with an experienced wrongful death lawyer can be instrumental in recovering the financial peace of mind you and other surviving family members need.
To schedule your free consultation and learn how we can help you, call Jason Stone Injury Lawyers today at 800-577-5188 or contact one of our Boston-area locations online. We can meet you in person or via Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts.
Jason Stone Injury Lawyers is the only Boston law firm to offer the Stone Cold Guarantee®, which includes our pledge that we don’t get paid until you get paid.