Need an Injury Attorney for a Massachusetts Wrongful Death Case?
Nobody expects to be involved in a serious accident. Nobody understands the pain that can be felt when you spend days, weeks, or months recovering from a terrible accident that turned your life upside-down. But what happens if you lose a loved one to the careless actions of others? What if you say goodbye to them for the last time as they’re leaving for work, only to find out that they have been involved in a catastrophic accident due to the negligence of another party? You may have a claim to recover.
When your loved one is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another party, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. There are many circumstances that call for wrongful death claims every year, from medical malpractice suits to motor vehicle accidents and more. But where do you begin with these cases? Who is permitted to file and what damages could you receive?
Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
There are 4 key elements that play a role in these unique injury cases. They include the following:
- Negligence: The death of your loved one was caused by the recklessness and carelessness of another party
- Breach of Duty: A duty was owed to the plaintiff, such as obeying traffic laws in a motor vehicle accident
- Causation: You must be able to show how the negligence caused the death
- Damages: Economic and non-economic damages resulted from the accident, such as hospitalization and medical costs, and funeral expenses
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Those who can file for wrongful death claims vary from state to state. Most states use a system known as the “Lord Campbell System,” which allows a claim to be brought by a designated beneficiary based on the relationship of the person and the deceased. This usually applies to a spouse or the children of the deceased. Some other included beneficiaries may include immediate family members, adopted children, siblings or grandparents, domestic partners, or any financial dependents who will suffer financially due to the death. Sometimes, a claim can be brought by the decedent’s estate to compensate for any losses that have resulted. Either way, you or your loved ones may be entitled to damages.
Different Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Case
There are two categories of damages in wrongful death claims.
In the first category, you may be able to receive damages experienced by the deceased from the moment the accident took place. For instance, what if your loved one was involved in a car accident and spent some time in the hospital before they passed away? You and your loved ones may be able to compensate for medical expenses, mental and physical pain and suffering, and funeral expenses.
In the second category, you may be able to receive damages caused by losses of others due to the victim’s death. This is meant to generally compensate family members who have been affected by their loss. For instance, if the deceased had a young child and supported them financially, they will now lose out on their mother or father’s income. You may be able to gain compensation to pay for this loss of income that affects a child in need. The same can be said for “loss of consortium or companionship” when a spouse no longer has the companionship of their husband or wife due to the loss.
Speak to an Attorney Today
When is it the right time to speak to an attorney? As soon as possible. After you have lost your loved one, you may feel helpless as you wonder how you will pay for certain aspects like funeral expenses, lost income, and the physical and mental suffering that you and your loved ones now suffer from because a loved one was taken from you too soon. It is important to get started on your case as soon as possible. Call today for more information on how an experienced attorney may be able to help.