What does it mean to sue someone for wrongful death?
When death visits a family, it can leave everybody devastated, primarily if it resulted from unnatural causes and was abrupt. It is unfair for you and your family to suffer in the silence of somebody else who caused the death, whether intentionally or through negligence.
When seeking justice for the premature death of a family member, they will have to comply with some strict procedural requirements. Even if your loved one’s death resulted from another person’s negligence, you must file the proper forms, meet strict deadlines, provide proof, among other requirements. Working with a wrongful death lawyer can help make things much easier.
A skilled Personal Injury attorney, is committed to representing families whose loved ones died due to another person’s negligence.
- Filling necessary documents within legal timelines and correctly
- Gathering evidence
- Identifying all liable parties
- Finding the right expert witnesses
- Valuing all your damages (both economic and non-economic)
- negotiating with insurance carriers on your behalf
- Fighting all the way to the court, where necessary
What is wrongful death law?
Wrongful death lawsuits or claims are intended to hold the at-fault party accountable by offering financial compensation to the deceased’s family. You can file claim damage for wrongful death damages even if the criminal part of the case is still pending.
Conversely, you can also receive financial compensation even if the liable party didn’t intend to kill anyone. A driver who kills a pedestrian, a passenger, or another motorist while speeding can be considered negligent and reckless and can face wrongful death charges. Some of these cases involve:
- Defective products
- Distracted driving
- Failure to maintain vehicle
- DUIs or OUIs
- Unskilled/untrained motorists and motorcyclists
- Dog bites
- Failure to yield
- Slip and Fall accidents
- Rage driving
- Defective auto parts
- Workplace accidents (for example, construction site accidents)
Medical malpractice and negligence situations can be grounds for wrongful death claims; these cases often have numerous, potentially liable parties. The actions of a doctor, nurse, supporting staff, the conditions of the health facility, and other issues often come into play. Medical malpractices in such instances that can lead to wrongful deaths include:
- Botched surgery
- delayed diagnosis
- Childbirth injuries
- Failure to treat
- Improper reading of a patient’s medical chart
- A defective medical device or equipment
- Prescription drug errors.
- Untimely C-section
- wrong amount of anesthesia
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- procedural or surgical errors
Your lawyer will rely on some types of evidence to prove accountability in your claim, including:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Photos of the scene, especially for accidents
- Surveillance recordings
- The police report
- The outcomes chemical tests or phone records conducted to prove a DUI and constructed driving accidents
- dashcam footage
- A statement from an accident reconstruction specialist
Damages in wrongful death claims
Your wrongful death out of court settlement or lawsuit can offer you and your other surviving loved ones various forms of compensation that are called “damages” in legal terms. Common wrongful death damages include:
It is common for someone to spend some time in the hospital before taking their last breath after an accident. Regrettably, these expenses do not disappear just because the treatments couldn’t save your loved one’s life. Allowing your family to shoulder the burden of medical bills after the wrongful death of a loved one is unfair. A lawyer can help you make the person liable for the death of your loved one pay medical expenses under such circumstances.
Unforeseen funeral and burial expenses can take a substantial financial toll on your family. Most burials and cremations in USA costs thousands of bucks—not to mention funeral arrangements that often involve flowers and funeral services.
Loss of income
The demise of a family member can leave the entire family struggling financially, especially if the person was the main breadwinner in the household. While you may not have medical or burial expenses to clear, the abrupt loss of an income source can leave the family straggling to stay afloat financially.
Loss of consortium
The above-discussed damages are quantifiable. You can compute the loss of income, expected earning capacity, funeral expenses, and medical costs. However, it may be impossible to quantify the pain of losing a loved one. You cannot measure in monetary terms things such as:
- Pain and suffering
- A spouse’s love
- Replacement of a parent’s role as a guardian
Loss of consortium is an example of general (or non-economic) damages. It refers to the intangible costs of losing a loved one. There’s no one standard formula for valuing non-economic or general damages. However, if the surviving children or spouse of a person who died due to another person’s negligence is claiming loss of consortium, their lawyer can help them ask the court to consider things such as:
A marriage certificate copy
- The loving family and the stability of the marriage
- Statements from mental health specialists
- The spouses’ living arrangements
- Journal entries describing the struggles you or your children now face;
- The amount of companionship and care and the children and the surviving spouse received
- The deceased’s life expectancy
- The depression and stress the family went through after the death
Who can file for compensation after a wrongful death?
According to MA’s General Laws, the administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate is the party responsible for bringing a wrongful death to the court’s attention.
Under law, the administrator or executor will likely be the person responsible for:
- following orders left in the dead’s last will and testament
- paying the deceased’s final debts
- managing the deceased’s estate
Damages awarded will be forwarded to the surviving family members of the deceased. However, there are some factors to consider when allocating damages to each beneficiary. They include the beneficiaries:
- life expectancy
- relationship with the deceased
- the deceased’s wealth
A spouse can claim damages including pain and suffering, lost income, loss of consortium, loss of support, loss of earning capacity, and loss of protection.
The dead’s minor kid may receive compensation for suffering, pain, loss of a companion, instruction, care, leadership, protection, and advice.
If the departed was still a minor, their parents might claim compensation for damages, including:
- mental pain and suffering
- punitive damages
- loss of companionship
- funeral and burial
- psychological expenses
What is the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case?
In MA, there are a Statute of Limitations (the deadline to beat when filling cases) which will apply to your wrongful death cases. MGL Ch. 229, § 2 allows families three years to commence an action, from when their loved one died or the date the administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate discovered the cause of death.
Because if you miss the filing deadline for a wrongful death case can prevent you from ever claiming compensation, you should begin the process as soon as possible. Get in touch with an experienced to allow them to preserve crucial evidence and launch a further investigation.