Arlington, MA Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you recently lost someone close to you in an accident, you should talk to a lawyer as soon as you can. Accidents are often the result of someone’s inexcusable negligence, and they should be held responsible for your loved one’s wrongful death.
Wrongful death cases might involve numerous possible accidents, injuries, or wrongful actions taken by a defendant. While many cases involve unintentional accidents, others involve intentional acts of harm and violence. Damages in these types of claims are often quite high, as the loss of a family member may come with significant monetary and psychological costs. Although the loss of a loved one might affect many different people, only family members are allowed to pursue wrongful death claims. Evidence in your case should establish how the accident occurred and that it is the direct cause of the victim’s death. An attorney can help you go over the details and get started.
Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 and our wrongful death attorneys can schedule a free evaluation of your case and work to help your family get justice.
What Does a Wrongful Death Case Look Like in Arlington, MA?
One of the most challenging aspects of many wrongful death claims is determining that the passing of the deceased person was wrongful. For some, the answer to this question is more obvious, as the defendant’s wrongful actions are more overt. For others, the wrongful actions that caused the victim’s passing are harder to identify.
Generally, claims for wrongful death are like personal injury claims filed on behalf of someone who has passed away. The injuries at the heart of the case are those the deceased person could have sued for had they survived.
A wrongful death is sometimes more obvious in cases where the victim’s injuries and passing were very sudden. For instance, if you lost a family member in a car accident, it might be clear from the start that the other driver is responsible and should be held accountable. On the other hand, when a loved one passes away in the hospital after a long illness, family members might not realize the doctor was negligent and caused their patient to pass away.
If you are unsure whether your family member’s passing was wrongful, talk to an attorney. Our wrongful death lawyers have experience with numerous wrongful death claims and can assist you in determining whether legal action is warranted.
While wrongful death cases often stem from unintentional accidents, as mentioned before, many others come from violent criminal offenses. If you lose a loved one to violence, you can sue the aggressor. However, criminal cases tend to take priority, and your civil claims might have to wait until criminal proceedings are complete.
Damages You May Claim in Your Arlington, MA Wrongful Death Case
According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 229 § 2, the defendant in a wrongful death claim might be liable for various damages. First, they may be ordered to pay for pecuniary losses related to the deceased person’s passing. Second, they may be made to cover the costs of a burial and funeral. Finally, the defendant may be ordered to pay punitive damages depending on the situation.
Pecuniary losses include anything that costs the deceased person or their family money. A common claim in wrongful death cases is the cost of the deceased’s medical bills. If your loved one was injured in an accident and rushed to a hospital, they might have racked up significant medical bills before passing on. These costs should be covered by the person responsible for the accident. Economic losses might also include the deceased person’s income that their family will lose and the cost of any services provided by the deceased person to their family, like caregiving or child care.
Punitive damages may be available in cases where the court determines that the defendant acted intentionally, maliciously, with gross negligence, or with a wanton disregard for the safety of others. This is a high bar to meet, and punitive damages tend to be rare. The law holds that they must be worth at least $5,000 if they are awarded, but they may be valued at far more. These damages are designed to punish defendants for their heinous and shocking conduct.
People Allowed to Submit Wrongful Death Claims in Arlington, MA
Part of what makes a wrongful death case so significant is the sheer number of people who might be affected by the deceased’s untimely passing. Family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and community members are often grieving and want justice.
While numerous people might feel the terrible effects of a wrongful death, only certain people may be parties to the case. The people entitled to recover damages in a wrongful death case are described under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 229 § 1. Generally, spouses and children may recover damages after a family member’s passing. If the deceased person had no spouse or children, damages may be recovered by the next of kin.
Evidence You Can Use to Support Your Wrongful Death Claims in Arlington, MA
Evidence to support your wrongful death case should show how your loved one was injured and how those injuries directly caused their untimely passing. Exactly what kind of evidence you need to prove these points will depend on the nature of the accident.
If your loved one was injured in an accident of some kind, evidence from the accident scene may help us. For example, security camera footage might have captured the accident on video, showing how the defendant is responsible. We might also have witnesses from the accident testify about what they saw. If your loved one was injured by someone’s intentional, violent actions, we might need the weapon that was used to harm your loved one.
A major part of our arsenal of evidence is your loved one’s medical records. If they were treated at the hospital before succumbing to their injuries, those medical records may help us prove that the cause of death was their injuries caused by the defendant. If they did not make it to a hospital, autopsy records might be used.
Contact Our Arlington, MA Wrongful Death Attorneys to Discuss Your Claims
Call (617) 925-6407 and speak to our wrongful death attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan to arrange a free assessment of your case, and our team will work to assist your family during this difficult time.