When someone suffers injuries caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another, they are often entitled to seek compensation from the responsible party. When the negligence or wrongdoing causes death, the deceased person may not be able to file a lawsuit, but the surviving family members may do so. This is known as a wrongful death lawsuit.
If a loved one in your family died under circumstances you believe could have been prevented, it is recommended to speak with a Cambridge wrongful death lawyer. A compassionate attorney with experience handling wrongful death claims may evaluate the circumstances and explain your options, allowing you to choose the right course of action for your family.
Recovering Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case
Most legal remedies convert harm suffered into monetary compensation. While this is easy to understand in cases where someone damages the property of another, when death is involved it seems impossible to think of accepting money in place of a lost family member. However, compensation is not intended to replace a loved one, but only to help decrease the effects of the loss and shift the burden from the suffering family to the person who caused the harm.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 229 Section 2 states that family members could receive compensation for the loss of the following factors that would have been provided by the deceased:
- Expected income
- Society and companionship
- Guidance, counsel, and advice
In addition, the statute also allows for the recovery of funeral and burial expenses. In rare circumstances where death is due to gross negligence or willful, wanton or reckless conduct, your family may be entitled to punitive damages, which are extra funds assessed as a penalty to deter future wrongdoing.
Division of Recoverable Compensation
The wrongful death statute specifies that only immediate family members are intended to be the beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim. If the deceased person is survived by a spouse but no children or grandchildren, the recovery goes solely to the spouse.
If there is a surviving spouse and one child or grandchild, then the compensation is split evenly by the two. If there is a spouse and two or more children or grandchildren, the spouse receives one third of the compensation and the remainder is shared amongst the children (or their children in certain circumstances).
If there is no surviving husband or wife, then the amount recovered in a personal injury lawsuit goes to the “next of kin” under state law.
Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Cambridge?
A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by the administrator or executor of the deceased person’s estate. The administrator is someone named to oversee payment of the deceased person’s debts and distribution of assets. It may be a family member or someone entirely unrelated to your family.
A wrongful death action usually must be filed within three years of the death. However, in rare cases, if it took time for it to become apparent to the administrator that there might be a claim for wrongful death, the statute of limitations period would not begin to run until the date the administrator knew or should have known they had grounds for a wrongful death claim. For assistance with filing a claim within the legal time frame, family members of the deceased person should contact a Cambridge wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
Speak with a Cambridge Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Many times, when families suffer the untimely loss of a loved one, they just want answers. They want to know how it happened and if it could have been prevented. It takes investigation to find the answers.
A knowledgeable Cambridge wrongful death lawyer may be able to conduct the investigation and provide peace and stability for the future. To learn your options, call now.