Framingham, MA Wrongful Death Lawyer
The passing of a loved one is always difficult to process, but losing a family member because of someone else’s negligent behavior can be extremely painful. In such situations, you should speak to an attorney about getting compensation and justice for your family.
The statute of limitations on wrongful death claims in Massachusetts is only 3 years. Considering that many families take time to put funeral arrangements together and mourn before speaking to an attorney, time might be running short. A wrongful death lawsuit might help you claim damages for monetary losses, emotional anguish and turmoil, and possibly punitive damages. While various surviving family members may be beneficiaries in a wrongful death lawsuit, only a personal representative or administrator of the deceased’s estate can file the lawsuit. To start a wrongful death claim, speak to a lawyer about how your loved one passed, and they can help you identify damages and get justice.
Arrange for an evaluation of your claims with our wrongful death attorneys free of charge by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407.
When to Begin a Wrongful Death Claim in Framingham, MA
In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is a mere 3 years. This means that plaintiffs have 3 years to file their claims, or they lose their right to sue. The deadline starts from the date of your loved one’s death, not necessarily the date they were injured. This is an important caveat, as some wrongful death cases involve loved ones who passed away days, weeks, or longer after being initially injured.
While 3 years sounds like plenty of time to find an attorney, evaluate your claims, and file the lawsuit, the deadline is tighter than you realize. Many wait a bit after their family member passes before speaking to an attorney. Grieving a loved one is hard enough without also worrying about a lawsuit. Alternatively, you might not seek legal advice immediately because you do not realize your loved one’s passing was wrongful.
If you are unsure whether you have a wrongful death claim, you should still consult an attorney. A wrongful death may result when someone passes away because of another person’s intentional or negligent behavior. Car accidents, medical injuries, unsafe property conditions, work accidents, and even criminal acts of violence are common reasons for many wrongful death claims.
Possible Damages Recoverable in Framingham, MA Wrongful Death Cases
Civil claims where death is involved often come with high damages, both economic and emotional. Pecuniary losses may be substantial. Wrongful death cases often involve claims for damages related to burial and funeral expenses and other end-of-life arrangements.
On top of typical costs related to losing a loved one, you can also claim economic damages for losses suffered by your loved one before they passed away. This is common in cases where the deceased person did not immediately pass away from their injuries. For example, a person might remain in the hospital for days or weeks after a bad car wreck before succumbing to their injuries. You can claim their hospital bills in your economic damages related to their wrongful death. Not only that, but you can claim any pain and suffering your loved one might have gone through before passing on. Generally, damages related to your loved one’s losses and injuries are paid into their estate.
Non-economic damages are just as important as economic losses. Losing a loved one under wrongful circumstances often causes great emotional and psychological pain. Family members can claim the loss of companionship, consortium, and support as part of their non-economic injuries.
You should also talk to your lawyer about punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded only in very limited circumstances, and cases involving wrongful deaths tend to have the best chance of being awarded punitive damages. You may receive punitive damages of at least $5,000 if the defendant acted maliciously, willfully, or recklessly or if gross negligence was involved. Punitive damages are designed to punish defendants for their actions, and the more outrageous or shocking the defendant’s actions were, the greater your punitive damages might be.
People Eligible to File Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Framingham, MA
Technically, being an immediate family member of the deceased person does not automatically allow you to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under the law, an administrator or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must file the claim.
Generally, estate administrators or representatives are family members appointed to the position by the deceased person’s will. However, other people might be named instead, like attorneys who help prepare the will or even non-family members like close friends.
Even though family members cannot file the case without an estate administrator or representative, they are usually still beneficiaries and may be awarded damages for their losses.
If you are unsure who the estate administrator is or believe there was never an administrator or representative appointed, speak to an attorney. Our wrongful death lawyers can have the court appoint a representative so you can have the case filed and get justice and fair compensation for your family.
How to Start a Wrongful Death Case in Framingham, MA
One of the hardest aspects of a wrongful death lawsuit is getting started. It is reasonable to be unsure of your claim, and many people hesitate to take legal action because they are not sure if their loved one’s passing was truly wrongful. Even if you are unsure, speak to an attorney.
Your lawyer can review your claims and help you determine if your loved one’s passing was truly wrongful. If it is, they can also help you find evidence to support your claims. Evidence will vary depending on how your loved one passed away, and having an experienced attorney to guide you is invaluable.
Contact Our Framingham, MA Wrongful Death Attorneys for Support
Schedule an assessment of your claims with our wrongful death attorneys for no cost by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407.