If a person’s death is caused by the negligent fault of another and could have been prevented, the law may view it as a potential wrongful death case. The law provides remedies for family members suffering the untimely loss of a loved one caused by another’s negligence or recklessness.
Compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit will not bring back the one who is gone. However, it may reduce the economic impact caused by the loss of support, guidance, and companionship.
If you are suffering the untimely loss of a loved one, it may be worthwhile to consult a Malden wrongful death lawyer. A compassionate personal injury attorney could discuss your options and help you determine your next steps.
Wrongful Death Defined
Section 2 of Chapter 229 of the Massachusetts General Laws sets forth the state’s wrongful death statute. This law provides for legal action when someone’s death is caused by:
- Willful, wanton, or reckless acts
- Defective products
The statute describes different damages that may be recovered from the party responsible for the factor that caused the wrongful death. These damages may include the value of lost income, services, care, companionship, guidance, and advice from the deceased person. The statute provides for recovery of funerals, medical costs, and other expenses.
If the death was “caused by the malicious, willful, wanton, or reckless conduct” or “gross negligence” of a person or company, a court may award punitive damages under this statute as well. Punitive damages are intended to punish wrongdoing and deter similar conduct. A Malden attorney may discuss what compensation for wrongful death may be appropriate.
The Statute of Limitations for a Malden Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit should be filed by an executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate within the statutory guidelines. In most cases, this action must be filed within three years of the date of death, as stated by the statute of limitations. Lawsuits filed after the statute of limitations expires may be dismissed.
If unusual circumstances prevented the executor or administrator from realizing they had grounds for a wrongful death action, the limitations period may be extended. In such a circumstance, they may have three years from the time they knew or should have known of the basis for the cause of action. A wrongful death attorney in Malden could help loved ones file a lawsuit.
Who Could Benefit from a Wrongful Death Claim?
The law specifies that a wrongful death action must be filed by the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate. As an experienced attorney could explain, the estate is a legal term describing all property owned by a person at the time of their death.
An individual must be appointed by the court to handle payment of final debts and distribute remaining assets according to the terms of a will or terms set forth by law. This person is the administrator or executor. While this person may be one of the beneficiaries entitled to recover damages in wrongful death cases, the executor or administrator is not entitled to recover damages simply because of the administrative position alone.
A wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the executor or administrator on behalf of the beneficiaries. Section one of Chapter 229 describes the parties who may recover. If the deceased person has a living spouse, only that spouse and their children may recover damages. If there is no living spouse, the “next of kin” is entitled to damages.
Consult a Malden Wrongful Death Attorney
A knowledgeable Malden wrongful death lawyer could hear the circumstances involved in your family’s case and help determine whether it would be wise to pursue a legal claim. An attorney could also explain other options you may have, such as seeking insurance compensation. To learn how a compassionate wrongful death lawyer may be able to assist your family, call us.