A “wrongful death” is a death caused by the negligent or willful misconduct of another. These claims are civil in nature and aim to hold the responsible party financially accountable for a family’s loss.
There is no way that a lawsuit could ever replace the loss of a loved one. Due to the clear emotional aspects of such a claim, such matters need to be dealt with carefully and with compassion. Family members who have lost loved ones are faced with serious and difficult questions at a very stressful and confusing time. Some of these issues are immediate and some are long term. Some are emotional and some are financial. Many people who are thrown in this situation do not have any experience dealing with such heartbreak and need a lot of guidance.
At Brooks & Crowley, LLP, we can help people navigate their way through these difficult times. We understand what loved ones are going through and how the law in Massachusetts can help them. A lawsuit is secondary to keeping a family intact and trying to move forward.
In Massachusetts, there are several types of damages that family members are allowed to recover in a wrongful death case:
- Funeral expenses;
- Lost wages that the deceased would have earned had his or her life not ended prematurely;
- Medical bills incurred as a result of the event causing death; and
- Emotional loss and grief.
As we mentioned previously, attempting to put a value on a loved one’s life is a very difficult task. The law considers several factors that offer guidance to a jury. Most of these factors are proven by loved ones providing details of the deceased’s life.
- Age. The deceased’s age at the time of death is a factor to be considered. How much of a person’s life expectancy remained at the time of death?
- Family Structure. Did the deceased have people, such as minor children, who depended upon him or her for care, guidance and /or financial support?
- Health. This includes physical and mental health. How healthy was the deceased? Did mental or physical health factor into the event causing death?
- Societal Value. What was the deceased’s value to their family and community? What was the deceased’s contribution to family and the community?
- Contribution to Death. Did the deceased actions increase the probability or injury or death? Could the deceased have acted differently under the circumstances?
This is a very brief outline of a complex legal matter. Please feel free to call us at 781-277-7321 to discuss other important pieces of a potential claim.
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