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Boston Wrongful Death Lawyer

Key Takeaways About Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney

  • Wrongful death is legally recognized as a situation where a person’s death is caused by the careless, reckless, or intentional actions of another. Unlike criminal cases, which seek to punish the wrongdoer with imprisonment or other penalties, wrongful death claims are civil actions.
  • The executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate, typically named in the will or appointed by the courts, can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Compensation is directed to surviving family members like spouses, children, parents, and siblings.
  • In wrongful death lawsuits, damages in Boston cover loss of income, services, companionship, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. We pursue maximum compensation, including punitive damages for egregious conduct.
  • In Massachusetts, you have three years from your loved one’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Our personal injury attorneys are here to guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected within this timeframe.

Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Massachusetts

Losing a loved one is always a heart-wrenching experience, regardless of the circumstances. However, preventable deaths can be particularly challenging to come to terms with. To make matters worse, there are often medical bills and funeral expenses to deal with, which can compound the difficulties of the situation.

When a loved one is suddenly taken from us due to the negligence of another party, the grief can be overwhelming. In Massachusetts, such losses are recognized under the legal term of “wrongful death,” which acknowledges the severity of these tragic events.

If someone you love was killed in a fatal accident in Boston, you could be entitled to financial compensation to help your family through this challenging time due to these laws.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Under Massachusetts Law?

Wrongful death is when someone’s careless or reckless actions cause the death of another person. An action for wrongful death is brought in civil court. Wrongful death claims are different from criminal cases because of the potential punishment involved.

Wrongful death cases in Boston can be based upon:

  • Negligence
  • Willful, wanton and reckless acts
  • Breach of warranty
  • Negligence on the part of a common carrier

An action for wrongful death is designed to recover financial compensation for the victim’s family. These cases are supposed to hold the negligent party accountable, but won’t result in any criminal penalties. 

You can recover damages for wrongful death even if criminal charges are pending. On the other hand, you can also get compensation if the responsible party didn’t intend to hurt anyone.

Who Can File an Action for Wrongful Death in Boston, Massachusetts?

Wrongful Death claim

Under the Massachusetts wrongful death statute, only the estate executor or administrator can technically file a wrongful death suit. Usually, the executor is named in the deceased person’s will. The courts can also appoint someone to serve as executor or administrator.

While the executor will be the party that’s formally involved in the lawsuit, the decedent’s surviving family members are the parties who will ultimately be entitled to compensation. 

Family members who may receive compensation include:

  • A surviving spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Brothers and sisters
  • Other relatives if the decedent had no immediate family

If your close family member died in an accident, you don’t have to wait to take action. You can call our law offices anytime. We’ll make sure you get the legal advice you need to hold the parties responsible for your loved one’s death accountable.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

wrongful death

While money might be the last thing on your mind, taking legal action could be the only way to protect your family’s future.

Getting the money you need isn’t always easy when insurance companies are involved. The insurance company might put on a friendly face, but their primary motive is protecting their own profit margin–not protecting your family.

When you choose a Boston personal injury lawyer at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, you’ll have someone whose primary goal is protecting your interests.

When you hire us, you’ll have an wrongful death lawyer who will:

  • Investigate to find out who was responsible for your loved one’s accident
  • Get the proof needed to back your claim
  • Hire experts and specialists who can testify to strengthen your case
  • Fight back when the insurance company blames your loved one for causing the accident
  • Negotiate to recover the full amount your family deserves

Our legal team has over 100 years of collective experience helping Boston accident victims. We’ll put in the hard work necessary to maximize your compensation award. All you have to do is call to schedule a free consultation with a Boston wrongful death attorney who can help.

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What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered for Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

The damages available in wrongful death cases are slightly different than those available in personal injury cases. To recover medical expenses incurred prior to your loved one’s death, you’ll have to file a survival action. The wrongful death statute in Massachusetts specifically outlines the types of damages you can recover.

Our lawyers will fight to recover the maximum compensation available under Massachusetts laws, which may include compensation for:

  • Loss of reasonably expected income
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of protection and care
  • Loss of your loved one’s assistance, comfort, and guidance
  • Loss of companionship and society
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Pain and suffering

Punitive damages may also be available if your loved one’s death was caused by the defendant’s malicious, willful, wanton, or reckless conduct. Courts in Massachusetts rarely award punitive damages. When they are available, the sole purpose is to punish the defendant for the acts that led to your loved one’s death. 

For example, punitive damages might be available if your loved one was killed by a drunk driver in a DUI accident.

Who is Liable for Paying Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?

fatal car accident

You might only have a few details about what caused your loved one’s accident.

At Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, our wrongful death lawyers will investigate to identify every responsible party.

Depending on the circumstances, you might be entitled to compensation from:

  • An at-fault driver in a fatal car accident
  • The employer of someone who was negligent
  • Property owners
  • Manufacturers of defective products
  • Negligent doctors or healthcare providers
  • And more

Multiple parties might even share the blame. Our Boston wrongful death attorneys in will work to make sure every responsible party is held fully accountable for your loss.

What if Your Loved One is Blamed for Causing the Fatal Accident?

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Once the insurance companies learn that you intend to sue for damages, they’ll quickly start looking for ways to minimize their financial liability. “Blame the victim” is one common insurance tactic.

It can be especially effective in fatal accident cases where the victims aren’t around to defend themselves.

If you don’t fight back, you could lose your right to compensation entirely. Massachusetts follows modified comparative negligence rules. That means accident victims can recover compensation if they were partly to blame for the accident as long as they weren’t mostly to blame.

In other words, you can recover compensation as long as your loved one was less than 51% responsible. However, your compensation award can be reduced to account for any degree of shared fault.

It’s important to get legal help if shared fault becomes an issue in your case. Our Boston wrongful death lawyers will work to downplay any role your loved one played in the accident. We want to make sure your family takes home as much money as possible. 

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

It can be hard to imagine starting a legal battle when you’re still grieving the loss of a loved one. Our wrongful death attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP understand this. We’ll do everything we can to make the legal process run as smoothly as possible for your family.

However, it’s important to remember that you don’t have an unlimited amount of time to take action. The Massachusetts statute of limitations in wrongful death cases is only three years. The clock usually starts running on the date your loved one died. If your executor doesn’t take action within three years, you lose your right to compensation.

Sometimes it takes a while to find out what caused a fatal accident. The law makes an exception for situations where the executor didn’t know that they had grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In these situations, courts will hear the case within three years of the date when the executor reasonably should have known about their right to sue for damages.

How Our Boston Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help

At Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, our wrongful death attorneys represent the families of all types of fatal accidents in Boston. Some of the leading causes of wrongful death include:

If you have lost a loved one unexpectedly due to an accident, you do not have to handle the aftermath alone. Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, a Boston-based legal team with over 100 years of combined experience, has aided numerous families in receiving appropriate compensation. In addition, our firm can assist with funeral expenses for qualifying cases. We provide top-notch legal representation with empathy during this difficult time. Our team has secured several million and multi-million dollar outcomes in wrongful death lawsuits. Learn how we can assist you by contacting us for a free consultation about your Boston wrongful death case at (617)-391-9001. Remember, we only charge a fee if we secure a recovery on your behalf.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Deaths in Boston

What is the difference between wrongful death and negligence?

Wrongful death refers to a civil claim brought by surviving family members against a party whose actions led to someone’s death, seeking compensation for their losses. Negligence, on the other hand, is a legal concept used to establish fault by proving that a person or entity breached a duty of care owed to another, resulting in harm or injury. While wrongful death cases often involve allegations of negligence, not all negligence cases result in wrongful death claims.

How to prove wrongful death?

To establish wrongful death in Boston, MA, you typically need to provide evidence demonstrating that the defendant’s actions or negligence directly caused the death of the victim. This often involves gathering documentation such as police reports, witness statements, medical records, and expert testimony. Additionally, showing the financial and emotional impact on surviving family members, along with evidence of the deceased’s contributions to their family, can strengthen the case.

How much is a wrongful death lawsuit worth in Boston, MA?

The worth of a wrongful death lawsuit in Boston, MA, varies widely based on factors such as the deceased’s age, earning potential, medical expenses, and the emotional impact on surviving family members. Additionally, factors like the defendant’s liability and available insurance coverage also play a significant role in determining the potential value of the case. Consulting with an experienced wrongful death attorney can provide a better estimate based on the specific details of the case.

How are wrongful death settlements paid out?

In Boston, wrongful death settlements are typically paid out through either a lump sum payment or a structured settlement arrangement. With a lump sum payment, the entire settlement amount is paid upfront. Alternatively, structured settlements involve periodic payments over time, providing a steady income stream to surviving family members. Consulting with a wrongful death lawyer can help determine the most suitable payment option based on individual circumstances and financial needs.

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