You can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Plymouth, MA, against someone who negligently or willfully caused the death of your loved one. If you are a representative of the deceased’s estate, you can file a lawsuit on behalf of the surviving family members and any other person affected by the sudden death.
When Can You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
You can file a wrongful death claim when your loved one suffers an accident only for them to die because of someone else’s intentional harm or negligence. In other words, what could have been a personal injury claim, turned into a wrongful death claim. Certain situations can turn a personal injury claim into a wrongful death lawsuit including:
- Intentional Harm
Take the example of the OJ Simpson case. He was acquitted of all murder charges in 1995 and because of the double jeopardy laws, it’s illegal to try someone for the same crime twice even if new evidence is found. However, a wrongful death lawsuit was brought against him and he was found liable for the deaths of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.
- Medical Malpractice
If a doctor doesn’t provide adequate care or fails to diagnose a condition resulting in death of the patient, then a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against him/her.
- Car Accident
If your loved one dies because of a car accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver responsible for the accident.
These are just a few examples of situations that can lead to wrongful death claims. You can file a wrongful death claim out of any personal injury situation that results in death. However, you cannot file a wrongful death claim for work related injuries that lead to death. The workers compensation system typically handles such situations.
What must be Proven in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In order to hold someone liable in a wrongful death claim in Plymouth, MA, you must show beyond reasonable doubt that they owed your loved one a duty of care, they breached this duty, their breach resulted in the death of your loved one and the death caused the damages that you are trying to recover.
Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim?
If you are a representative of the deceased’s real estate, you can file a claim on behalf of his/her survivors who had a close relationship with him/her. Massachusetts law only allows immediate family members to make wrongful death claims. These include:
- Parents of biological or adoptive children
- Adopted or biological children
- Same sex partners in a civil union
- Estate executor
There are exceptions to the rule if the deceased did not have a surviving parent, child or spouse.
What Damages are You Entitled to?
Damages in a Plymouth, MA, wrongful death lawsuit can compensate for:
- Reasonable burial and funeral expenses
- Counsel, advice, guidance, comfort, companionship and the care that your loved one would have provided to his/her family members
- The value of income your loved one could have reasonable expected to earn in their lifetime.
If the court finds the person liable for your loved ones death did it willfully, maliciously or acted negligently, you might be awarded punitive damages. You will receive a minimum of $5, 000 in punitive damages although there are instances where courts have awarded much higher amounts.
Punitive damages are not meant to compensate you for burial and funeral expenses, care and lost income; they are meant to punish the person responsible for the premature death of your loved one and to serve as a deterrent for such behaviors.
What is the Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Plymouth, MA?
The deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Massachusetts is three years from the date of death or from the date you knew a wrongful death claim was available. This date is very crucial when filing a death claim so you should speak to a Plymouth wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to make sure your claim is properly prepared and filed before time is up.
The Plymouth wrongful death lawyers at Kevin P Landry Law Offices will fight for your rights in your case. We always serve the best interests of our clients and help them collect the damages they need and deserve to move on with their lives. Contact us today to schedule your free initial legal consultation- 508-746-2700.