At Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyer, we understand how devastating it can be to lose a loved one as a result of carelessness or wrongdoing on the part of another person or entity. Massachusetts’ law allows the surviving family members of deceased victims to take legal action after a death occurs, but we also understand that it may be overwhelming for you to cope with legalities when you are focusing on grieving.

At Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyer, we can take care of the legal issues for you and ensure your rights are protected while you focus on rebuilding your life after your loss. We can help you to obtain compensation from the responsible party by filing a wrongful death claim. However, since many people are unaware of what wrongful death claims are or of how they work after a death occurs, we also have prepared the answers to some frequently asked questions so you can better understand wrongful death claims.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a personal injury claim that is brought by surviving family members in the wake of a loved one’s death. If a person is in an accident and is injured, he files a civil lawsuit to recover monetary damages from the responsible person. A wrongful death claim simply lets a family member file the lawsuit instead since the accident victim has been killed.

Wrongful death lawsuits are the law in order to ensure that wrongdoers and negligent individuals cannot simply escape liability by causing the death of their victim. Wrongful death claims are also permitted by law in recognition of the fact that a death causes both economic and non-economic losses for family members. These losses should be borne by the person who caused the accident.

Which Family Members are Considered Survivors of a Wrongful Death?

Spouses and minor children are typically classified as survivors of a wrongful death accident. In some cases, however, this definition can be expanded to include other dependent relatives. The laws vary by state based on when family members are considered to be survivors and thus potentially eligible for wrongful death benefits.

Who Can Make a Wrongful Death Claim?

When someone is killed, his or her immediate family members can make a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. Laws differ slightly from state to state on who exactly constitutes immediate family. Spouses, parents and children are typically considered immediate family and can make a wrongful death claim. In some cases, grandparents, extended family members and legal dependents can also make a claim for wrongful death damages.

When Does the Wrongful Death Claim Have to be Filed?

To make a wrongful death claim after a death, you must file within three years of the date of death or within three years of the date when the executor or administrator knows (or should have known) that there is a potential legal claim to be made.

What Types of Compensation are Available in Wrongful Death Claims?

When you file a civil lawsuit and sue for wrongful death, you may obtain compensation for medical costs incurred before death and for lost income/wages that the deceased would have otherwise made over the course of his life, had he lived. You may also obtain monetary damages for the loss of companionship you endured, and for the actual funeral expenses that were paid out to bury the deceased.

In some types of wrongful death claims, such as medical malpractice claims, there may be a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages available (including damages for loss of companionship). Whether this cap applies or not will vary by case and you should consult with a Boston wrongful death attorney.

How Can Compensation be Obtained in a Wrongful Death Claim?

The surviving family members of a deceased victim may pursue one of several options for obtaining compensation in a wrongful death claim. One option may be to make a workers’ compensation claim if the death happened as a direct result of performing work.

If the death occurred on the job, then workers’ compensation is the only type of compensation that is available from the employer to family members of the deceased since workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy. However, if there was a third party partially responsible for the death, then that third party non-employer could be sued.

If the death didn’t happen on the job, then surviving family members can file a civil lawsuit against the person responsible for causing the death. Compensation can then be obtained by taking the case to trial and proving the defendant was negligent and caused the death. Compensation can also be obtained through negotiation or a fair and reasonable out-of-court settlement.

What Must You Prove in a Wrongful Death Claim?

You must prove that the defendant or responsible party was negligent, unreasonably careless or breached some legal obligation. You must then prove that the breach was the direct cause of the death that occurred. Finally, it is important to prove damages. This can be the hardest part, since it is difficult to show how the loss of your loved one has had a tangible, measurable impact. A Boston wrongful death attorney can help.

Are There Exceptions or People Who Cannot be Sued?

Employees cannot sue employers in wrongful death cases and family members cannot sue family members.

Getting Legal Help

Wrongful death cases are complex high-stake cases and your future financial security often hangs in the balance. It is very important to have a knowledgeable legal advocate representing your interests so you can protect your rights and maximize your compensation.

At Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyer, our experienced Boston wrongful death lawyers understand the ins-and-outs of wrongful death claims. We will fight for you at every step, from negotiating a settlement to going to trial, to ensure you obtain the compensation that you deserve. To schedule your free consultation and learn more about how we can help you, get in touch with us today at (617) 777-7777 or contact us online.

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