Just like most other states, the state of Massachusetts has its own laws governing lawsuits for wrongful death. These laws define what a wrongful death is, who can file a wrongful death claim with the court system, what damages can be awarded in a claim, and what the time limit is for filing such a claim. Below are the basic details of what you need to know about wrongful death claims in the state of Massachusetts.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Laws in Massachusetts define wrongful death as a death that is caused by another person or entity that results in individual’s death due to a reckless act, breach of warranty, or failure to exercise reasonable care. In all three cases, if the deceased person would have been able to file a personal injury case had he or she lived, there is likely the ability to file a wrongful death claim. In this aspect, a wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim. However, obviously, in a wrongful death claim, the injured person is not able to bring forth his or her own claim.
Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Massachusetts, laws require that the administrator or executor of the deceased person’s estate file a claim for wrongful death. This person is typically the person responsible for paying the deceased person’s debts, following the instructions of the will, and finalizing the estate. Damages received in the claim can be used to take care of the deceased person’s estate.
Wrongful death claims can be filed even if there are criminal charges stemming from the death. Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits that are filed by the estate of the deceased person and criminal cases are completely separate legal charges that are filed by the state.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
Just like other types of personal injury cases, there is a time limit for filing a wrongful death claim in Massachusetts. Wrongful death claims must be filed within three years of the date the person died, or within three years in which the administrator or executor knew that a wrongful death claim was an option. Failing to meet this required deadline can result in loss of ability to do so, which is why it is crucial to consult with a wrongful death attorney as quickly as possible.
Seek Legal Counsel Today
If your loved one died due to the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive compensation. Compensation can include loss of income, loss of companionship, funeral and burial expenses, and more. An experienced Massachusetts wrongful death attorney can make sure you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.