The passing of a loved one is already a difficult and emotional event for anyone to endure. When your loved one’s death is caused by someone else’s negligence, your grief may be accompanied by anger and despair because your loved one was taken by the carelessness of another party.
A loved one’s passing can also place a significant financial burden on you and your family. You deserve the responsible party to be held accountable for your loved one’s death. Fortunately, the law in Massachusetts allows families to recover compensation and justice from those persons and entities whose carelessness, recklessness or other wrongful acts causes a loved one’s death.
For more than 30 years, the Brockton wrongful death lawyers of The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan have fought to secure justice for the families of those killed by another’s negligence or recklessness. Our family-owned firm strives to provide each of our clients with exceptional service. We have a long track record of successfully obtaining maximum compensation for families pursuing wrongful death claims in Massachusetts.
You and your family will never be just another case to us. We care about what you are going through during this difficult time. We answer any questions you may have. We take the time to regularly communicate with you to keep you updated on the progress of your case.
Contact us today to set up a free case evaluation. Learn more about your legal rights and options when you and your family have lost a loved one due to someone else’s wrongful acts.
What Is Considered a Wrongful Death?
A person’s passing is considered a wrongful death when the death is caused by someone else’s negligence or other misconduct. The entity or individual responsible for a person’s death may be held responsible in a civil action. The civil action can compensate the deceased person’s estate and surviving family for damages caused by the death.
A wrongful death can arise from many circumstances that could have been a personal injury claim if the person had lived. A wrongful death can be caused by a motor vehicle accident, tortious assault and battery, medical malpractice, exposure to a dangerous or toxic substance, a premises liability accident, or a product liability accident.
Wrongful death can also arise from criminal activity. However, causing a wrongful death is not itself a crime. It’s also important to remember criminal and civil matters are separate. Even if someone was not charged or acquitted in criminal court, they could still be held civilly liable.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Examples of accidents that can lead to a victim’s wrongful death in Brockton include:
- Car accidents
- Uber/Lyft accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
When someone’s actions or omissions directly and proximately cause another person’s passing, that constitutes a wrongful death. Our firm can help your family no matter what circumstances led to your loved one’s wrongful death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Brockton?
In Massachusetts, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased person. Typically, a surviving family member such as a spouse, child or sibling will serve as an administrator or executor.
The administrator or executor files suit on behalf of the deceased person’s estate. The surviving family members can use a wrongful death action to recover compensation for their damages.
Surviving family members entitled to recover compensation in a wrongful death claim include:
- A spouse
- Descendants of a deceased person’s children
- Next-of-kin, such as siblings, parents or grandparents
Damages that would have gone to the deceased person are instead distributed as an asset of the person’s estate.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
We appreciate that no amount of financial compensation can replace a loved one, but as attorneys, we also understand that it is important to hold parties responsible for their conduct. Even when there are no grounds for a criminal action, or when someone has been found innocent of a crime, you may still have the right to pursue civil action against someone else.
The purpose of a civil action is to recover for your actual financial losses, and future losses. Punitive damages are sometimes awarded to send a message that a certain type of behavior will not be tolerated. Only a prosecutor can charge someone with a crime, but anyone who has suffered a wrongdoing due to intentional acts or the negligence of another person can file a civil lawsuit.
In wrongful death cases, surviving family members can sue to recover for:
- Medical expenses arising from your loved one’s last injury or illness caused by the at-fault party or parties
- Lost wages for any time your loved one missed from work prior to the death
- Loss of future earnings
- Conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased person prior to death
- Loss of consortium (loss of companionship)
- Funeral expenses
- Punitive damages of not less than $5,000 in cases where the decedent’s death was caused by the malicious, willful, wanton or reckless conduct of the defendant or by the gross negligence of the defendant
Other damages you may be entitled to recover under Massachusetts’ wrongful death damages law include: “services, protection, care, assistance, society, companionship, comfort, guidance, counsel, and advice of the decedent to the persons entitled to the damages recovered.”
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Brockton?
Generally speaking, you have three years from the date of your loved one’s death, or three years from the date you knew or should have known of the factual basis for a wrongful death claim, in which to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Massachusetts. However, a wrongful death claim arising due to a defective road, bridge or other public way must be brought within two years of your loved one’s passing.
If you are bringing a wrongful death claim against the state government or a municipal government, different rules apply. Before you can file a wrongful death lawsuit, you must provide notice of your claim within two years of the date of your loved one’s death or the date on which you discovered or should have discovered the wrongful death claim.
If you file an untimely lawsuit, the court will almost certainly permanently dismiss your case. If that happens, you will lose your right to seek compensation in court.
How Our Brockton Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help Your Family
Losing a loved one is already a difficult period for you and your family. Let The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan fight on your family’s behalf to recover the compensation and justice you deserve. When you choose our firm to help your family with your wrongful death claim, we will:
- Conduct our own independent investigation into the circumstances of your loved one’s passing.
- We will recover evidence we can use in your case that will show how your loved one’s death occurred and who may have been at fault.
- Identify liable parties and potential sources of compensation (such as insurance coverages) for you and your family.
- Collaborate with experts (such as accident reconstruction experts, engineering experts, medical experts, and vocational and financial experts) who can help us build persuasive legal arguments for your case.
- File claims for compensation with at-fault parties and insurance companies.
- Aggressively negotiate for a settlement that provides your family with fair and full compensation.
- Take your case to court and to trial when those responsible for your loved one’s death will not settle fairly.
- Provide vigorous legal advocacy in court and at trial (and appeal if necessary) to help get you and your family the justice you deserve.
Our overriding goal is to ensure that the lives of you and your family are made easier during the difficult time of grieving. We are ready to talk whenever you are. Many families actually find peace and comfort in taking steps to seek justice on behalf of their lost loved one.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Brockton wrongful death lawyer from The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan. Learn how our firm can help your family recover after losing a loved one due to the wrongful acts of another.