The death of a loved one is a truly traumatic experience, especially if that death was sudden and unexpected . The sudden loss of a loved one leaves families with emotional burdens and oftentimes financial ones. So what happens when the death of a loved one is the result of someone else’s accident? This is known in the legal world as a “wrongful death” and you may be entitled to compensation. In Massachusetts, in the event of a wrongful death, the family of a loved one “steps into their shoes” and collects compensation on behalf of the deceased. Those who have lost a loved one due to wrongful death may be eligible to receive compensation for medical costs, funeral costs, loss of income, and other expenses.
Massachusetts law states that a person or company may be liable for wrongful death if that death was caused by: 1) negligence (failing to exercise reasonable care); 2) a “wanton or reckless act,” or 3) a breach of warranty. In all three cases, a wrongful death claim may be filed if the deceased person could have filed a personal injury lawsuit based on the same incident, had he or she survived.
What this means, functionally, is that a wrongful death claim is similar to a standard personal injury claim. In both cases, the action or inaction of one party is the cause of the injury or death of another. Obviously, in a wrongful death case, the injured person is unable to sue the liable party. Rather, another party must bring the claim on behalf of the deceased person.