Quincy Wrongful Death Attorney
For most people, coping with the loss of a loved one is incredibly difficult. It is even more painful when a loved one died as a result of someone else’s negligence. The fact that the loss of life was preventable often arouses even greater emotions during the grieving process. In addition to the mental anguish, family of the decedent may have to deal with unexpected financial responsibilities.
While no amount of money can replace the tragic death of a loved one, Massachusetts laws protect the rights of those left behind by allowing them to seek compensation for the wrongful death. If you are in Quincy, MA, and recently suffered the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, we are here for you. Our well-qualified and experienced wrongful death attorneys at Riccio Law are committed to protecting your legal rights while helping you recover the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Claims in Quincy, MA
Some of the more common causes of wrongful death claims in Quincy include:
- Motor vehicle and other traffic accidents, including careless drivers killing pedestrians on crosswalks and truck drivers running over cyclists.
- Construction site accidents, including crane accidents.
- Medical malpractice, including failure to diagnose serious injuries such as a brain injury or neck fracture, and failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of terminal illnesses such as cancer.
- Defective products.
- Slip and fall accidents.
- Exposure to hazardous materials.
Massachusetts Wrongful Death Laws
According to Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L) Chapter 229, Section 2, a person may be liable for damages if their negligence caused the death of another person. An individual may also be liable if their “willful, wanton or reckless act” caused the death of another under circumstances such that the deceased could have recovered damages for personal injuries had the decedent survived. The law also holds any person or company liable for damages if their negligence, failure to exercise reasonable care, or a breach of warranty was the cause of another’s death.
Pursuant to M.G.L. Ch. 229 Section 1, the beneficiaries of a decedent’s estate permitted to recover are the surviving spouse, children of the deceased, and, if neither are applicable, the next of kin. Wrongful death claims must be brought through the deceased person’s estate by an executor or administrator. These are personal representatives for the estate appointed in the deceased’s will or by the court. The executor or administrator files the wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent’s beneficiaries, including surviving family members.
The statute of limitations for Massachusetts wrongful death claims is three years. As such, a lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the death or the date the estate’s executor or administrator first knew or should have known about the wrongful nature of the death. Massachusetts allows for punitive damages to be awarded in wrongful death claims. Punitive damages are additional payments the law permits a plaintiff’s estate to receive on top of compensatory damages in cases where the death was the result of gross negligence and/or willful, wanton, or reckless acts. Punitive damages are meant to serve as punishment for the liable party and intended to deter future similar behavior.
However, G.L. c. 229 s. 2 exempts certain individuals and institutions from wrongful death liability. While the law may permit other claims in these incidents, it does not allow wrongful death claims against the following:
- an employer when their employee dies on the job,
- a railroad operator/company when a person dies in an accident while walking on or near the train tracks contrary to the law, and
- a streetcar operator/company when the deceased person dies in an accident while on or near the tracks unless it is at a point where the tracks are within the limits of a highway (i.e., crossroads, sidewalks).
Quincy, Massachusetts wrongful death laws are complex and it is critical to have a skilled Quincy wrongful death attorney protecting your rights.
Recovering Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
In a wrongful death claim, damages may include compensation for loss of future earnings and financial support, reasonable compensation for the loss of companionship, love and moral support, and compensation for the victim’s medical expenses and burial costs. According to Massachusetts law, the defendant in a wrongful death case provides compensation to the deceased person’s family or estate.
Contact a Quincy Wrongful Death Attorney
While losing a loved one is painful, finding closure is that much more challenging when the death was a result of someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior. Frequently, wrongful death incidents leave the deceased person’s surviving family members suffering both emotional and financial distress. To make matters worse, the laws governing wrongful death claims are uniquely complex and must be strictly followed.
If you are in Quincy, MA, and another person or company’s negligence recently caused the wrongful death of a loved one, our experienced and skilled Quincy wrongful death attorneys at Riccio Law will guide you through the claims process while protecting you and your family’s rights. We will help hold the responsible person or entity accountable and get you the compensation you deserve for your loved one’s wrongful death. Contact our offices today to schedule a 100% free consultation and learn more about our services.