The unexpected loss of a loved one is sure to be devastating. But before you can take action against those responsible for causing their death, you need to know the laws surrounding wrongful death lawsuits in Massachusetts, including who has the right to file the claim.
Below, we describe in greater detail who can file a Massachusetts wrongful death claim and other laws pertaining to wrongful death lawsuits that you should know before moving forward.
The Executor or Administrator of the Deceased Can File
In Massachusetts, only the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death claim. This is the individual who is responsible for fulfilling the requirements of the decedent’s will, paying off their remaining debts, and otherwise handling the details of their estate.
The deceased may have already named this person in their will, but in cases where the decedent did not have a will in place, the courts may appoint an executor to handle the decedent’s estate. This individual will then have the right to file the wrongful death lawsuit, as well.
In many cases, this individual will be the decedent’s surviving spouse, adult children, or parents, but every family and situation is different, so you will need to speak with your lawyer in order to determine who is legally able to file a wrongful death claim for the death of your loved one.
Other Massachusetts Wrongful Death Laws to Know
If you do have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will only have three years from the date of your family member’s passing to file the claim. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations, and failure to file within this timeframe will mean you have lost the opportunity to get justice for your loved one’s untimely death.
As you begin the wrongful death claims process, it is important that you are aware of the various types of damages that can be sought after in your lawsuit. Some of the most common financial losses include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses relating to the decedent’s fatal injuries
- Lost earning capacity of the deceased
But you can be compensated for more than just the financial losses. Other nonmonetary damages that can be sought after in your Massachusetts wrongful death claim include:
- Loss of companionship, comfort, and love
- Loss of society and support
- Loss of guidance and advice
- Loss of household services
You will need to speak with your lawyer in further detail about the losses that may apply in your case and how much the wrongful death lawsuit is worth based on these losses.
Get Help from a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Massachusetts
To learn more about the wrongful death lawsuit process or for legal help with your claim, reach out to a compassionate Massachusetts wrongful death lawyer at Joel H. Schwartz, PC. When you are ready to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, you can give us a call at 617-742-1170 or fill out the online contact form provided at the bottom of this page.