Wrongful death lawyer Pittsfield

What is a Wrongful Death lawsuit!

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a wrongful death as “a death caused by the negligent, willful, or wrongful act, neglect, omission, or default of another.”

A Wrongful Death lawsuit is a civil action pursued by a Wrongful Death Lawyer claiming damages against another party for negligence or wrongful actions that have caused a death.  Or put another way, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action damage’s claim against another party that is held liable for a death.

Typically, a wrongful death lawsuit is pursued when criminal action has either never been attempted or has been attempted and failed.

The majority of wrongful death lawsuits will come after a criminal trial. The Wrongful Death Lawyer can use similar evidence as that presented in the criminal trial but has a better chance of winning because in a wrongful death lawsuit there is a lower standard of proof required.


Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit.

Under Massachusetts law, in order to qualify as a Wrongful Death lawsuit several elements must be present.   These elements include the following

  1. The first element of any Wrongful Death lawsuit is the actual death of a human being.
  2. Another common element of a Wrongful Death lawsuit is negligence. This means that the Wrongful Death Lawyer will seek to establish negligence, (or failing to exercise reasonable care), as the cause of death.
  3. A third common element of Wrongful Death lawsuits is monetary damages. Monetary damages are a form of financial compensation awarded to the surviving family members of the wrongful death victim.

There are 4 different types of Monetary Damages that a Wrongful Death Lawyer can pursue, and these are Compensatory Damages, Nominal Damages, Punitive Damages, and Liquidated Damages.

Punitive damages are those that exceed compensatory damages and they are awarded to punish, reform or deter the defendant.  Punitive Damages can be substantial and often involve extensive legal argument presented by a Wrongful Death Lawyer.

Liquidated damages are those that are awarded to compensate for losses that occur due to breach of contract/warranty.


Appointment of an Executor

4: The appointment of a personal representative / executor / administrator of the decedent’s estate is important because only an executor or administrator can pursue a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful Death cases will nearly always involve monetary claims and court proceedings which is the primary reason why both the plaintive and defendant should engage the services of a Wrongful Death Lawyer.


Statute of Limitations:

Each state has its own statute of limitations law. The statute of limitations law limits the available time between when an incident happens and when you can file a civil suit.

The time limits are applied so as to preserve evidence integrity and witness testimony.

For most cases including Wrongful Death the Massachusetts civil statute of limitations provides a three-year time limit.


Circumstances leading to a Wrongful Death Lawsuit.

Many different circumstances can give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit, and each circumstance has applicable laws. This is another reason why it is essential to have a Wrongful Death Lawyer who is conversant with the laws and how they are applied in wrongful death cases.

Here are some common circumstances leading to a wrongful death lawsuit.


Medical Malpractice

In a wrongful death due to medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintive must prove that death was caused by a failure of diagnosis or by the doctor’s negligence.


Automobile Accident.

If an individual dies as a result of an automobile accident the Wrongful Death Lawyer tries to establish that the death was caused by the negligent actions of the person driving the automobile.


Negligent driving may include driving while intoxicated, breaking traffic laws, and reckless driving.


Intentional Killing

In the case of an intentional killing this will normally be tried as a criminal case however it can also be tried as a civil lawsuit of wrongful death. The civil lawsuit is a separate case from the criminal charges.


Occupational Hazards

Another area where wrongful death lawsuits occur is in Occupational hazards. Wrongful death caused by Occupational Hazards is a highly specialized area which requires a Wrongful Death Lawyer whose specialty is Wrongful Death.

Occupational hazards fall into the following categories, Safety, Chemical, Biological, Physical, Ergonomic, and Work Organization Hazards.

A wrongful death lawsuit is a complicated and involved process that requires a legal representative who is up to date with the wrongful death laws both on a national basis and on a state basis. For example, the Wrongful Death laws in Massachusetts (General Laws Part III. Courts, Judicial Officers and Proceedings in Civil Cases (Ch. 211-262) Ch. 229, § 2) will be different from the laws in the state of California.

From Boston to Pittsfield and Newburyport to Dartmouth, there are lawyers throughout the state of Massachusetts that can help navigate the complicated wrongful death laws and ensure that you the plaintive are appropriately recompensed for your loss.

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