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Wrongful Death

Wrongful death refers to any situation where the negligence of one party leads to someone’s death. Wrongful death falls into a variety of different categories including auto collisions, drunk driving accidents, trucking accidents, work-related deaths, nursing home fatalities, medical malpractice, children’s deaths caused by negligent caregivers, and multiple other categories.


Auto Collisions

If your loved one was killed in an auto accident, don’t wait to get legal help. We can help you recover fair compensation for your loss.


Commercial Accidents

Let us help you hold the negligent business responsible for your loved one’s death accountable for their actions. We can help you get justice.


Drunk Driving Collisions

Drunk drivers should be held responsible for their choices. If you lost a loved one to drunk or drugged driving, call us today.


Trucking Accidents

Large commercial trucks can cause devastating accidents. If your loved one was killed by an 18-wheeler or other large truck, you may be eligible for compensation.


Work Fatalities

If you lost a loved one to a work accident, their place of employment should be held accountable for negligence. A wrongful death lawsuit can help you get justice.


Nursing Homes Deaths

Negligent nursing homes should face serious consequences for abuse and neglect that leads to wrongful death. An experienced attorney can assist you in bringing forward a lawsuit.


Child Fatalities

Few losses are more heartbreaking than a child’s. We can help you ensure that the individual or entity responsible for your child’s death faces justice.


Medical Malpractice Deaths

If your loved one has died as a result of medical malpractice, you may be eligible for financial restitution. Let us help you hold careless and negligent doctors responsible.

How Does Wrongful Death Occur?

Wrongful death can occur in a variety of ways, typically when someone who owes a duty of care to someone else is negligent or careless in their duties. There are many people who owe a duty of care to others, including:

  • Doctors who owe a duty of care to their patients
  • Employers who owe a duty of care to their employees
  • Retail establishments that owe a duty of care to their patrons
  • Drivers who owe a duty of care to others who share the road
  • Commercial vehicle drivers who owe an extended duty of care to others on the road
  • Caregivers who owe a duty of care to the children in their protection
  • Product manufacturers who owe a duty of care to consumers
  • Nursing homes who owe a duty of care to their patients

Any time a duty of care is breached, either willfully or due to negligence, wrongful death may occur. If, for example, a driver chooses to drink before operating a vehicle, he or she is breaching their duty of care to other drivers on the road.

If an accident occurs and someone is killed, the impaired driver may be held responsible for the death. If a doctor is negligent in the care of a patient and misinterprets test results or fails to treat, and the patient dies, then the doctor may then be held responsible for the death.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal remedy designed to alleviate the financial and emotional burdens of families who have lost loved ones in preventable accidents or due to the negligence of another person or entity. A wrongful death lawsuit can accomplish many things, including:

  • Providing financial relief for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, and future lost wages.
  • Providing financial relief for grieving families who are unable to work temporarily due to the loss in the family.
  • Eliciting punitive damages from the individual or entity at fault, which are designed to “punish” the at-fault party for wrongdoing or gross negligence.
  • Helping a family to receive closure and justice after the unexpected and painful passing of a loved one.

Although compensation can never replace your loved one, it can allow you and your family to grieve their loss in peace. Additionally, punitive damages against the at-fault party can help ensure that the same negligence or carelessness does not happen again and result in another injury or death.

Determining Liability After Wrongful Death

As indicated above, a range of different people, businesses, and other entities may be the liable party in a wrongful death case. However, the responsible party can vary depending on the situation. In some cases, multiple entities may bear responsibility for the death. A wrongful death attorney can help you identify the liable party in your case.

Sometimes, comparative liability comes into play. This contingency applies when the deceased person is responsible for part of their death. For instance, if a speeding motorist hits and kills a bicyclist, but the bicyclist was running a stoplight, the bicyclist may have some comparative liability. Generally, the wrongful death settlement gets reduced by the percentage of responsibility assigned to the victim.

The Basics of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If you believe your loved one has died as a result of someone’s negligence, you should contact an attorney about bringing forward a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, the process starts with a no-cost case evaluation where the lawyer talks with you about the merits of your case and your chances of receiving a settlement.

If you decide to move forward, your lawyer may attempt to negotiate a settlement with the liable party. If no settlement can be reached, the case may go to trial. Here’s what you can expect with your wrongful death lawsuit:

An Investigation of the Death

After a wrongful death, an investigation takes place to identify the liable party, prove that they were negligent, and establish the link between their actions and your loved one’s death. The investigation may also include an assessment of the damages related to the death.

The Collection of Evidence

A variety of evidence can help to make or break your wrongful death case. As you work with your lawyer, they will help you identify the most reliable evidence for your case. That can involve eyewitness testimony, statements from experts, video footage, and paper records as well as other types of evidence.

Your wrongful death attorney may also subpoena documents from the defendant. For instance, if the wrongful death is due to medical malpractice, your attorney will likely subpoena records from the hospital or medical clinic as part of the discovery process.

An Estimation of Damages and Cost of the Lawsuit

In wrongful death cases, the claims are based on the damages suffered by the deceased person and their family. Damages include direct expenses such as final medical bills, funeral expenses, and income lost by survivors. They also include intangible damages such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, and other indirect costs.

Work with an attorney who is experienced in assessing and applying dollar amounts to wrongful death claims. This will help you get the fairest settlement possible.

The Charging of Criminal Offenses, If Applicable

Sometimes, the responsible party may face both criminal and civil charges for the death, but the rulings in these cases can vary. For instance, someone may not be judged to be criminally responsible for the death, but they can still be held financially liable in a civil case.

The burden of proof and a variety of other factors affect the outcome in these types of cases differently. Additionally, while criminal charges are brought forward by the state, civil charges in a wrongful death case must be brought forward by the family or the administrator of the deceased person’s estate.

Life Insurance Claim vs. Wrongful Death Suit – What’s the Difference?

After the death of a loved one, you may be able to receive a life insurance settlement if they had an active policy. Typically, you need to be listed as the beneficiary on the plan or in lieu of a named beneficiary, you must be the deceased person’s next of kin. If their death was the result of negligence, you might also be able to file a wrongful death claim.

The rules related to both settlements are different but receiving a life insurance settlement doesn’t prevent you from filing a wrongful death claim. The reverse is also true, if you receive a settlement related to a wrongful death case, that has no bearing on your ability to obtain a life insurance payout.

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit is three years from the date of the deceased’s passing. If you do not file within the three-year window, you will likely forfeit your right to bring forward a lawsuit for damages related to the death.

In New Hampshire, the statute of limitations is six years from the date of death.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Most often, it is immediate family members who can bring forward a wrongful death lawsuit. However, in some cases, other individuals who have been financially impacted by the unexpected passing of a person may be able to obtain damages by bringing a suit.

Obtaining justice for your loved one can be a difficult journey. Learn more about the causes of wrongful death in America. See who can be held legally liable for a wrongful death, and how you can bring forward a wrongful death lawsuit by taking a look at our infographic:

wrongful death claim infographic preview

Grief After a Wrongful Death

After going through the pain of losing a loved one to a wrongful death, you might experience a range of emotions and mental anguish. Learn how to cope with your loved one’s unexpected death or how to support someone you love who is experiencing the deep grief of losing a loved one.

Do I Need to Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney?

If you have lost a loved one as a result of a wrongful death, then it is vital to have strong legal advocacy on your side. Dealing with the aftermath of a loved one’s passing, contacting other family members, making funeral arrangements, and coping is exhausting and time-consuming. Few families also can contend with the legal aspects of a wrongful death case, including gathering evidence, obtaining witness statements, and calculating damages.

Tragically, no one can bring back your loved one, but a wrongful death claim can help you find some relief from the financial stress of the loss. To ensure the best results for your situation, you need to select your wrongful death attorney carefully. Ideally, your attorney should be well versed in the type of wrongful death related to your situation. They should also provide you with individualized attention and a willingness to answer your questions.

When you work with the experienced wrongful death attorneys at Mazow | McCullough, P.C., you will have a compassionate, caring lawyer in your corner. We will zealously advocate for your rights and the justice of your loved one as you move through the grief process.

Contact Us

If you have lost a loved one in a tragic accident or due to someone’s negligence, we understand the myriad of emotions you’re going through. We know the challenges you’ll face for days, months, and even years to come. We’re prepared to guide you through the legal aspect of bringing forward a wrongful death claim and connecting you to resources to help you heal from your loss.

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