The sudden death of a relative in an accident can be emotionally devastating and have a significant economic impact on the deceased’s family. Boston wrongful death attorney Michael O. Smith represents families who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to the negligent or irresponsible conduct of another. Mr. Smith offers the legal counseling you need to hold those responsible for your relative’s death liable for their actions. He provides caring and compassionate client service, while taking an aggressive stand against those who caused you harm. Contact our office and see how we can help you.Accidents that Result in Death
Accidents cause a significant number of deaths nationwide – indeed, they are the fifth leading cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In 2011, accidents or unintentional injuries caused over 122,000 deaths. They are the leading cause of death among individuals between 15 and 44 years of age.
Motor vehicle accidents and falls are among the leading causes of accident injury deaths. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 33,500 people died in 2012 as a result of highway crashes. Older adults are particularly susceptible to fatal fall injuries, according to the CDC.Liability in Massachusetts Wrongful Death Cases
If your loved one died as a result of someone else’s actions, you can seek to hold that person or entity civilly liable for your relative’s death. Massachusetts law allows an estate administrator or executor to file a wrongful death suit on behalf of a deceased victim’s surviving relatives. To hold a defendant in such a claim liable, you must prove that the defendant owed your relative a duty of care, and that the defendant’s negligent or willful acts caused his or her death. For example, if the victim was struck by a car, you would have to show that the car driver owed the victim a duty of care; that the driver breached that duty; and that the breach resulted in the victim’s injuries and ultimate death. If the driver was acting within the scope of his or her employment, such as a truck driver might have been, the driver’s employer may also be held liable for its employee’s negligence.
Massachusetts also allows a wrongful death claim to be filed for a manufacturer or seller’s breach of warranty. You would have to show the same elements as that of a product liability claim, namely that a defect in the product’s design or manufacture caused the victim’s death.
If the victim was injured on another’s property, you may recover damages for a claim based on premises liability. A property owner or possessor has a duty to keep their property safe for anyone lawfully on their property and for children who they know are likely to trespass on their property due to an artificial condition. To prevail, you would have to demonstrate that the victim was not trespassing, unless the victim was a child, and that the property owner failed to keep the property in a safe condition.Recoverable Damages
If your family member died in an accident, a wrongful death claim can potentially allow you to recover damages. You may be able to recover compensation for the loss of your loved one’s expected income, loss of companionship, and reasonable funeral and burial expenses. You may also be able to recover punitive damages in certain cases of gross negligence.
Massachusetts has a time limit for personal injury lawsuits. A claim based on wrongful death must be initiated within three years from the date the person died, or within three years from the date when the executor or administrator knew, or should have known, of the person’s death.Representing Families in Wrongful Death Claims
Boston personal injury lawyer Michael O. Smith is committed to providing families with the legal guidance and support they need to move forward after the death of a loved one. Mr. Smith has extensive experience representing families in personal injury claims. He is dedicated to providing clients with focused, caring service, while tenaciously pursuing their interests. With over 15 years of practice experience, Mr. Smith will work towards obtaining an appropriate settlement for your case, and is prepared to go to trial if necessary. Call us at 617-263-0060, or complete our online form, to arrange an initial consultation at no cost. We have offices in Boston.