What is a Wrongful Death Case Worth in Massachusetts?
Posted on behalf of Janet, Jenner & Suggs on May 24, 2017 in Wrongful Death
The value of your Massachusetts wrongful death claim is determined by the cost of the damages you and the other loved ones of the deceased have suffered. The more damages cost, the more a wrongful death claim is worth.
There are certain types of damages you may be able to recover in a Boston wrongful death claim, depending on the unique circumstances of your case.
Most of these damages are listed in Massachusetts General Laws Part III Title II Chapter 229 Section 2, including:
Reasonable Funeral and Burial Expenses
If your claim is successful, your loved one's estate will receive compensation to cover reasonable expenses for the funeral and burial of the deceased. These expenses can then be paid by the estate.
Loss of Reasonably Expected Income
When someone’s life is cut short unexpectedly, beneficiaries lose the employment compensation this person would have produced in his or her lifetime. This is why Massachusetts allows beneficiaries to recover a portion of the income that their loved one could have reasonably expected to earn for the rest of his or her life.
Courts and juries weigh many factors when calculating a deceased individual's expected income, including the life expectancy of the deceased and beneficiaries and the earning potential of the victim, based on his or her career path.
Loss of Companionship and Other Similar Damages
These damages are meant to compensate spouses, children and other family members for the emotional and psychological effects of the loss of their loved one. This includes loss of:
- Counsel and advice
Pain and Suffering
You can also recover compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering your loved one experienced in the time between his or her injury and death, according to Section 6 of Chapter 229 of General Laws. For instance, you might be able to recover compensation if you can show your loved one feared his or her death right before it happened.
This form of compensation is available only in cases where someone's death was caused by malicious, willful, wanton or reckless conduct or by gross negligence. If your case fits these conditions, you may be entitled to a minimum of $5,000 in punitive damages.
These damages are designed to punish the defendant instead of focusing on the losses of the loved ones.
The other factor affecting the value of your wrongful death claim is whether or not your loved one bears any responsibility for his or her death.
Under Massachusetts' comparative negligence law, you are prohibited from recovering compensation if your loved one bears 51 percent or more of liability for his or her death.
If your loved one's percentage of responsibility is less than 51 percent, your compensation award will be reduced by your loved one's percentage of fault. This means that a $200,000 award would be reduced to $100,000 if your loved one was 50 percent at fault.
Our Attorneys Can Help Ensure Your Claim is Valued Accurately
The attorneys at Janet, Jenner & Suggs know the difficulty of dealing with the unexpected loss of a loved one. We are committed to helping you recover all of the compensation you deserve to help you and your family move forward from this terrible situation.
We charge no upfront fees and do not recover attorney's fees unless your claim is successful.
Contact our firm to find out more about how we can help you.