Boston Wrongful Death Attorney

There is nothing more tragic than losing your loved one. It is only worse knowing it could have been avoided if not for the wrongful actions of another.

While no amount of money can bring back a family member or take away the pain of living on without them, it can provide some justice and the compensation your family requires to start rebuilding your life. If you’ve lost someone in Boston due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional wrongdoing of another, you need experienced legal help on your side, to provide the professional support you need to fight for the compensation you deserve. The law firm of Jacoby & Meyers LLP is ready to fill this role for you and your family.

Jacoby & Meyers LLP—Who We Are

Jacoby & Meyers LLP was founded in 1972 to provide top-quality legal help to those most in need of it. Today, our law offices represent victims in all types of personal injury claims, providing the compassionate and straightforward legal services they need.

Our firm has expanded and has more than a dozen offices throughout the northeast. Even as we grow, we remain dedicated to providing each of our clients the personal service and representation to maximize potential financial recovery. From the outset, we are committed to clear and transparent communication and case evaluations that can enable our clients to make the best decisions for their cases.

As a result, of our dedication, experience, and resources, our firm has secured millions of dollars on behalf of our clients through settlements and court awards.

Some of our most recent wrongful death case awards include:

  • A $5.7 million jury verdict for a family who lost their eight-year-old daughter in a runaway school bus accident
  • A $2.4 million wrongful death settlement for a church van collision
  • A $3.25 million settlement for a fire death in a Bronx apartment fire

What Is a Boston Wrongful Death Claim?

In Boston, if a family member passes away because of another’s negligent, reckless, or intentional wrongdoing, the surviving members of the victim’s family can bring legal action against the responsible parties in a wrongful death legal claim. If the family members are successful, they can be awarded financial damages to help cover expenses related to such things as burial and funeral costs, lost wages, and medical expenses. In addition, specific family members can also be entitled to compensation for their specific impacts, such as the loss of consortium or the loss of companionship.

Typically, a wrongful death case in Boston is based on the willful, wanton, and reckless actions of the defendant, a breach of warranty, negligence, or negligence on the part of a common carrier.

Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim in Boston—When Is It Applicable?

Wrongful death claims arise in situations where the deceased would have had a valid personal injury case but for their death. Although these wrongful death claims can occur in many different contexts, the most common cases where these claims tend to arise include the following:

Automobile Crashes

In general, motor vehicle accidents that lead to a person’s death are often due to another driver’s negligence or recklessness, such as excessive speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, texting and driving, or not paying attention to the road. A motorist can be held liable for the death of anyone that was killed in an accident caused by such negligent and reckless conduct. This may include the deaths of passengers, other drivers, or pedestrians.

Although motor vehicle accidents occur all over Boston, some areas more prone to these deadly crashes include:

  • Morton Street and Harvard Street
  • Interstate 93, Exit 15, and Columbia Road
  • North Washington Street and the Central Artery

Intentional Acts

Perhaps the most obvious example of an intentional act leading to a wrongful death claim is using physical violence against someone, resulting in their death. In these types of cases, the wrongful party might not only face criminal charges for murder or manslaughter, but the victim’s family can also bring a civil suit against them to recover money for their loved one’s wrongful death.

Medical Malpractice Incidents

If a healthcare professional does not follow the standards of the medical profession—such as cutting corners in providing care, making a preventable error in surgery, or misdiagnosing a patient—it may lead to devastating outcomes. In such cases, a wrongful death claim can be brought against the medical care professional and the facility they work for.

Defective Product Accidents

If a person is killed due to injuries related to a defective product, the manufacturer of the product can be held legally liable for the death. Some common examples of defective products causing an individual’s death include unsafe children’s products, toxic foods or drinks, defective pharmaceutical products, and defective motor vehicles.

Premises Liability Incidents

Deaths often result from accidents on negligently managed premises or unsafe property. When an individual is killed because of dangerous conditions on the property or land, the landowner can be held responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit. Unsafe premises wrongful death lawsuits may arise in manifold scenarios such as an unmonitored pool leading to a child’s death, a staircase in disrepair leading to a fatal fall, or death that negligent security failed to prevent at an event venue.

Situations When You Are Not Allowed to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Boston

There are some situations in which you may not file a wrongful death claim.

In Boston, you cannot bring a wrongful death claim in the following scenarios:

  • Against an employer, when one of their employees dies while performing a work task
  • Against a railroad, when a person is killed in an accident while near or on the train tracks, or
  • Against a streetcar company, when the person killed in the accident was on or near the tracks at any point where there is not an established railroad.

Even though you cannot file a wrongful death claim in these instances, there still may be other legal remedies you can pursue. Because of this, it is important to reach out to a Boston wrongful death attorney in any case where you have lost someone due to another’s wrongdoing. These attorneys can figure out your legal options following your loved one’s passing and help you pursue the compensation available under the law.

Who is Allowed to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Boston?

Per Massachusetts law, only the administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate can file a Boston wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, the executor is an individual named in the decedent’s will. However, the court can also appoint someone to serve as the administrator or the executor.

Even though the executor will be the individual who is formally filing the suit, it is the deceased’s surviving family that are the ultimate recipients of any compensation recovered from a settlement or court award in the case.

In Massachusetts, the family members who are eligible to receive compensation include:

  • The deceased’s surviving spouse
  • The deceased’s children
  • The deceased’s parents
  • The deceased’s siblings
  • Other relatives of the deceased who were financially dependent upon them

If you are uncertain about whether or how to pursue a Boston wrongful death lawsuit, do not wait any longer to seek legal help. Contact an experienced Boston wrongful death attorney at Jacoby & Meyers LLP, and let our legal team help you figure out if you have a viable wrongful death claim.

Types of Damages in a Boston Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The damages you may recover in a Boston wrongful death lawsuit differ in many ways from those the deceased would have been eligible for had they lived and brought a personal injury claim.

Compensation in a Boston wrongful death case may include:

  • Loss of reasonably expected wages and income of the deceased
  • Loss of protection, care, and services of the deceased
  • Loss of the deceased loved one’s comfort and guidance
  • Loss of companionship and society
  • Reasonable burial and funeral costs

In addition, punitive damages may also be available in a wrongful death claim. Unlike the aforementioned compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate the plaintiff for their expenses and impacts from the death, punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer for their acts that caused a person’s death. In Massachusetts, a court only awards punitive damages if a plaintiff can show that the deceased died because of the wrongdoer’s willful, wanton, reckless, or malicious conduct.

Who Can Be Held Liable In A Boston Wrongful Death Claim?

As each wrongful death case is unique, you might hold numerous different parties responsible.

However, commonly liable parties in Boston wrongful death cases include:

  • The other motorist in a fatal motor vehicle crash
  • Owners of a negligently maintained property
  • Manufacturers of a defective product
  • Negligent medical care providers

In some cases, multiple parties share liability. This can make a case complicated, but also opens up more potential insurance resources to compensate you for the full extent of your damages. This is another reason it’s important to find an experienced Boston wrongful death lawyer, such as those at Jacoby & Meyers LLP, as soon after your loved one’s passing as possible. These attorneys can figure out who is to blame for your family member’s death and make sure that these individuals are held fully accountable for your losses.

Actions to Take After a Boston Wrongful Death Accident

If you lost a loved one because of another person’s wrongful actions in Boston, you may be able to pursue legal action to recover money for the subsequent expenses and other losses you are forced to endure. However, to obtain this compensation, you must take certain steps to protect your legal rights. Following the wrongful death of your family member, you should do the following:

Get the Death Certificate

Before you can do anything regarding your loved one’s wrongful death claim, you need to obtain proof of their death. You can get this certificate by requesting a copy of it from the clear of the city of Boston.

Gather Evidence From the Incident That Caused Your Loved One’s Death

T to collect as much evidence as you can related to the accident that led to your loved one’s death. This could include police reports and photos of the incident if you were there and took any on your phone. You should also collect evidence of the damages you have suffered, such as medical bills and other expenses that have arisen. Collect any other documents or evidence you think might help show what happened, who may have been responsible for the passing of your loved one, and what you have suffered as a result.

Get Information From Witnesses Who Saw What Happened

If witnesses saw the accident that caused your loved one’s death, you should try to get their contact information. Witness statements can often provide you with valuable details regarding the incident and may also help back up your claims. However, if any witness does not want to share personal details with you, do not try to force them. Instead, work on retaining experienced legal counsel who may obtain eyewitness information and testimony by other means.

Boston Wrongful Death Case Statute of Limitations

Every state has a statute of limitations for wrongful death cases, which is a law that dictates the time by which an individual must file their claim. If you do not bring a lawsuit within that allotted time, you can’t pursue compensation for your losses.

In Boston, the statute of limitations to bring a wrongful death claim is three years from your loved one’s passing. However, there are often exceptions to this rule that can shorten or lengthen the time you have to file. This is another reason to not delay pursuing legal action. Instead, you should reach out to an experienced Boston wrongful death lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers LLP, as soon as you can. These attorneys can promptly review your claim, determine how much time you have to file your case, and ensure that you get your claim in process in a correct and timely manner.

Boston Wrongful Death FAQs

If you lost a family member in a Boston accident due to another person’s wrongful, reckless, or negligent actions, you deserve answers and information regarding the legal options you have.

That is why our legal team at Jacoby & Meyers LLP has prepared responses to the below frequently asked questions our clients often have after losing a loved one in an accident.

With this information, we hope you have the details you need to better understand what you have to do following this horrifying ordeal, the financial remedies you may pursue, and how an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.

1. Following My Loved One’s Death, How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Boston Wrongful Death Case?

If your family member has been killed in an accident, the only way to know for sure if you can bring a wrongful death claim is to work with a skilled Boston wrongful death attorney, like those at Jacoby & Meyers LLP. These lawyers can immediately start an investigation into the accident, determine what happened and who was responsible for your loved one’s death, and figure out if you have a viable wrongful death claim.

Speaking with a lawyer does not mean you have to take legal action. Rather, these attorneys are here to help you understand the legal remedies you can pursue and go over the questions you have regarding your loved one’s passing. However, if you decide to pursue a wrongful death claim, these attorneys are ready to work quickly to go over your options and take the required legal action before time expires.

2. What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and a Criminal Homicide Case in Boston?

One of the significant differences between a criminal homicide case and a wrongful death lawsuit is that a conviction in a criminal case can mean jail and prison times, probation time, fines paid to the state, and other significant penalties.

Additionally, in a criminal case, the state or the federal government must establish the accused individual’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a very high bar to clear. However, in a civil lawsuit for wrongful death, the plaintiff’s attorney needs to establish the defendant’s liability by a preponderance of the evidence standard. This means that the attorney needs to show that it is more likely than not that the defendant is liable for the death.

In some instances, an individual can face both a criminal charge and a wrongful death claim, meaning that the victim will sue them for wrongful death in civil court and the prosecutor will press criminal charges associated with the death.

3. If My Loved One Passed Away From An Accident At Work, What Legal Remedies Do I Have?

If a worker was injured on the job in Boston, they are often prohibited from filing a personal injury lawsuit and must file a workers’ compensation claim. If this worker is killed, workers’ compensation is also the only type of compensation available from the employer to the surviving family members. This workers’ compensation insurance will often cover the hospital bills associated with the deadly accident, burial and funeral expenses, and lost wages.

However, if a third party at the worksite caused the death, the third-party non-employer can be sued. Yet, because of all the complex legal issues often involved in a workers’ compensation claim, you should reach out to an experienced wrongful death attorney such as those at Jacoby & Meyers LLP as soon as possible if your loved one was killed on the job. These lawyers not only can determine what damages you deserve, but they can also help you fight for the money you need.

4. What are the Differences Between a Wrongful Death Claim and a Survival Action in Boston?

If an individual is killed because of another person’s reckless, intentional, or negligent actions, their family can pursue a wrongful death claim. However, there is another type of lawsuit that can also be initiated following this death. This lawsuit is known as a survival action lawsuit.

A survival action preserves the cause of action that accrued to the deceased before they passed away. Typically, the intended beneficiary for a survival action is the deceased’s estate, which may file a lawsuit for injuries or damages incurred by the deceased immediately before dying.

Generally, the best way to figure out if your loved one’s estate has a viable survival action claim is to reach out to an experienced Boston wrongful death attorney, like those at Jacoby & Meyers LLP. These attorneys look into the accident, figure out what happened, and help you determine the legal options that can be pursued.

5. If I Want to Bring a Successful Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Boston, What Do I Need to Prove?

If you lost a loved one in an accident, the last thing on your mind is coming up with solid legal arguments or obtaining relevant evidence to prove a wrongful death claim. Fortunately, with experienced legal help, you will not have to tackle this legal battle on your own. Once you have a skilled wrongful death lawyer working on your side, these attorneys can take over the investigation process for you and gather the information needed to prove that your loved one was killed because of the defendant’s gross negligence, a branch of warranty, or their negligent actions.

Although these wrongful deaths can occur for several reasons, the defendant’s negligent actions are often the most common reason.

However, before your lawyer can prove that the wrongful death was due to negligence, they need to establish.

  • The wrongdoer owed the victim a duty of care
  • The wrongdoer breached this duty of care
  • This breach caused the victim’s injuries or death
  • The victim suffered damages as a result of their injuries, such as an untimely passing

Thankfully, when you work with an experienced wrongful death lawyer, such as those at Jacoby & Meyers LLP, you will not have to try to prove these elements on your own. These attorneys can promptly get to work, investigate your accident, and build a case around the evidence and the facts provided.

6. If the Insurance Company Wants to Speak with Me Following My Loved One’s Death, Should I Talk to Them?

The insurance companies in Boston will often investigate wrongful death incidents like other personal injury cases. Yet, even though the insurance adjuster may appear sympathetic, it does not mean they are here to help you get the money you need following your family member’s death. Insurance companies are just like any other business, and they want to make money. By paying you out less than you deserve, the more money they make. As a result, insurance adjusters will try to do or say anything to get you to admit that your loved one was somehow at fault for the incident that caused their death. This way, they can end up denying the case altogether or reducing the amount of money you can get.

For these reasons, it is best not to speak with this insurance until you have talked to an experienced Boston wrongful death attorney. These lawyers can help you understand how these insurance companies work and the types of things you should avoid discussing with them. Better yet, these attorneys can even take over these conversations for you and ensure you do not say anything that can impact your claim.

7. How Long Will It Take For My Boston Wrongful Death Claim To Get Resolved?

In Boston, there are no set timelines for a wrongful death claim. Instead, the amount of time it will take for your wrongful death case to resolve will depend on various factors, questions, and circumstances. For instance, in most wrongful death lawsuits, a settlement can be reached relatively fast, often within a year. However, in other cases, settlement negotiations can take a long time, and if an agreement cannot be reached, the case can head to trial. At which point, the wrongful death lawsuit can take years to resolve.

Yet, if you work with an experienced Boston wrongful death lawyer, such as those at Jacoby & Meyers LLP, these attorneys can make sure that you understand each part of this legal process and that they continue to fight for the compensation you need, no matter how long it takes for your case to reach the end.

8. If Your Loved One Passed Away in an Accident, Is an Autopsy Required For You To File a Wrongful Death Claim in Boston?

Although an autopsy is not required to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Boston, it may help your wrongful death claim. In truth, in some instances, this autopsy may even be necessary to show what happened and who was at fault for your family member’s death. This is because, generally, when an individual passes away, a court will accept the cause of death on the death certificate unless an autopsy can show otherwise. Depending on how your loved one passed away, this autopsy may be required to show what really caused your family member’s death.

For example, if your family member died in an automobile accident, you may not need an autopsy since it is very likely that the vehicle collision caused your loved one’s death. Yet, if the individual dies following a medical procedure, the cause of death may not be as apparent and can become a significant issue if you decide to pursue a wrongful death claim. Consequently, an autopsy may need to determine what caused your loved one’s passing.

Fortunately, when you work with an experienced Boston wrongful death attorney, you will not have to make these hard decisions by yourself. These lawyers can help you determine if you need an autopsy in your case and what else you need to prove what happened to your family member.

9. If My Loved One Passed Away in an Accident in Boston, Why Do I Need to Contact the Law Firm of Jacoby & Meyers LLP?

If the death of your loved one resulted from the wrongful actions of another party, the situation can often become overwhelming. However, you do not have to go through this devastating ordeal on your own. With legal help from an experienced Boston wrongful death attorney, such as those at Jacoby & Meyers LLP, these attorneys can provide you the legal assistance you require to get through this stressful and challenging time in your life.

Once retained, these wrongful death lawyers can:

  • Discuss the accident with you in detail, determine whether you have a viable wrongful death claim, and help you figure out which legal options you should pursue.
  • Answer all of your questions and concerns regarding your case.
  • Investigate your loved one’s wrongful death accident and secure the evidence needed to show fault and damages.
  • Prepare a comprehensive case on your behalf and go after all those liable for your loved one’s death.
  • Obtain experts to substantiate your claims, such as doctors, engineers, and accident reconstructionists.
  • File all legal motions and documents before time expires.
  • Handle all the negotiations and discussions with the other side, including the insurance company, and make sure to go after a just settlement.
  • Take your case to trial if the other side is unwilling to negotiate and fight for maximum damages.

If you lost a family member in an accident in Boston, do not wait any longer to seek the legal help you need. Contact Jacoby & Meyers LLP today at (877) 472-3061 for your free case evaluation.

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Finkelstein & Partners, LLP
15 Court Square
Suite 800A
Boston, MA 02108

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“If it were not for the integral legal team of experts at Jacoby & Meyers I would not be where I am today with my recovery. I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.

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