In Massachusetts, a wrongful death suit is the type of case that is brought when negligence, recklessness, intentional conduct or a defective product causes someone's death. A wrongful death suit is brought in the name of the deceased's estate by the estate's administrator or executor.
A wrongful death action helps to provide for the decedent's family or heirs by allowing them to recover the reasonably expected net lifetime income of their family member and the monetary value of any services, protection, care, assistance, society, companionship, comfort, guidance, counsel and advice that the deceased family member provided to his or her family.
In most negligence cases in Massachusetts, the plaintiff is forbidden from recovering punitive damages. Punitive damages are money damages designed to punish the defendant for its bad actions over-and-above the amount necessary to compensate the victim financially.
However, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 229 § 2 allows the family in a wrongful death action to recover punitive damages where the death was caused by negligence, recklessness or intentional conduct. These punitive damages often are many times the amount of the other damages in a case.
If you are interested in discussing a wrongful death with a lawyer at The Law Office of Alan H. Crede, call us at (617) 973-6434.