Bodily Injury & Wrongful Death
|Massachusetts tort law permits recoveries for deaths and injuries caused by wrongful conduct. The mechanism of the harm is different in almost every case, but generally where a party owes a duty of care to a person injured or killed, and breaches that duty in a way so as to be a significant factor in bringing about harm to another person, then there is a right of recovery. |
Massachusetts has statutes providing for the recovery by the next of kin of a person killed by the negligent or wrongful act of another person. The next of kin can generally recover the amount of economic support they received from the decedent. Accordingly, a wage earner with a spouse and children would warrant a greater recovery than a single person who did not support his next of kin, which might be a parent, grown child, or more distant relation. Persons living together without the benefit of marriage have no right to a recovery if their partner is killed due to the fault of another person. In addition to net lost earnings the decedent would have provided to the next of kin, the law provides for the recovery of loss of "consortium-like" damages, that is, "loss of services, protection, care, assistance, society, companionship, comfort, guidance, counsel, and advice." The law does not permit damages to be awarded for the next of kin's emotional response to the death, such a mental breakdown, mourning or grieving. Where the death was caused by egregious misconduct a jury may award punitive damages.
Where a person's death is not instantaneous and it can be proven he or she had conscious pain and suffering prior to death, additional damages can be awarded. The fact the decedent could be supposed to have pre-impact freight is not compensable.
The evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of wrongful death and personal injury claims takes significant experience and study.