Who can file a wrongful death case in Massachusetts?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2022 | Personal Injury

If a loved one died because of someone else’s misconduct, you might have a wrongful death case. However, Massachusetts only allows the executor or personal representative of the decedent’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Statute of limitations

If medical negligence was the cause of your loved one’s death, then the statute of limitations is seven years from the date of the medical negligence. Other wrongful death claims have a statute of limitations of three years from the date of death.

Examples of wrongful death

In addition to medical malpractice, other possible causes of wrongful death include product defects, slip and fall accidents, drowning, boating accidents, workplace accidents, car accidents and nursing home abuse and neglect. If another person contributed to your loved one’s suicide, then you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You would have to prove that their action or inaction contributed, however.

Psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists in Massachusetts must take action when a minor expresses suicidal thoughts. If a medical professional has reason to believe their patient may attempt suicide, they must also take action to prevent it. Massachusetts law requires that pharmaceutical companies warn consumers about suicide ideation as a potential side effect of medications.

Comparative negligence

If the court determines that the decedent had some responsibility for their death, then it will assign a percentage of responsibility after hearing the facts of the case. Massachusetts doesn’t allow the decedent’s family to collect damages if the decedent is more than 50% liable for their death.

When you’re not the executor or personal representative of the decedent’s estate, you must work with them to have a wrongful death case taken into court. If another person’s reckless, negligent or intentional act or inaction caused your loved one’s death, it could be possible to pursue compensation.


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