Losing a beloved relative is emotionally devastating, and when the passing is unanticipated, it can be financially damaging, as well. Fortunately, surviving family members may be able to recover compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit with the help of a strategic lawyer. To achieve a settlement, though, the claim must have three specific elements, which make up the grounds on which plaintiffs can file suit.
3 Necessary Elements for a Wrongful Death Claim
1. Negligence Played a Role
Negligence is typically the cornerstone of a successful wrongful death claim. The only scenarios in which it does not apply are those that involve strict liability. Otherwise, surviving family members must prove that the party they are suing breached a specific duty of care owed to the deceased and that this breach was responsible for the circumstances that resulted in death.
2. Measurable Damages Are Incurred
To secure a settlement after losing a loved one, you must be able to prove you incurred certain losses. It is obvious how a family will incur measurable damages upon losing its sole breadwinner. However, if no one relied on the deceased financially or for regular help with areas like child care, surviving relatives may not necessarily suffer quantifiable costs as a result of the death.
3. There Are Eligible Plaintiffs
Every state has laws regulating which surviving relatives may file a wrongful death lawsuit following the loss of a loved one. Typically, surviving spouses and children have priority. If the deceased did not have a partner or kids, the right to file a claim would pass to parents, siblings, or grandparents. In Massachusetts, however, none of the deceased’s relatives are automatically eligible. Instead, the executor of the will—who may or may not be a relative—brings the suit on behalf of the entire estate.
If you recently lost a loved one and the three elements mentioned above apply to your situation, turn to the compassionate team at Bellotti Law Group, PC. With offices in Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy, they help accident victims and grieving clients achieve justice by holding reckless parties financially accountable. You can schedule a free initial consultation with a wrongful death attorney on their team by visiting their website or by calling (617) 778-1000.