Punitive Damages in Massachusetts Fatal Accident Wrongful Death Cases

Massachusetts Fatal Accident Punitive damages are very different from compensatory damages in Massachusetts. Punitive damages in MA are intended to punish a wrongdoer for “malicious” and “reckless” conduct.

The best example of a Mass.  case in which punitive damages would be warranted, is a fatal drunk driving, reckless driving or drag racing accident when the drunk driver is convicted of DWI, Death Resulting. If someone is drag racing  while drunk and high and spins out of control causing a fatal bicycle crash, punitive damages may be warranted. Fore more info  bike collisions visit:  bike injury

Massachusetts general Law 229 Section 2 allows Personal Injury Lawyers in Massachusetts  to file lawsuits on behalf of the Executor of the Estate against the negligent party if the negligent person acted ‘maliciously, willfully, wantonly or recklessly.’

Article by Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney David Slepkow

MA general Law 229 Section 2 allows for punitive damages “…in an amount of not less than five thousand dollars in such case as the decedent’s death was caused by the malicious, willful, wanton or reckless conduct of the defendant or by the gross negligence of the defendant…”

Punitive damages can be awarded by a jury in a fatal motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, pedestrian accident , Car Crash, Truck Accident or other Accident case if the Defendant’s conduct amounted to “gross” negligence.

Here is an interesting Multi-State Overview of Punitive Damages including the Insureability of those damages. https://www.travelers.com/business-insurance/specialized-industries/excess-casualty/docs/punitivedamages.pdf

In order for tor punitive damages to be awarded in a fatal Mass. Motor Vehicle Crash, Truck accident or other MA personal Injury case, the tortfeasor’s conduct  must be nearly criminal in nature Silver’s case, 260 Mass. 222 (1927). “much more than mere negligence, or even than gross or culpable negligence. It involves conduct of a quasi criminal nature, the intentional doing of something either with the knowledge that it is likely to result in serious injury or with a wanton and reckless disregard of its probable consequences. Silver’s Case260 Mass222 , 224 (1927)

“The word serious refers to the conduct itself and not to its consequences. Wilful implies intent or such recklessness as is the equivalent of intent.” Dillon’s Case324 Mass. 102 , 110 (1949). Accord, Mercier’s Case350 Mass. 299 , 301 (1966)




“Reckless conduct may consist of a failure to act, if there is a duty to act․  Reckless failure to act involves an intentional or unreasonable disregard of a risk that presents a high degree of probability that substantial harm will result to another.   See Manning v. Nobile, [411 Mass. 382,] 387-388[, 582 N.E.2d 942 (1991) ], and cases cited.   The risk of death or grave bodily injury must be known or reasonably apparent, and the harm must be a probable consequence of the  defendant’s election to run that risk or of his failure reasonably to recognize it.   See Commonwealth v. Catalina, 407 Mass. 779, 789[, 556 N.E.2d 973] (1990);  Scaia’s Case, 320 Mass. 432, 433-434[, 69 N.E.2d 567] (1946);  Commonwealth v. Welansky, [316 Mass. 383,] 398-399[, 55 N.E.2d 902 (1944) ];  Baines v. Collins, 310 Mass. 523, 526 [, 38 N.E.2d 626] (1942).”

Sandler v. Commonwealth, 419 Mass. 334, 336-337, 644 N.E.2d 641 (1995).

In light of the previously discussed facts as they appear in the summary judgment materials and in view of the fact that “[a] firearm is a dangerous instrumentality ․ [requiring] a heightened amount of care ․ of persons dealing with” them, Jupin v. Kask, 447 Mass. at 151, 849 N.E.2d 829, we conclude that whether Gary’s actions or inaction constitute reckless conduct presents a question to be resolved by a jury. http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ma-court-of-appeals/1269698.html”

http://www.massbar.org/publications/lawyers-journal/2012/june/why-punitive-damages-should-remain–2x-or-3x-the-amount-awarded-by-a-jury Why punitive damages should remain 2x or 3x the amount awarded by a jury


http://newton.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/motorcycle-crash-on-i-95-in-newton-three-traffic-lanes-closed UPDATED: Woman Dead After Motorcycle Crash in Newton

http://easton-ma.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/easton-man-dies-in-bridgewater-motorcycle-accident Easton Man Dies in Bridgewater Motorcycle Accident


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