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Whitey Bulger's relatives to pursue wrongful death claim

The American judicial system is represented by the statue of a blindfolded woman because the scales of justice are supposed to treat everyone the same -- including convicted murderers. Even the most hardened prisoner has certain rights that cannot be ignored.

Relatives of Whitey Bulger, an infamous crime boss who was finally arrested and convicted after years on the run, say that those basic rights were ignored by prison officials in West Virginia when the then-frail and elderly mobster was wheeled into a prison that is considered one of the most dangerous in the country. As such, representatives of his estate intend to file a wrongful death claim.

His relatives say that the 89-year-old should have been in a hospital ward, not the general population. They contend that prison officials were negligent -- or perhaps even reckless -- when they transferred him to the penitentiary in Hazelton where he was beaten death within hours of his arrival.

Wrongful death lawsuits are often "lawsuits of last resort." They don't directly benefit the victim of a tragic accident or deliberate attack because that victim is deceased. They can, however, provide compensation to the victim's family members.

Often, the compensation received from a wrongful death claim is dearly needed by the victim's survivors to replace family income that is lost. Sometimes, however, a wrongful death claim is also designed to hold people -- or institutions -- accountable for their actions so that no one else suffers the same fate as the victim.

In this case, it's likely that representatives of Bulger's estate have the latter idea in mind. Any money won in the wrongful death claim would likely go to Bulger's own victims (who have only received a small portion of the $25.2 million the mobster was supposed to turn over to the government in order to compensate them).

Wrongful death claims are a complicated area of personal injury law. If you believe that a relative of yours died because someone else failed to take reasonable precautions to ensure their safety -- regardless of the circumstances -- find out more about the mechanics of a wrongful death claim today.

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