Fatalities Caused by Car Accidents
There are few things as devastating as losing a loved one in a sudden car accident, especially when the crash resulted from another driver’s carelessness. Some studies suggest that as many as 1.3 million people die each year in fatal car accidents. Some of the most common causes of fatal accidents include texting while driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Massachusetts has specific laws regarding wrongful death claims that arise from fatal accidents. If you are coping with the loss of a loved one due to a fatal car accident, the Boston wrongful death lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck are prepared to help your family get through this difficult time.Holding a Driver Liable for a Fatal Car Accident
According to Massachusetts law, a wrongful death action can be brought against the person responsible for the death if the decedent could have asserted a personal injury claim against the defendant. The claim must be filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This is the person who is appointed by the Probate Court to carry out the decedent’s affairs. Damages resulting from wrongful death may include conscious pain and suffering before death. Any damages for conscious pain and suffering are paid to the estate. The damages from the wrongful death claim itself are paid directly to the beneficiaries designated by statute, usually the surviving spouse and children.
In the substantive lawsuit, the personal representative will need to show that the defendant failed to use due care in operating their motor vehicle and that this failure was the direct cause of the decedent’s death. When applied to the operation of a motor vehicle, due care involves paying attention to the roadway, refraining from distracted driving activities, and adhering to all traffic rules and regulations, such as following the speed limit.
After establishing that the defendant failed to drive with adequate care, the administrator must show that this failure was a direct cause of the decedent’s death. If the defendant can show that some other factor was a substantial cause of the decedent’s death, the personal representative may be able to recover a reduced amount of compensation, unless the majority of the fault lies with the decedent. A seasoned wrongful death lawyer can help Massachusetts residents analyze a potential claim to determine whether they should take legal action against the person who caused their loved one’s death.
Although no amount of money can replace the unexpected and preventable loss of a loved one, it can make a difference when it comes to coping with the financial burden that results. There are numerous expenses that can arise, including funeral and burial expenses as well as financial disruption due to the loss of a loved one’s income and support. Massachusetts allows the personal representative to seek a number of damages, including the value of the income that the decedent would have reasonably expected to earn during their lifetime. Even more important, damages may be awarded for the loss of the companionship and support the loved one would have given in his or her lifetime. If the personal representative can prove that the defendant engaged in willful, reckless, or wanton conduct, such as drunk driving, they can seek punitive damages to punish the defendant for this particularly egregious behavior.Meet with a Diligent Boston Attorney to Assess Your Legal Options
At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we understand how devastating the aftermath of a fatal car accident can be for a family. The last thing that you want to consider is navigating the legal system on your own and trying to advance your legal interests. Our diligent attorneys can ensure that your rights are protected while providing you with the compassionate and personalized legal counsel that you deserve.
We assist people in Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, Lowell, Newton, Somerville, Quincy, Dedham, Norwood, Brookline, Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Plymouth, Worcester, Lawrence, and Springfield. To set up a free appointment to discuss your case, call us now at 1-800-379-1244 or contact us online. We take most of our cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not need to pay us legal fees unless we are able to recover compensation for you.