Fatal Car Accidents
As the winter season settles in, it is important to remember to take extra precautions driving in icy and snowy conditions, and especially at night when it is difficult to spot slippery spots. Getting snow tires for your car and making sure your brakes and seat belts are in good working condition can go a long way towards preventing accidents and injuries.
However, even with these measures, the sad reality is that fatal car accidents occur every day in Massachusetts, whether caused by rough driving conditions, or people who drive intoxicated, or who fail to obey speed limits and traffic signals. When the death of loved one is caused by the reckless or negligent driving or another person, you will feel sad, shocked, and angry. And you will want to seek justice for your loved one.
When a individual is killed in a car accident, his or her family members can file a wrongful death suit. This is a lawsuit in which the family member brings a claim against the individual who caused the death, claiming that he or she is at fault for the accident and thus owes the family member compensation for the loss they have suffered. There are innumerable expenses involved in the aftermath of a tragic accident, and these expenses can add to the family’s suffering and stress at an already difficult time. To help grieving families, and to bring the party at fault to justice, Massachusetts law awards successful plaintiffs in these cases compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, loss of income, and sometimes additional damages. Punitive damages may be available in addition to these compensatory damages if the defendant driver was grossly negligent.
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 229, Section 2, the Wrongful Death Statute, holds a person whose negligent conduct causes the death of another, or whose reckless conduct causes the death of another, in situations where the deceased could have recovered damages for personal injuries if his death had not resulted, liable for damages to the family of the deceased.
Massachusetts wrongful death law is complicated and these cases can take a long time to work through the justice system. This can be a frustrating process, compounded by your need to grieve for the loss of your family member. For example, only individuals within a certain degree of relationship with the deceased can file wrongful death claims and recover damages. Wrongful death cases are also subject to a 3 year statute of limitations.
Other restrictions apply when the deceased was partially at fault for the accident. If the deceased was less than 51% at fault for the accident, the plaintiff can generally recover damages, but the total amount of damages are then reduced by the deceased’s share of the fault. Moreover, if several cars were involved in the accident, the deceased can usually recover from all at fault parties under joint and several liability rules, but specific rules govern what happens when one of the parties settles but another one insists on proceeding to trial.
Given the complicated nature of wrongful death cases, it is important to choose an attorney who both understands these laws and has a track record of success in getting results. The expert personal injury attorneys at the law offices of Altman & Altman can provide the help you need to proceed with your case. We have decades of experience successfully handling wrongful death claims. We understand the stress these cases add to you and your family and we will make the process as easy as possible. We will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions and guide you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free and confidential case consultation. No amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, but financial awards can make a huge difference for your family as you deal with the aftermath of a tragic loss.