Struggling with the loss of a loved one is never easy. Figuring out the legal steps when dealing with a wrongful death due to an auto accident is difficult, which is why we’re here to help ease this troubling time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are more than 32,367 fatalities annually as a result of car crashes. Such collisions are often a result of the negligence of another person.
Many drivers falsely believe that car accidents are always “accidental” and are something unfortunate that just happens. From the carelessness of another driver, the negligence of a company that has hired the driver, or the negligence of the company that manufactured the vehicle or its parts, there are many reasons leading to fatal auto accidents.
Who Is At Fault
The first step is to determine who is at fault. This can be a difficult and complex process when a wrongful death claim has been filed. Massachusetts has the rule of law called joint and several liability. This means multiple parties can be sued to recover damages. When multiple people are at fault for a wrongful death claim in Massachusetts, 100% of your damages can be recovered against one or both of those defendants.
As a defendant of a wrongful death claim, you could be paying more than your proportionate share of the damages under Massachusetts law. This means it’s the defendant’s responsibility to pursue other defendants for reimbursement.
When assessing damages of a wrongful death case, you’re entitled to a broader range of damages than in your standard personal injury case.
When a person is hospitalized following the accident, this is considered a period of pain and suffering and can be included as part of the damages. A forensic accountant can be brought in to determine the loss of future earning capacity. Other damages that can be awarded include funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and punitive damages.
When To Get Legal Advice
It’s important to talk with an attorney immediately after the incident or the loss of a loved one. Gathering information on what happened and how it happened, as well as having the documents available to calculate recoverable damages can be a lengthy process. Additionally, experts may be needed to quantify and calculate damages.
Seeking legal advice may not be a top priority when grieving the loss of a loved one. However, the sooner that your attorneys can get involved, the sooner they can determine and assess the damages to present to the at-fault party.
If you or a loved one has experienced a wrongful death caused by an auto accident, our office is well-equipped to help you handle your Massachusetts wrongful death claim by ensuring no stone goes unturned in pursuit of damages.