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Truck Accident and Wrongful Death

Law Offices of Stephen D. Walsh June 18, 2024

Losing a loved one in a truck accident is an unimaginable tragedy that leaves families grappling with grief, shock, and a devastating sense of loss. During such difficult times, understanding your legal rights and knowing where to turn for support can make all the difference.  

At the Law Offices of Stephen D. Walsh, we are here to help families in Essex County, including Peabody, Danvers, Salem, and Beverly, seek justice and find some measure of peace. 

What Is Wrongful Death? 

Wrongful death refers to a situation where an individual's death is caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another party. In the context of truck accidents, wrongful death occurs when a fatality results from the negligence or misconduct of a truck driver, trucking company, or other related entities. 

To establish wrongful death in truck accidents, the following elements are required: 

  • Duty of care: The defendant must have owed a duty of care to the deceased. 

  • Breach of duty: There must be evidence that the defendant breached this duty through negligence or intentional misconduct. 

  • Causation: The breach of duty must directly cause the victim's death. 

  • Damages: The death must have resulted in quantifiable damages, such as loss of financial support, funeral expenses, and emotional suffering. 

Determining Fault and Liable Parties in Truck Accidents 

Fault in truck accidents is determined through a detailed investigation, which may include: 

  • Police reports: Official reports provide initial insights into how the accident occurred and who might be at fault. 

  • Witness statements: Testimonies from those who saw the accident can offer valuable perspectives. 

  • Accident reconstruction: Experts may recreate the scene to understand the dynamics of the crash. 

  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELD): Data from these devices can reveal the truck driver's hours of service and any potential violations. 

By compiling this evidence, investigators can establish fault and build a case for wrongful death.  

Once fault is established, then the party or parties liable can be determined. The parties that can be held liable in a truck accident leading to wrongful death include: 

  • Truck driver: If the driver was negligent, such as driving under the influence or violating traffic laws 

  • Trucking company: If the company failed to maintain the vehicle properly, enforce safety regulations, or employ qualified drivers 

  • Manufacturer: If a defect in the truck or its parts contributed to the accident 

  • Cargo loaders: If improper loading of the cargo led to instability and caused the accident 

Legal Options Available to Truck Accident Victims' Families 

By understanding your legal options and seeking the right professional guidance, you can get through this challenging time and work toward securing justice and compensation for your loss.  

Family members can file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for their losses. This process involves several steps: 

  1. Identifying eligible parties: Typically, immediate family members such as spouses, children, and parents can file a wrongful death claim. In some states, extended family members may also be eligible. 

  1. Gathering evidence: Collecting relevant evidence, including police reports, witness statements, and medical records, allows you to build a strong case. 

  1. Filing the claim: The claim must be filed within the statute of limitations, which varies by state but usually ranges from one to three years after the death. 

Damages That May Be Awarded in a Massachusetts Wrongful Death Claim 

A wrongful death claim can encompass different types of damages aimed at compensating the family for their profound loss. These may include: 

  • Economic damages: These cover financial losses such as medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and loss of future earnings. 

  • Non-economic damages: These include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress. 

  • Punitive damages: In cases of gross negligence or intentional harm, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future. 

The victims' families can pursue compensation for various expenses and costs, including: 

  • Medical expenses: Costs incurred for the treatment of the deceased's injuries prior to death 

  • Funeral and burial costs: Reasonable expenses related to the deceased's funeral and burial 

  • Lost income and benefits: Compensation for the income and benefits that the deceased would have provided 

  • Loss of consortium: Compensation for the loss of companionship, love, and support experienced by the family members 

  • Pain and suffering: Damages for the pain and suffering endured by the deceased before passing 

Our goal is to help you receive full and fair compensation to ease the financial burden during this challenging time.  


Who can file a wrongful death claim in Massachusetts? 

Typically, the claim must be filed by the executor or administrator of the deceased's estate. If no executor is named, a court may appoint one. The claim can seek compensation for the benefit of the deceased's spouse, children, or, in some cases, other close relatives. 

What insurance coverage applies in truck accident wrongful death cases? 

Insurance coverage in truck accident cases typically involves: 

  • Liability insurance: Covers damages if the truck driver or trucking company is found liable 

  • Commercial auto insurance: Applies to commercial trucks and covers various liabilities 

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Protects victims if the liable party lacks sufficient insurance 

How can a lawyer assist in a wrongful death claim? 

A lawyer with experience in wrongful death cases can provide critical support by: 

  • Legal guidance: Explaining your rights and the legal process in understandable terms 

  • Case evaluation: Assessing the merits of your case and identifying the best course of action 

  • Evidence collection: Gathering and preserving crucial evidence to support your claim 

  • Negotiation: Dealing with insurance companies and opposing counsel to secure fair settlements 

  • Representation: Advocating for your interests in court if necessary 

Having an experienced attorney by your side can significantly improve your chances of achieving a favorable outcome while easing the burden on your family during this difficult time. 

Contact Us for Compassionate Legal Support 

If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, we encourage you to reach out to us at the Law Offices of Stephen D. Walsh, serving Essex County, including Peabody, Danvers, Salem, and Beverly.  

Our team is here to provide compassionate and effective legal representation tailored to your needs. With our extensive experience in personal injury and wrongful death cases, we are equipped to advocate aggressively for your rights so that you can focus on healing while we pursue justice for your family. 

Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation. Together, we can seek the justice and closure your family deserves. We are here to help you every step of the way.