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Drunk Driving Wrongful Death Lawyers

drunk driving wrongful death attorneys

According to the National Highway Safety Commission, 28 people die as a result of a drunk driving incident every day in America. In 2014, 9,967 people were killed because of intoxicated drivers–almost a third of all traffic related deaths in the U.S.

Of the 328 deaths in Massachusetts’ 2014 car accidents, 133 involved alcohol. That’s over a third of them, which exceeds the national average. Massachusetts also has a higher of percentage of drivers reporting drinking too much before operating a vehicle. For context, even 2 drinks can lead to a noticeable decline in visual function and attention, and 3 drinks often causes limited coordination and poor steering.

If a drunk driver causes the death of someone, that death could be considered a wrongful death. In Massachusetts, a wrongful death is legally defined as being caused by the negligence or reckless actions of another. To be negligent is to fail to exercise a reasonable duty of care towards another person, including not taking an action to protect them from a known danger.

In the case of drunk driving, these laws often apply to the driver directly, as they allegedly made the terrible choice to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. However, other people may also be held liable for the actions of a drunk driver:

  • If the driver was under 21, whoever knowingly provided them with alcohol could be liable for the damage they cause. This can include bartenders, who are required to check IDs for all customers, but it can also include family members or friends. For example, if a parent, sibling, or friend knowingly gave minors alcohol, they could violate Massachusetts’ Social Host Law, which has specific penalties for these scenarios and could make them partially liable for the actions of the drunk driver.
  • Even if the driver is over 21, the host can be held responsible for their guest’s actions if alcohol was served in their home or on their premises, especially if they allowed their guest to drive after drinking.
  • Massachusetts prohibits serving alcoholic beverages to intoxicated patrons. If a bartender continued to serve alcohol to a person they knew to be drunk, or they allowed them to drive after excessively serving them alcohol, they could be liable for the damage caused by that driver.
  • The same holds true for liquor stores that fail to ID their customers or allow intoxicated patrons to purchase alcohol.
  • The laws also clearly state that alcohol is not the only substance forbidden to drivers—marijuana, narcotic drugs, stimulants, depressants, and glue vapors all fall under the same prohibitions.

The laws surrounding wrongful death claims can be confusing, especially given that the claimants are typically under serious emotional pain at the time. Wrongful death is not a criminal charge but instead a civil one, with different rules concerning burden of proof and court conduct.

Additionally, when a person has been killed as a result of a drunk driver, it is imperative that an investigation into the circumstances of the incident begins immediately. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Massachusetts is only three years.

Contact a Severe Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney in Salem, MA

When a person has been killed as a result of a drunk driver, it is imperative that an investigation into the circumstances and nature of the incident begins immediately. Over the course of three years, the memories of those who may have seen the driver consuming alcohol and who served that person may fade. The testimony of those who witnessed the driver’s actions could be lost. Physical evidence could degrade or be misplaced. The process of collecting evidence and presenting a suit can be daunting and overwhelming alone for the inexperienced.

That’s where a wrongful death lawyer from Mazow |McCullough, PC in Salem, MA comes into the picture.

At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we understand that no amount of money can ever bring your loved one back. However, a wrongful death settlement can ease the financial burden of a loss and deliver some justice for your loved one and you. We can help you collect the evidence that proves a case of negligence beyond the clearly wrong action of drunk driving, file a claim, and represent you and your interests in court. We can help you hold accountable those who allowed the car accident to happen, either directly or indirectly.

Mazow | McCullough, PC, has a track record of success for our clients in severe injury and wrongful death cases as a result of drunk drivers and dram shop negligence. We immediately begin working with a team of investigators to understand the circumstances surrounding the incident. We understand the devastating emotional toll this type of negligence can take on a family and loved ones. We work closely with those most affected to seek justice for our clients and to help them through this process.

If you’ve lost a loved one to a drunk driver, don’t delay. Reach out to Mazow |McCullough, PC today for a free consultation. Call 978-744-8000. The right lawyer makes all the difference. See our recent results here.

Please contact Mazow | McCullough, PC, today for a free consultation about your case.

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