A 58-year-old Massachusetts engineer working on a highway project on Route 9 in Framingham was killed by the driver of a pickup truck. The pickup driver pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, driving under the influence of liquor (subsequent offense), leaving the scene of an accident that caused a death and leaving the scene of an accident that caused property damage. The man was scheduled to be sentenced the day following his plea, but even a long prison term is still no replacement for the man who lost his life. While the driver will now face criminal responsibility for his actions, he may also have to answer to civil claims of wrongful death for the fatal car accident he caused.
The engineer was entitled to perform his job with reasonable expectations that drivers should exercise caution and watch out for workers and others on public roads and highways. He may never have imagined that he would lose his life to a drunk driver while simply trying to provide for his family.
The victim's family has not only had to endure the emotional turmoil surrounding the loss of their loved one. They also no longer have the benefit of the income the man derived from his employment. However, Massachusetts personal injury law offers some prospective relief in the form of a wrongful death claim.
Through such a lawsuit, monetary damages may be sought to recover expenses and other damages occasioned by the negligent conduct of another. Indeed, if a civil jury were to determine that the drunk driver was reckless in causing the personal injury, punitive damages could be awarded as well.
Source: The Metrowest Daily News, "Man pleads guilty in fatal Rte. 9 crash; to be sentenced today," Norman Miller, Mar. 27, 2012