Sadly, many families do not need statistics to tell them about the unfortunate impact of fatal car accidents. Following a fatal car accident, family members of victims may face unexpected financial challenges as a result of the accident. It is because of these challenges, along with the emotional struggles that family members may experience, that the option of bringing a wrongful death claim exists.

According to United States Census data, nearly 40,000 people died in fatal car accidents in 2009. During that same year, 334 people died in fatal car accidents in Massachusetts. One resource available to families who have suffered a loss in a fatal car accident may be a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are a type of personal injury lawsuit brought by the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate for the benefit of the deceased’s family members.

Wrongful death lawsuits allow surviving family members who have endured the wrongful loss of a loved one to recover compensation for the damages that they have suffered. When the wrongful, or negligent, actions of another party cause a death, a wrongful death claim may be possible. Damages for wrongful death claims can include financial damages, as well as emotional damages, such as damages for pain and suffering stemming from the unexpected loss.

Following the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident, surviving family members may not immediately think of the damages that they may suffer, in addition to the emotional losses. A wrongful death claim may allow family members to focus on the difficult process of moving forward following the unexpected death of a loved one.

Source: United States Census, “Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents-National Summary: 1990 to 2009,” accessed Aug. 18, 2014