Hull, MA asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts

Q: If someone is killed by a drunk driver, does the state file charges or are we able to sue for wrongful death?

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4 Lawyer Answers

James A. Swartz

Answered
  • Boston, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: In such a circumstance, criminal charges will likely be pursued by the State. However, individuals (or Estates of individuals) who have suffered harm my pursue a civil action against the drunk driver, or against an establishment that allegedly served alcohol to an intoxicated patron, contributing to the tragedy. There may also be other factual scenarios requiring investigation of other possible civil claims.

Michael O. Smith

PREMIUM
Answered
  • Boston, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: Normally, the State would bring criminal charges against the Defendant for his/her actions including OUI manslaughter if there is enough evidence for the charges.

The family, next of kin of the deceased person would also be able to file a civil case against the defendant to seek a recovery.

I would highly recommend you contact an experienced attorney to discuss your options

Robert D. Kreisman

PREMIUM
Answered

A: A civil wrongful death lawsuit would not be prevented in the event the state brings a criminal action against the drunk driver. The two actions are completely separate. Whether there would be a criminal action filed depends on the facts and the investigation handled by the police/state.

Peter N. Munsing

PREMIUM
Answered
  • Wyomissing, PA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: Both. Contact a member of the Mass Academy of Advocacy. If you need the names of some, let me know. The claim is made by the estate, and the estate is set up by the immediate family.

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