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Massachusetts charges could support a wrongful death claim

Many people in Massachusetts pursue paths that are dedicated to others. For example, one nurse trained to run a marathon in order to raise funds for the neonatal intensive care unit for the hospital that employed her. Unfortunately, police believe that her selfless plan was ended when she was struck by a driver under the influence of drugs. While criminal charges have recently been filed against the driver believed to have caused the woman's death, her surviving family members also have the option of pursuing a wrongful death claim in civil court.

Reports indicate that the victim was training for a marathon in December when the accident happened. Unfortunately, a vehicle driven by a 52-year-old woman reportedly left the roadway, striking the 32-year-old victim. The nurse was pronounced brain dead days after the accident and died after her organs were donated.

Police claim that the driver was under the influence of at least four drugs. While the amounts in her blood are described as being at therapeutic levels, officials say that the combination of the drugs caused significant impairment. Witnesses at the scene claim that the woman asked the same questions repeatedly and kept nodding off. A family member claims that the driver was aware of how the drugs impacted her. The driver was recently arraigned on several charges, including motor vehicle manslaughter.

The loss of an innocent life is always a tragedy. However, that tragedy seems compounded when the victim selflessly devoted large portions of his or her energy to helping others. While not necessary to prove claims of negligence, a conviction of the criminal charges the driver faces could support a wrongful death lawsuit filed in a Massachusetts civil court. If successfully presented, family members of the deceased woman could receive a monetary award that would allow them the cope with the financial consequences of their unexpected loss.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Hanson woman faces charges for Dec. crash that killed jogger", Laura Crimaldi, Feb. 5, 2016

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