Worcester was rocked on July 14 when 81-year-old Patricia LeMay was killed in what police called a "tragic accident." LeMay was out taking her morning walk on a side street in her neighborhood when an asphalt truck working on a driveway-paving job knocked her down, pinned her underneath and dragged her for 30 feet. LeMay was announced dead at the scene.
Accidents happen and lives are changed when they do. While this woman certainly had a long and fruitful life filled with her 14 children and 31 grandchildren, oftentimes this is not the case. Many people had a full life ahead of them, and perhaps they needed to provide for loved ones. Wrongful deaths can cause financial hardships as well emotional ones for family members. LeMay didn't survive the accident, but wrongful death will often be preceded by a period of pain and suffering, which can also be compensable because of the astronomical amount of medical bills resulting from the accident that weren't covered by health insurance.
There are many things to consider even as the family still grieves, and an experienced attorney can help to determine who liable and if there is compensation forthcoming.
Is it a case of wrongful death?
Life insurance may soften the blow or cover the funeral, but financial compensation in the Massachusetts courts is also a possibility. In the case of a wrongful death suit, a set a scales are based on such factors as loss of love and companionship as well as loss of future net income and support. It is not always a given that money is forthcoming.
As of now, the LeMay family appears to not have pursued recompense. Oftentimes, however, this is not so much an option as a necessity in the thousands of truck accidents resulting in hundreds of deaths each year in the U.S.
Who is liable?
While it appears that this accident was regarded an act of bad luck rather than negligent driving, if the driver had been held at fault liability insurance would cover the expense of the accident. Generally speaking, liability insurance covers bodily injury, property damage and personal injury.
The other point here is to figure out is which liability insurance. If the driver is an employee of the construction company, then the company is responsible because it took place on the job. However, if the driver was an independent contractor, the construction company would be less likely to be liable.
If the latter is the case, the victim's attorney would attempt that prove that the contractor was indeed following company protocols to perform the job and therefore is an employee of the company. Determining contractors versus employee in truck accidents is just part of a larger discussion detailed by the IRS here. A skilled attorney in with experience in the field of commercial truck accidents will be helpful in this area, ideally pursuing the company, which has a larger and more inclusive policy than the contractor.