Attorney Steve Sabra, of Sabra and Aspden Law Offices of the greater Somerset Area, spoke on Law Talk about the Aaron Hernandez case that is taking place right now.
In the Aaron Hernandez case coming up, the defense attorneys filed a motion called a motion in limine to prevent the jury from hearing about prior bad acts of the defendant. A motion in limine is a motion filed prior to the start of the trial and generally speaking a motion that’s dealt with by the judge only prior to the start of the trial so the lawyer knows what evidence is going to be allowed and what evidence isn’t. In this case, a motion of limine is filed by the defense attorney in response to the execution trying to get in certain evidence with regard to prior activities of the defendant including but not limited to the particular incident where Aaron Hernandez shot Odin Lloyd in a nightclub in Attleboro.
The defendant obviously knows how to use a gun, so the prosecution wants to get that evidence in front of the jury. The rule of evidence is that evidence from other crimes cannot prove the case but can be used to show prove motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.
For more information regarding wrongful death laws in the state of Massachusetts, click here.
6 Frequently Asked Questions Regarding a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When experiencing the traumas of the wrongful death of a loved one in Fall River, it is already a difficult situation to handle, let alone claiming a wrongful death lawsuit. Most people do not know what to do when this sudden situation hits them. Here are some typical questions people have when going through this process:
- What is a claim for wrongful death? A claim for wrongful death can be made if a death of an individual occurred from the negligent actions of another person who is at fault. To consider what is negligent, it is often put into question if a person who is reasonable and careful would have done the same thing in the same situation. For example, if a drunk driver causes the death of another person, it is considered to be a wrongful death. It is fair to assume that the action of driving while intoxicated is not in accordance with the actions of a reasonable and careful person.
- Who can bring a wrongful death claim? A wrongful death claim must be filed by the representative of survivors who have suffered damages from the death of the victim. These survivors are known as “real parties in interest.” Who qualifies to be a real party in interest can vary from state to state. Most commonly, the following people can bring a wrongful death claim:Immediate family members: In all 50 states, if the deceased left behind an immediate family, such as a spouse, children, or parents of dependent children, they can bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Financial dependents, spouses, and partners: In most states, anyone who was a spouse or life partner of the deceased or was financially dependent upon them can recover under wrongful death actions as well.
More distant family members: You may wonder, what about the deceased’s siblings, grandparents, or any other relative who is not classified as an immediate family member who is still affected from the loss? A lot of the time it is dependent upon the relationship, because many cases vary. For example, a grandparent or sibling who may be living with them, raising their child, or any other circumstance that brings more importance to these relatives may be able to bring an action.
- Who may be sued for a wrongful death? You may think that the person who can be sued is as simple as the person who immediately caused the death of another person, however there are even more extenuating circumstances where someone who was not on site at the time of death may still be at fault. In the past, some people who did not directly kill the deceased but still had to serve as defendants of a wrongful death case were:
- The builder of a faulty roadway
- The government agent who failed to provide adequate warnings which lead to a person’s demise
- The manufacturer, distributor, and installer of a faulty part of a vehicle or machinery
- The person who served or sold alcohol to an impaired driver of a vehicle or operator of machinery
- The owner of the establishment where alcohol was served or sold to an impaired driver
- What damages are recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit? There are three types of damages that are available to survivors of a wrongful death lawsuit: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.Economic damages: This is the recovery for the value of the financial contributions that the victim made to others while living that they are no longer able to receive.
Non-economic damages: This is the less tangible damage that has more value. It would be the recovery for all the survivors’ pain and suffering.
Punitive damages: This is awarded to punish the defendant for their bad conduct causing the victim’s death. While many states are different, they all account for the recovery of the family’s economic loss. Most of the time, funeral and burial arrangements are paid for, as well as prospective inheritance, and the deceased’s lifetime earning capacity. Also, pain and suffering experienced by the currently deceased can be recovered.
- Are there time limits for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit? Yes, and while every state differs, most typically it is about two years after the date of the death.
- If I bring a wrongful death lawsuit, will I have to go to court? Many wrongful death cases are settled outside of going to court, however the possibility is always there that you will.
After over 35 years in the Fall River, Swansea, Somerset, Assonet, and New Bedford Areas, the best personal injury and wrongful death attorneys in Southern New England are Sabra and Aspden.