Wrongful Death

Virginia Wrongful Death Law: How to Bring and Win a Lawsuit

When you lose a loved one unexpectedly, it’s often difficult to think about what to do next. In many cases, families may not know that Virginia law entitles them to seek compensation if another person’s negligence caused the death. Here are some tips on how to file a wrongful death lawsuit and the recovery available for family members. How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Figuring out how to file a wrongful death lawsuit on your own is stressful, especially if you haven’t filed a case before. Here are some steps that will help put you and your family on the path toward recovery.  1. Determine the Order of Succession The first step in filing a wrongful death lawsuit is to identify the executor of the estate for the deceased. Under Virginia Code § 8.01-50, only the executor or legal personal representative of the deceased may bring the lawsuit. However, the order of succession determines who may be named a beneficiary in the lawsuit. For example, § 8.01-53 awards damages to the following beneficiaries: The surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren of the deceased; If there is no surviving spouse, child, etc., the surviving parents and siblings of the deceased; or Any surviving family member if none of the above people are alive. Virginia also considers any person related to the deceased by blood, marriage, or adoption to be a family member. This means that stepchildren or adoptive children of the deceased may be beneficiaries as well. 2. Collect Evidence of Your Damages Under § 8.01-52, the court may award a variety of economic and non-economic damages depending on the circumstances. This includes: Mental anguish and sorrow; Loss of society, companionship, comfort, and guidance; Loss of the deceased’s income, services, protection, and care; Medical expenses relating to the injury which caused death; and Funeral expenses. In rare cases, the court may also apply punitive damages if the defendant acted in an especially reckless way. The goal of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for willful or wanton conduct. They don’t compensate for any specific loss incurred by the claimant or the beneficiaries. 3. File Your Case in a Timely Manner If you decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s best to do it as soon as possible. Virginia, much like other states, has a statute of limitations for filing a claim. This statute limits the amount of time claimants have to file before the court refuses to hear the case. According to § 8.01-244, the personal representative must file within two years after the deceased’s death. Failing to file a claim within this time period may bar any survivors from recovering damages, so it’s important to file quickly. Consult an Experienced Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney Today If you have lost a loved one due to a preventable accident, you don’t have to go through it alone. The River Run Law team knows how devastating a wrongful death can be for the surviving family. We’re here to answer any questions you have about the process and fight for the justice you deserve.  To schedule a consultation, please call or contact us now. We proudly serve clients throughout the state of Virginia from our practice in Richmond.

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Wrongful Death

What Is the Virginia Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

When you unexpectedly lose a loved one in an accident, you may have several questions about your legal options. It’s common to wonder how long you have to file and whether you should pursue a lawsuit. Like most claims, wrongful death has a statute of limitations for filing against an at-fault party. Here is everything you need to know about the Virginia wrongful death statute of limitations and how it may affect your case. The Virginia Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations A statute of limitations is a time limit set by each state for filing certain types of legal actions. The purpose of the Virginia wrongful death statute is to both prevent people from waiting too long to file and to ensure that both parties have the ability to gather fresh evidence.  According to the Code of Virginia § 8.01-244, the claimant must file a wrongful death claim within two years after the date of death. However, if the court dismisses a lawsuit brought by the claimant within that time period, the claimant may file again.  Are There Any Exceptions? While it’s rare for the court to make an exception to the statute of limitations for wrongful death, it does happen. There are certain circumstances in which the court may extend the deadline for the claimant.  The first exception relates to the rule of discovery. If a family member doesn’t discover the decedent’s death until after their passing, the clock starts after they discovered or reasonably should have discovered it. Another important exception is if the claimant is a minor child at the time of their parent’s death. In this case, the child has until two years after their 18th birthday to file a wrongful death claim. However, in other instances, the court usually uses the wrongful death lawsuit statute of limitations written into Virginia law. What Happens If I Miss the Deadline? If you miss the Virginia wrongful death statute of limitations deadline, chances are that the court won’t hear the case. For this reason, it’s essential to consult with an experienced Virginia wrongful death attorney. Not only can they help collect evidence pertaining to the case, but they can also help you file your claim in a timely manner.  Need Assistance with Your Wrongful Death Claim? Losing a loved one due to the negligence of another is an incredibly devastating experience. Don’t count on the defendant’s insurance company to be empathetic during this difficult time. At River Run Law, our Virginia wrongful death attorneys know how difficult it can be to face a claim on your own. From day one, we help our clients navigate every aspect of their case. Whether that’s collecting evidence, negotiating settlements, or making claim filings, we’re here for you.  For a free case analysis, contact us online or give us a call at 804-889-0500. We proudly serve individuals and families throughout Virginia from our office in Richmond. 

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A Quick Guide to Virginia’s Motorcycle Laws

If you plan on learning to ride a motorcycle, or if you are a new Virginia resident that already has one, you should be aware of the Virginia motorcycle laws. You should also know what to do in case of an accident while you’re riding. This guide is a quick reference for motorcycle operators and passengers. Helmets and Licensing Virginia residents must pass written and skills tests to receive a motorcycle classification on their driver’s license. You can find more information about the test and the Virginia Motorcycle Operator guide on the Virginia DMV website. You must register your motorcycle with the DMV and have valid insurance. You must also have a securely fixed license plate. The Virginia motorcycle helmet law says that all riders must wear a helmet that meets certain minimum requirements. Riders must also wear eye protection or have a windshield.  Required Equipment VA motorcycle laws do not have a minimum age limit for passengers, but all passengers must use footrests/pegs, have their own seat, and wear helmets and eye protection. Motorcycles need headlights, horns, and rearview mirrors unless they are designed for trail riding and operated during daylight hours. The required lights are: At least one headlight visible from 200 feet, A tail light visible from 500 feet, A working brake light, and A license plate light visible from 50 feet. Motorcycles must have brakes on both the front and rear wheels and mufflers. Your bike must pass an annual safety inspection. Traffic Laws Some traffic signals have sensors that detect when a motorist is waiting at the light. However, motorcycles, because of their small size, sometimes fail to trigger the sensor. When this happens, VA law permits motorcyclists to pass through the light provided they come to a full stop, check all directions, and wait at least two full minutes. If the light is non-responsive, the motorcyclist must wait for at least two full cycles before proceeding.  Some people wonder, is lane splitting legal in Virginia? Lane splitting means riding a motorcycle between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic that is going in the same direction. It is a way for motorcyclists to bypass congestion. While there is currently proposed legislation to allow lane splitting, it is not legal in Virginia. This is distinct from lane sharing, which refers to the practice of motorcyclists riding side-by-side or abreast in the same lane; lane sharing is legal in Virginia.  Motorcyclists may also ride in HOV lanes and on all public roadways and use facilities built with public funds, such as parking garages. You can find more detailed information about VA motorcycle laws in the Virginia Code. I Was in a Motorcycle Accident—Now What? If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.  If you weren’t seriously injured, you could pursue the claim yourself with the other party’s insurance company.  We advise you not to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company. You should know that the first offer will most likely be a lowball offer.  If you accept it, you give up your right to recover any other money from them.  The insurance company will try to pay you the least amount possible.  However, if you received medical attention for your injuries or are concerned about being taken advantage of by the insurance company, you should speak to a VA motorcycle accident attorney.  River Run Law will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf for a favorable settlement.  If we are unable to settle the case favorably, we would discuss your options with you and file a lawsuit if that makes sense for your situation.  Contact us today to schedule a free case analysis.  We do not charge any legal fees unless your attorney recovers a settlement or wins a lawsuit on your behalf.

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Firm News

River Run Law’s Casey Ariail Weighs in on Virginia’s New COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Laws

Richmond, VA (September 7, 2021) — Virginia recently passed a law extending COVID-19-related workers’ compensation coverage to first responders and front-line medical workers. This expansion allows these kinds of employees who contract or contracted COVID-19 to seek compensation from their employers.  Workers’ compensation attorneys expect complications from this new law. When a claim is filed, the law presupposes that the employee contracted the virus while at work. The employer or their insurance company must affirmatively show that the infection did not happen while the employee was working. This will be extremely difficult for employers to accomplish.  Casey Ariail recently spoke with Virginia Mercury, an online news publication, about the ripple effect he expects this new law to have on the legal profession. This new law “flips the burden,” the article quotes Casey. “Typically, for the person bringing any kind of claim, it’s on them to prove it. And that’s why these laws are important—the presumption flips the burden of proof to the employer.” In addition to this untraditional shifting of the burden of proof, Casey also discussed the nature of the law is retroactive. First responders can file suit for claims that accrued on or after July 1, 2020. Front line medical workers can go all the way back to March 12, 2020. Casey explained, in the Virginia Mercury article, that the global pandemic by itself is a strong defense for making the law retroactive. However, many opposing attorneys question the timing of passing the law so late in the pandemic. Virginia attorneys plan to test the new law out first within the context of extreme cases. The reasoning behind this is that any potential snafus can be resolved before relying on this law in legal claims. “I feel like, unfortunately, someone is going to have to be the first one to test this,” Casey said in the article. “Everyone’s kind of learning as we go—it’s like building an airplane as you’re flying it. And the unfortunate part is that the people it gets worked out on are the ones who are going to suffer through the process.” The full article is available on the Virginia Mercury website.

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River Run Law Firm Named Best of Richmond 2021

Thousands of Richmond residents voted in Richmond Magazine’s Best & Worst 2021 ballot in the spring. Respondents shared their opinions in 194 categories, ranging from the best cocktail hour to the best flower shop, from the best cake to the best concert venue. The ballot also covered a variety of service categories so people could make recommendations about where their neighbors should turn when they need help. River Run Law Firm is proud that our community voted us as one of Richmond’s best law firms in Richmond Magazine’s Best & Worst shopping and service section.  When someone in our community suffers an unthinkable injury, we are proud to be the lawyers they turn to for help. The attorneys at River Run Law are dedicated to advocating for personal injury and workers’ compensation plaintiffs.  If you or someone you know needs a law firm in Richmond, look no further than your community’s recommendations. Our lawyers are ready to advocate for you as you navigate  Seeking medical care, Filing insurance claims, and  Determining the legal action you want to take. Call River Run Law today at 804-889-0500 to discuss your case. Thank you to everyone in Richmond who voted us the best law firm in 2021.

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Can You File a First Responders Virginia Workers’ Comp Claim for COVID-19?

It’s been a tough year-and-a-half for Virginia’s first responders and frontline health care workers. In many instances, the First Responders are the initial people to interact with someone who is seriously ill with COVID-19. There is a good reason why they are considered the heroes of this pandemic. One of the many issues they face is what type of wage and medical benefits will be available to them if they contract COVID-19 and are off of work due to the illness or the need to quarantine.  Usually, if an EMS worker or other health care worker has an on-the-job injury, it is easy to demonstrate and prove. For example, an EMS technician can hurt their back lifting a patient into an ambulance. That is a simple workers’ compensation claim to make and win. But what happens when that same EMS worker comes down with COVID-19? From whom and how did they catch the virus? Was it on the job, treating and transporting COVID patients, or was it spread from someone while grocery shopping? These types of workers’ compensation claims would normally be much harder to prove. But experienced and skilled Virginia workers’ compensation attorneys can help make sure your rights are being protected and you get the benefits you deserve. A new law passed by the Virginia Legislature will help. Will the New COVID-19 First Responders Workers’ Compensation Law Make It Easier to File and Win a Claim? To help with the difficulty of applying for and winning workers’ compensation claims for COVID-19, the Virginia Legislature passed House Bill 1985, Senate Bill 1375, and House Bill 2207 which are designed to make it easier for health care workers and first responders to receive medical and wage benefits after contracting COVID-19. The combination of the three new laws creates a presumption of compensability when the worker is disabled or dies from COVID-19. For the presumption to be valid, the health care worker must have tested positive for the virus and be treated for COVID-19 symptoms by a medical provider. However, one caveat in the new law provides that health care workers and first responders who refuse to be vaccinated will not be eligible for the presumption that the disease was caught at work unless a physician determines that receiving the vaccination will be adverse to the person’s health. What Is a “Rebuttable Presumption” of Compensability? The new law creates a “rebuttable presumption” that if the first responder or health care worker contracted COVID-19, they did so while on the job. This makes it easier for them to win workers’ compensation wage and medical benefits if they are off of work due to the disease or die from it. It is a rebuttable presumption, though, in that if there is evidence to show that the disease was contracted outside of work, then they would not be entitled to benefits.  For example, let’s say that there is a hospital worker that in the normal course of his or her job, never comes into contact with patients, but that worker then contracts COVID-19. During the workers’ compensation hearing, the employer could attempt to rebut the presumption by arguing that the employee had to catch the virus outside of work because they were never near sick patients at work. The new law puts the burden on the employer to rebut the presumption. This is different from claims for other types of work-related illnesses, where the employee has the burden to prove that their illness resulted from work.  The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at River Run Law Help First Responders Win Benefits If you are a first responder or health care worker and have COVID-19, contact the Virginia workers’ compensation lawyers at River Run Law. We are here for you to answer your questions and help you through the complicated process of a Virginia workers’ compensation claim. You are the frontline heroes that have helped all of us through this pandemic. Now, let us help you. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can protect your rights and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.

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What Is the Virginia Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?

The Virginia statute of limitations gives you only two years after an accident to file a lawsuit. Although the law provides some limited exceptions, you likely must take action within that period. Otherwise, you could lose the right to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident, truck accident, or any other type of personal injury accident. The compassionate and experienced Virginia personal injury lawyers of River Run Law understand what you’re going through. When you choose us to assist you with your claim, we mobilize immediately. We persist throughout the legal process, fighting to get you the compensation you deserve for your damages. Fill Out Our Free and Confidential Accident Form About Your Case We are here to help. If you need help getting started with your accident-injury-related claim please fill out the form below and we will contact you as soon as possible. How Does the Virginia Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Work? The clock for this time limit begins to count down from the date of your accident. If you have not filed a civil lawsuit by the time the clock runs out, you might compromise your legal rights. This time limit applies to any type of injury accident caused by another party’s negligence, including the following. Car accidents, Truck accidents, Pedestrian accidents, Motorcycle accidents, Workplace accidents, Premises liability accidents, and Animal attacks and dog bites. You can still file a lawsuit after the time limit expires. However, the defendant will likely respond by asking the court to dismiss your case. If the limitation period has indeed expired, the court will proceed accordingly. Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Virginia Under the Virginia statute of limitations, personal injury victims have some limited exceptions to the two-year deadline. Minor children, for example, have two years from their 18th birthday to file suit. If the victim suffered from a mental or physical disability prior to the accident, they might have longer to pursue a claim. Finally, if the defendant committed fraud, the plaintiff might have extra time to file a lawsuit. Talking to an attorney is the best way to determine whether any exceptions apply in your case. Your attorney will keep your claim on track and help ensure that you don’t miss any critical deadlines. Why Time Is of the Essence for Virginia Personal Injury Cases Virginia’s personal injury lawsuit statute of limitations is a compelling reason to act quickly after an accident. However, other compelling reasons exist for moving quickly after sustaining an injury as well. To build a compelling case, your attorney must investigate the accident and gather critical evidence. Unfortunately, evidence can disappear quickly. Witness memories fade. With each passing day, the ability to build a strong, persuasive case can degrade. For this reason, you will benefit most from contacting a qualified attorney immediately after sustaining an accident-related injury. Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney for Help Speak to an experienced attorney as quickly as possible after an injury accident. The sooner you get a lawyer on board, the sooner they can start building your case. The experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys of River Run Law understand the importance of moving quickly. When you choose us to handle your case, we begin immediately. We investigate the circumstances of your accident and document every aspect of your case. We push the insurance company to negotiate in a timely manner so we can get you the funds you need now. To schedule your free consultation, or to discuss the statute of limitations in VA with experienced Virginia personal injury lawyers, contact us today. 

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Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Virginia?

If you sustained injuries due to someone’s negligent or wrongful actions, you might be considering a legal claim. If so, you likely have many questions about the process. One of the most common questions potential clients ask us is, do I need a personal injury lawyer to get a settlement? Although you can pursue a claim on your own, you might not want to. Having an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney on your side provides multiple advantages. The River Run Law team knows how to get the job done for you. We have helped hundreds of clients and recovered millions of dollars in settlements and awards on their behalf. We will work tirelessly to build the most persuasive case possible for you and fight to get you the justice and compensation you deserve. When Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer? If you sustain injuries in an accident that you didn’t cause, you have the right to pursue legal action. Some of the most common types of accidents that warrant calling a lawyer are the following: Car accident, Motorcycle accident, Truck accident, Pedestrian accident, Workplace accident, Dog bite, and Slip and fall accident. These are not the only types of incidents that might warrant contacting an attorney, however. No matter how you sustained your injuries, consider contacting an attorney to explore your options. If you lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence, you might also want to seek help from a wrongful death attorney. No amount of compensation can bring your loved one back. However, you can get justice for their loss and a more stable economic future for you and your family. Call a Personal Injury Attorney ASAP If… Some cases are straightforward and simple, allowing you to deal directly with the insurance company to get a settlement. Under those circumstances, you don’t need to have an attorney. In other cases, however, getting a lawyer onboard can mean the difference between getting a settlement and having your claim denied. These are just a few of the circumstances under which it might make more sense to get an attorney. Your Injuries Are Severe The more serious the injuries, the larger the potential settlement. The larger the potential settlement, the harder the insurance company will fight to deny your claim. Fault Is Not Obvious In some cases, another party clearly has fault for your accident, making them liable for your damages. In other cases, however, you might have to prove fault. An attorney has the knowledge and resources to build a persuasive case and fight to get you the best possible outcome. The Other Party Has a Lawyer Having an attorney can level the playing field if the other side has a lawyer. This is also true if you’re taking on a large insurance company with virtually limitless resources. They might assume you have little knowledge or the law or your legal rights. With an experienced attorney on your side, they will recognize just how serious you are about getting the justice you deserve. Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Now You might have found your way to our site today by searching, “Do I need a personal injury attorney?” If so, take the next step and call for a free consultation. We will answer your questions and explain your options. We can help you get started on the legal process today. Contact us now to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case analysis with one of our helpful and experienced Virginia personal injury lawyers. 

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Casey Ariail Named 2022 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch

River Run Law is pleased to share that Best Lawyers named Casey Ariail as a 2022 attorney to watch in the fields of Workers’ Compensation Law – Claimants and Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Law. Casey is a co-founder of River Run Law, and he has passionately advocated for his clients throughout his legal career. Beyond being regarded by his clients, Casey is also well-respected by his peers. Best Lawyers uses a purely peer review methodology to name the 2022 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch. To earn a nomination from their peers, an attorney must demonstrate professional excellence in private practice. The Ones to Watch recognition is reserved for attorneys who are early in their career but have the potential to strongly influence their areas of practice. Casey’s recognition is specifically for his work in plaintiffs personal injury litigation and claimants workers’ compensation law. To read more about Casey’s award, visit the Second Edition of Best Lawyers under the Ones to Watch recognition area. River Run Law is proud to call Casey our colleague and friend. Congratulations, Casey!

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River Run Law Named Best of Richmond

Style Weekly released in August 2021 a list of readers’ choice Best in Richmond businesses. River Run Law and Casey Ariail are proud to be featured on this list. The digital and print magazine surveys the community on a variety of business categories, asking individuals what places they think are the best of Richmond, Virginia. Casey is featured in the “Best Lawyers” section of the 2021 Best of Richmond issue. Recognizing that our community has a variety of resources to turn to for legal advice, River Run Law is honored to be considered one of the best in the city. Our attorneys are invested in our clients and local community, and it is humbling to know that the community recognizes this. River Run Law is dedicated to helping our clients navigate the troubling journey of a personal injury claim. Our experienced attorneys work hard to obtain a good outcome for our clients, so they can recover from their trauma and return to their normal lives. Thank you to the clients and community members who nominated Casey and River Run Law for the “Best Lawyers” recognition. We look forward to continuing to serve the Richmond community.

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