If you’ve lost a loved one in a car accident resulting in death, you don’t need us to tell you how painful their passing is, especially if someone else’s recklessness or negligence caused the collision.
But you may wonder, if someone dies in a car accident, can you sue for wrongful death?
In Virginia, the answer is yes. A deceased loved one’s representative may file a wrongful death claim on the family’s behalf for the financial and emotional hardships the loved one’s untimely death caused.
This type of lawsuit seeks compensation under the state’s wrongful death statute.
Below, the personal injury lawyers at River Run Law cover what happens when you lose a loved one in a car accident in Virginia. If you have questions, please contact us today.
Suing for a Car Accident Resulting in Death
Losing a loved one in a car accident is a horrific event with lifelong emotional and financial consequences.
While a lawsuit isn’t a magic bullet, a wrongful death suit may bring a family needed closure and a sense of justice when another person’s negligence causes the accident.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Virginia, the deceased’s representative must initiate legal proceedings on the family’s behalf.
The decedent’s will or a court typically appoints the representative, but the decedent’s spouse and children, including adopted and stepchildren, collect the wrongful death settlement.
If the deceased has no spouse or children, their parents and siblings can typically collect.
When there aren’t any survivors, parties in the deceased’s will or who are otherwise eligible to inherit under Virginia estate law can bring a claim.
How Much Can You Sue for Wrongful Death?
Since no two wrongful death cases are identical, determining the exact amount you can sue for is complex.
Total damages awarded in a wrongful death case vary depending on multiple factors, including the deceased person’s earning capacity, age, and health condition before the accident, and the survivors’ financial dependence on the deceased.
Generally, the types of compensation courts award in a wrongful death lawsuit are parsed into:
- Economic damages, which cover tangible financial losses like medical expenses and loss of income, families incur because of their loved one’s death;
- Non-economic damages for intangible losses, including pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress; and
- Punitive damages where the responsible party’s actions were particularly reckless or egregious.
An experienced wrongful death attorney can help calculate these damages, considering various elements like the loss of future earnings, loss of companionship, and emotional distress, and help you determine a fair settlement amount.
River Run Law: Compassionate Representation
At River Run Law, we offer the families of wrongful death victims personalized, skilled, hands-on legal services.
From day one, we promise to work quickly to get you the resolution you need while keeping you informed every step of the way.
Our compassionate, detail-oriented, diligent advocates have tried numerous cases across the Commonwealth, earning millions of dollars for clients through trials, mediations, and settlements.
We’ve dedicated our careers to redressing wrongs and will fight tooth and nail to meet your unique needs while working steadfastly to win your case.