A car crash resulting in the loss of someone you love is undoubtedly the worst kind, especially if someone else’s negligence caused it.
You may have a claim for compensation if you recently received the unspeakable news that your loved one died in a car crash.
Our experienced attorneys can assist you with legal action to pursue a wrongful death car accident settlement or lawsuit.
If you have questions, please contact us today.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Under Virginia law, wrongful death is the death of an individual caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of another person or entity.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action usually brought by the decedent’s family members against the person that caused the accident.
Under Virginia law, to have a valid claim, the decedent’s death must have been the type that would have warranted a personal injury lawsuit if the decedent had survived.
In other words, if the decedent had survived and would have had a valid claim for a personal injury lawsuit, the decedent’s family could sue the liable party.
A wrongful death claim can be brought as a result of many different types of accidents and scenarios.
Wrongful death claims commonly arise from car accidents but can also be brought as the result of medical malpractice, premise liability accidents, and construction accidents, among others.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim. Only the deceased’s personal representative can file a civil lawsuit.
For instance, the personal representative may be the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate or an individual appointed by the court to represent the decedent’s beneficiaries.
Typically, the personal representative will be the spouse or children of the decedent.
Generally, family members such as siblings, cousins, or aunts and uncles cannot bring a lawsuit unless they are designated as the personal representative.
Damages Under Virginia’s Wrongful Death Laws
Under Virginia law, plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit may be awarded several types of damages. Each case is unique, and the damages available in your case may differ from others.
Wrongful death damages can include compensation for:
- Sorrow and mental anguish;
- Loss of income and services provided by the deceased;
- End-of-life expenses, including medical bills;
- Funeral and burial costs; and
- Punitive damages if the defendant acted in a particularly reckless or grossly negligent manner.
Any settlement or award will be distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries in a particular order.
Typically, damages will go to the spouse and children first, but the distribution order can get complicated.
To learn more about how wrongful death damages may be awarded, contact River Run Law. We are happy to answer your questions.
Wrongful Death Car Accident Attorneys
At River Run Law, we understand the difficult and challenging time you face after losing a loved one in an accident. Our priority is to see that you and your family get the compensation you deserve.