Driving is the most popular (and dangerous) form of transportation throughout the United States. While safety commissions and government entities exert significant time and energy into traffic safety education and accident prevention, accidents continue to occur at an alarming rate. Some Virginia car accidents may result in minor injuries and damages; however, many suffer serious injuries or death. Virginians who have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident should understand their rights and remedies.
Virginia law defines wrongful death as a death that results because of another’s wrongful act or neglect. The law provides that a plaintiff may proceed with a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party, if the circumstances of the victim’s death would have warranted a personal injury claim, if the victim did not die. Essentially, a wrongful death claim is akin to a personal injury lawsuit except that the victim is no longer alive. These types of lawsuits often arise after a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, medical malpractice, or a similar situation where another’s negligence caused the victim’s death.
For example, recently, a Virginia news report described a harrowing car accident that occurred on Thanksgiving. Reports indicate that a pickup truck driver was heading west when he sped through a red light. He subsequently slammed into several vehicles, including an SUV, resulting in the death of two people. Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) data provides that the intersection has been the scene of 18 collisions; however, this was the first accident resulting in a fatality.