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.
Under Virginia tort laws, a personal representative of the decedent’s estate is named the plaintiff on behalf of the decedent’s beneficiaries. Virginia wrongful death law delineates certain parties as legal beneficiaries. These parties are the spouse, children, and grandchildren of the victim, the deceased’s parents, any dependent relative, or any other surviving family member entitled to the deceased’s inheritance.
Virginia wrongful death plaintiffs may claim various types of damages. These damages include compensation for emotional distress, loss of income and services provided by the victim, funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, and in some rare cases, punitive damages. The court distributes the damages awards based on the claimant’s status in the distribution hierarchy. The personal representative is responsible for appropriately distributing the damages award. Wrongful death cases involve complex tort laws that require the assistance of an experienced attorney.
Has Your Loved One Died Because of Another’s Negligence?
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries or died in a Virginia car accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Robinson Law, PLLC. The attorneys at our law firm have experience successfully resolving claims on behalf of Virginia accident victims. We handle claims stemming from personal injury claims, defective products, premises liability, and medical malpractice. Through our representation, our clients have recovered significant amounts of compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages. Contact our office at 703-649-4500, to schedule a free initial consultation with a Virginia accident attorney at our law firm.