When a driver is not paying attention, there can be extreme consequences. If a distracted driver hits a pedestrian, this will often result in the pedestrian’s serious injury, or even death. When a person is killed in a pedestrian accident, their loved ones may bring a lawsuit against the driver. This claim is called a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit, and if the defendant is held liable, they may be required to provide the victim’s family monetary compensation.
According to a local news source, recently in Virginia Beach, a woman was killed after being hit by a car. The woman was crossing the street as she was struck by a car traveling southbound. A witness to the accident tried to help until medics arrived, but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. According to a local news report, it is unclear whether the vehicle stayed at the scene or if the driver will be charged.
Under Virginia Code §8.01-50, a personal representative of a deceased person may bring an action for wrongful death if their death was caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another person. The statute also requires that the deceased individual would have been able to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party, had they not passed. Using the recent pedestrian accident as an example, the deceased’s loved ones would need to prove that the woman would not have died, but for the driver’s irresponsible behavior. If they can do so, they may have a successful wrongful death suit.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the jury is informed to award damages as they deem to be “fair and just.” The jury is also able to consider the following factors, as well as any others it decides are necessary:
- The sorrow, mental anguish, and solace the family has faced since the death of their loved one. The deceased’s loved ones may testify at trial about the loss of companionship, comfort, and guidance they have lost and how it has impacted their lives.
- Compensation may be given for the loss of income of the deceased. Juries will often award damages for this factor, recognizing that it is difficult for families to recuperate financially, especially if the deceased was the primary earner.
- If the deceased was hospitalized after the accident, damages can be awarded for the care, treatment, and hospitalization expenses before their death. Funeral expenses may also be considered.
- If the plaintiff can prove that the defendant’s behavior during the accident was “willful or wanton,” meaning they acted with an extreme disregard for the safety of others, the jury can award additional damages.
Although wrongful death lawsuits may seem straight forward, that is rarely the case. Therefore, those who are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit should contact an experienced attorney to help them prepare and file their claim.
Has a Loved One Been Killed in a Virginia Pedestrian Accident?
If a reckless driver has killed your loved one, contact the dedicated attorneys at Robinson Law, PLLC. While we understand a lawsuit cannot bring your loved one back, it can help you recover financially. Our experienced attorneys have represented injured clients and their families in their personal injury and Virginia wrongful death cases for years, and we will fight to help you get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation and discuss your claim, contact our office today at 703-649-4500.