Losing a loved one is always difficult. However, it can be even more difficult when the person who passes away is a child. In Virginia, when the death was unexpected and the result of another person’s negligence, the deceased person’s loved one can sue the responsible party by filing a Virginia wrongful death claim. While seeking compensation, the family may seek damages for their mental anguish stemming from the loss. While this cannot bring their child back, mental anguish damages are meant to help the family as they emotionally recuperate.
Recently, three children were killed in a car accident on Interstate 95. According to a recent news report, a car traveling southbound was hit in the rear by another car, causing the hit car to crash into the guardrail while the other driver lost control, and their car overturned. While the driver of the rear-ended car received non-life-threatening injuries, the three children in the car were killed instantly.
In situations like this horrific crash, a person can pursue a wrongful death claim if the negligent or reckless act of another caused the death of their loved one. Under Virginia Code section 8.01-52, when pursuing a wrongful death claim, a loved one can ask for compensation for sorrow and mental anguish, loss of income and services, expenses for the hospitalization of the decedent, funeral expenses, and punitive damages (if the defendant acted willfully).
Compensation for sorrow and mental anguish is commonly available in cases where a parent loses their child in an unexpected accident, especially if they witnessed or were also involved in the accident. There are no requirements under Virginia law in order to prove mental anguish; however, juries are not required to give compensation for sorrow or mental anguish.
In order to strengthen their case, families pursuing mental anguish damages will often speak about the good character and habits of the deceased to the jury. This helps to paint the picture of the deceased, highlighting the family’s tragic loss. The family may also present evidence about how the loss of their loved one has impacted their own lives. Often the more evidence presented by the family about their loss and the goodness of the deceased, the more likely the jury is to award mental anguish damages.
Although it may seem easy to show mental anguish and suffering after the death of a loved one, it can be complicated to prove for the purposes or proving damages. Because of this, families who are thinking of pursuing a wrongful death suit should consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can help them with their claim.
Have You Lost a Loved One in a Virginia Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has been recently injured or a loved one has been killed in a Virginia car accident, contact Robinson Law, PLLC. Our dedicated attorneys have years of experience and will assist you through all the steps of your case. We understand how important and emotional these cases are, and we vow to fight for the compensation you deserve. To discuss your wrongful death claim and to schedule a free consultation, call us at 703-649-4500 today.