According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 827 deaths occurred on the state’s roadways in 2019; in addition to the fatalities, 180 people were injured every day from traffic collisions.
If you have recently lost a loved one in a motor vehicle collision and bring a wrongful death suit against the liable party, you could be compensated for damages associated with the untimely demise of your relative. Beneficiaries may include one’s spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, parents or other dependent relatives.
A wrongful death is a death that has been caused by someone else’s negligence, such as failure to act, carelessness, or incompetence. Some examples include a person who was crossing the street only to be hit and killed by a drunk driver, an old woman shot and killed by a mugger over her purse, or a pregnant mother killed by a reckless teen driver.
These are civil lawsuits, not criminal ones, and generally seek to recover losses in regards to sorrow, mental anguish, solace, including the loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice of their loved one; compensation for reasonably expected loss of services, protection, care, and assistance provided by their deceased loved one; expenses for the medical care, treatment, and hospitalization of their deceased loved one (if incurred); and funeral expenses.
To bring such a lawsuit, you need a trusted personal injury law firm in southwest Virginia on your side.
Here are some facts you may not have known about wrongful death cases in Virginia.
Next of Kin Are Qualified to File a Claim
Next of kin of the deceased can include parents, spouses, and children, all of whom are qualified to file a claim in most cases. Minors may need an adult or legal guardian to manage a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. Other next of kin such as stepparents, grandparents, and dependents may also be able to file a lawsuit in some cases.
8 Ways You Can be Compensated
There are many different ways in which you can be awarded damages from a wrongful death claim, including but not limited to:
- Loss of present and future income
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Hospital and burial costs
- Mental suffering
- Loss of support system
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of a family member
There is a Statute of Limitation
Virginia law says that wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the date of the person’s death. If the claim is not filed within two years, it cannot be heard in court.
You May Never Go to Court
While some wrongful death cases do head to court, most are settled out of court. Your attorney will likely seek a settlement before bringing the case to court.
There Are Many Types of Wrongful Death Claims
You can file a suit with the help of a Roanoke wrongful death attorney if death was caused by the negligent actions of someone else. Wrongful death claims can include:
- Hospital malpractice
- Workplace hazards
- Environmental hazards
- Distracted driving collision
- Collisions caused by a negligent or drunk driver
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
- Motorcycle collision due to reckless driving
- Product malfunction/product liability
- Dog bite caused by unrestrained pet
- Slip and fall accidents on property that is unsafe
Wrongful death cases are very complex. While legal action may be the last thing you want to think about in this time of grief, it makes sense to at least contact an experienced personal injury attorney who will assess the facts and the evidence of the case, explain your rights, and help you solve some of the challenges of the loss and avoid any pitfalls that may come up.
Contact Altizer Law
If you need more information about wrongful death cases, get in touch with a trusted personal injury attorney in Roanoke when you contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation at 540-345-2000.