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If My Loved One Dies in a Car Accident, Can I File a Wrongful Death Suit?

Most car accidents are minor. They involve a little property damage and very minimal injuries. However, there are cases that are much more serious. Depending on the type of accident, it could involve serious bodily injury or even death.

If your loved one has been killed in a car crash, you’re going to want someone to pay. You’ll be upset and angry. There is absolutely nothing anybody can do to bring your loved one back. However, a Virginia Beach auto accident lawyer can get you justice.

The person responsible for your accident should be held accountable. Your loved one died because of someone else’s negligence. Your Virginia Beach auto accident attorney can file a claim for damages. This case will include a claim for wrongful death.

Your Virginia Beach Auto Accident Attorney Knows the Wrongful Death Law in Virginia

 

Virginia defines wrongful death the same way as other states. Someone is liable for wrongful death if they cause someone’s death because of their negligence or reckless behavior. Usually, we see wrongful death in car accidents and medical malpractice cases.

In order to prove wrongful death, you need to show the following:

  • The defendant owed your loved one a duty of care
  • He breached this duty
  • Your loved one died
  • The defendant’s breach is the cause of his death

When it comes to a wrongful death claim, the hardest element to prove is that the defendant breached his duty. Clearly, there is an injury because your loved one is gone. And, odds are, it won’t be hard that his death was caused by the accident.

So how do you prove that the defendant breached his duty of care?

Your Virginia Beach Auto Accident Lawyer Must Prove Breach in Duty of Care

 

All drivers owe others on the road a duty of care. You have to obey all traffic laws and pay attention to what you’re doing while driving, you can’t get distracted, and you need to use common courtesy.

Some ways in which the defendant could be found to have breached his duty of care include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving recklessly
  • Texting and driving at the time of the accident
  • There was drugs or alcohol involved

Because it’s a wrongful death claim, the injury that resulted was the death of your loved one. If his death was caused by the accident, the defendant will be held liable.

Who Can File for Wrongful Death in Virginia?

 

In order to file a claim for wrongful death, you need something called standing. Standing is having a relationship to the person who was injured. In order to file a wrongful death claim in Virginia, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Spouse or deceased
  • Children or grandchildren of the victim
  • Surviving parents or siblings of the deceased
  • Any family member entitled to inherit the decedent’s estate

The other important thing is to know what exactly you can sue for. You need to suffer damages in order to file a wrongful death suit.

Your Virginia Beach auto accident attorney will demand the following:

  • Sorrow and mental anguish
  • Loss of the victim’s care and guidance
  • Lost wages, pension, benefits, etc.
  • Medical bills
  • Funeral bills and burial expenses
  • Property damage
  • Punitive damages

Of course, he’ll still have to prove these damages. However, the defendant should know that juries are very sympathetic to the plaintiff’s in a wrongful death case.

Most wrongful death cases settle. Your attorney will work hard to do this for you.

Why Will Your Virginia Beach Auto Accident Attorney Try to Settle?

 

Most accident cases settle. In fact, over 95% of all cases do settle before trial. Nobody wants to go to trial. Trial is expensive and time consuming. And, the defendant has a huge incentive to settle. They know that juries award large judgments to wrongful death plaintiffs.

Your lawyer will try to negotiate a fair settlement with the defendant’s attorney. He’ll probably also be dealing with an insurance adjuster. It’s best for everyone involved to try to settle your case quickly.

Call a Virginia Beach auto accident attorney and schedule your initial consultation today. You’ll get a chance to ask any questions you may have. He can also review your case and let you know what it may be worth. The consultation is free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.