Wrongful Death Claims in Virginia
If your loved one died due to another person’s negligence, you and your family could be entitled to significant compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. While many people are reluctant to file wrongful death claims because they do not wish to profit from the loss of a loved one, wrongful death lawsuits are about much more than money.
Benefits of a Successful Claim
- Provide your family with the money needed to pay for your loved one’s funeral costs and burial expenses
- Hold a wrongdoer accountable in civil court
- Prevent other members of your community from suffering a similar loss
Although there are benefits to filing a wrongful death claim, these claims can be complex. Even if you have a seemingly open-and-shut case.
What You Must Prove in a Virginia Wrongful Death Case
- The person who caused the accident owed your loved one a “legal duty of care,” meaning they had an obligation to protect the safety of your loved one.
- The person who caused the accident violated their legal duty of care by acting negligently.
- The breach of the defendant’s duty of care caused your loved one’s accident.
- You and your family have suffered a significant loss that could be alleviated through the award of damages.
Identifying the Right Defendants in a Virginia Wrongful Death Claim
Since the plaintiffs in a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that another party’s wrongdoing caused their loss, identifying and pursuing the right defendants is critical to a successful case.
Possible Defendants in a VA Motor Vehicle Wrongful Death Claim
- The negligent driver
- The employer of the negligent driver, if they were on the clock and driving a vehicle for work-related purposes at the time of the accident
- The owner of the vehicle, if the vehicle was owned by a third party
- An automobile repair shop, if a faulty repair caused or contributed to the accident
- An automotive parts maker, if a defective part caused or contributed to the accident
- An automobile manufacturer, if a manufacturing defect caused or contributed to the accident
- A government entity, such as the Virginia Department of Transportation or a municipal infrastructure body, if the accident was caused or exacerbated by a dangerous road condition
Filing claims against more than one wrongdoer could increase a family’s chances to recover damages. However, plaintiffs must ensure they have sufficient evidence to file a claim against multiple parties.
If you name too many defendants—and cannot prove their liability—the court may be skeptical of your intent. In a worst-case scenario, the defendants could allege that you are seeking to monetize your loved one’s tragic Virginia car accident, causing the judge to dismiss your case before you ever get the chance to tell your story.
Speak to a Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC have served clients across Fairfax and Northern Virginia for more than three decades. Our experienced attorneys know how to construct a compelling, evidence-based case to persuade an insurance company, a judge, or a jury that a wrongdoer should be held accountable for your loved one’s wrongful death.
However, you shouldn’t wait to take action. While Virginia does allow wrongful death plaintiffs to recover damages on behalf of a deceased family member, the state also has a strict statute of limitations. If the statute of limitations lapses, the court could automatically dismiss your claim on a technicality.
Do not lose your chance to get justice for your loved one. Please send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.