If your loved one died in a car accident, you should hire an attorney to determine if you have a wrongful death claim. Your loved one may have suffered a wrongful death if the death was caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of someone else. In Virginia, wrongful death is defined by state statute.
Protecting Your Legal Rights After a Wrongful Death
If you think that your loved one was the victim of a wrongful death, it is important to take action quickly, but it can be difficult to know where to start. There are some specific steps that will help protect your rights. These steps include:
- Preserving evidence. If you have any documentation related to the accident or your loved one’s death, it is important to keep it for any potential legal action. This documentation could include witness contact information, insurance information about the vehicle your loved one was driving, and medical records.
- Notifying relevant insurance companies. If your loved one died in a car, truck, motorcycle, or other type of motor vehicle wreck or if your loved one died in an accident on someone else’s property, it is important to notify your own insurance company right away to report the accident and the death. However, you should not discuss any of the details of the accident or provide any additional information to the insurance company without speaking to your lawyer first.
The Critical First Step: Contact an Attorney
The list of things to do after a wrongful death may seem endless and overwhelming. But calling an experienced and skilled wrongful death lawyer can help with most everything on that list.
Specifically, an attorney can:
- Make sure you have standing to file your case. A surviving spouse, child, or grandchild has standing to file a wrongful death case in Virginia. If there is no surviving spouse, child, or grandchild, the surviving parents or siblings of the deceased may file the case. If there are no surviving parents or siblings, other family members may have the right to file the case.
- Make sure you file your case on time. In most cases, you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death case. However, there are some exceptions to this statute of limitations rule.
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Even though your family has suffered an incredible loss, the insurance company may try to deny or minimize your recovery to maximize its own profits.
- Advocate for your fair recovery of damages. Damages in a wrongful death case may include compensation for emotional suffering; loss of your loved one’s comfort, guidance, companionship, and advice; lost income; medical expenses incurred from the time of the accident until the time of your loved one’s death; funeral and burial expenses; and, in some cases, punitive damages.
The wrongful death lawyers of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty, & Joshi would be pleased to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options. If you have a wrongful death case and choose us to represent you, we will handle all of the legal aspects of your case while you concentrate on moving on with your life. Call us, or reach out to us via this website, today to learn more.