When an 18-wheeler, delivery truck, or other large commercial vehicle is involved in a collision, the consequences for occupants of other vehicles are frequently devastating. All too often, the sheer size and weight disparity between the car and the truck means some victims do not survive this type of crash. Families left behind after fatal trucking accidents deserve answers about what happened and compensation for their loss with a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Claims in Virginia
Virginia law allows only surviving family members who are considered “statutory beneficiaries” to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In most cases, the personal representative who manages the deceased person’s estate will file the lawsuit on behalf of the beneficiaries. These beneficiaries are prioritized by how closely they’re related to the decedent, and that order determines who can recover damages.
Who Might Be Liable in a Truck Accident
Determining who is liable for a truck accident is more complicated than for a regular vehicle crash because there may be multiple responsible parties, including:
- The truck driver. Truck drivers are human and make mistakes that can lead to accidents. Additionally, they may drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol or cause accidents because of careless or reckless driving.
- The trucking company that employs the truck driver. Trucking companies often put pressure on truck drivers to reach their destinations more quickly than is safe. They may also hire drivers who are not properly trained.
- Those who loaded the truck. Cargo companies are responsible for ensuring that trucks are loaded correctly, and the load is secured. Heavy freight that is not loaded properly can shift, causing the driver to lose control of the truck.
- The manufacturers of the truck and truck components. If a defective vehicle or component caused an accident, the manufacturer might be held liable.
- Those responsible for maintaining and repairing the truck. If those responsible for truck maintenance neglected routine repairs or inspections, this can lead to accidents.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Although our Virginia fatal truck accident lawyers recognize that no financial settlement or trial verdict can replace your loved one, we are dedicated to seeking all money available to help you move forward. As a surviving spouse, child, or other family member with legal standing, you may be awarded compensation for wrongful death damages such as:
- Medical expenses due to the truck accident
- Mental anguish and sorrow
- Loss of the decedent’s care, comfort, guidance, companionship, and advice
- Value of the decedent’s lost wages and benefits
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Punitive damages
In Virginia, there is no cap on damages in wrongful death claims (except for punitive damages).
Hiring an Attorney for Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Truck accident claims pose specific, complex challenges that require the experience of an attorney. Skilled, detailed accident reconstruction is almost always essential, and trucking companies and their insurers defend these cases very aggressively. Having a lawyer on your side with experience in dealing with fatal truck accidents can help you recover the maximum amount of damages. Because Virginia’s wrongful death laws impose a two-year statute of limitations for filing a claim, a lawyer can help ensure you do not miss the deadline for filing your case.
Speak With a Fairfax Truck Accident Lawyer Today
To speak with a lawyer prepared to take your case the distance and who understands the full impact of your loss, contact our law firm today. We offer a free consultation, and you will pay no attorney fees unless you win a financial settlement or verdict at trial.