Car accidents and wrecks, especially those that result in the wrongful death of an innocent victim, are horrific events – the event is made all the more awful when it turns out that the at-fault driver was driving drunk. Nothing can turn back the clock and prevent the worst from occurring, but pursuing justice on behalf of the victim can bring some sense of closure to grieving families.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Virginia has a strict legal system and requirements for bringing wrongful death cases. These cases must be brought by a properly qualified personal representative of the estate. Inexperienced lawyers, who fail to understand these requirements, can permanently destroy your rights.
Virginia also strictly construes the individuals who can recover for a wrongful death, otherwise known as the “statutory beneficiaries.” Inexperienced lawyers, who do not understand wrongful death law and procedures, frequently fail to gather all recoverable evidence of damage. Or worse, they fail to compensate the true beneficiary under Virginia law.
Generally speaking, wrongful death claims may be brought by a representative of the deceased’s estate. This person is determined by will or by the state. Most often, it is the victim’s spouse or child. Adopted children and stepchildren may also be eligible for wrongful death damages. If no spouse, children, or designated beneficiary exists, a parent or sibling may also pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the victim.
Settlements and Compensation
Depending on the details of your car accident, you may be entitled to one or more of the following types of damages: medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and wrongful death.
- Medical bills: Whether you need an ambulance ride to a hospital, a life-saving surgery, or years of physical therapy– medical bills can add up quickly. Why should you be responsible for these bills when someone else’s negligence caused your injuries? A personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for those bills, as well as any future medical expenses associated with your injury.
- Lost income: If you’re hospitalized after being hit by a drunk driver, there’s a good chance you’ll miss work while you recuperate. That lost income should not be written off. Seek the paychecks you missed out on. Accidents can put people out of work for months or permanently, so the loss of earnings should also be included in your settlement.
- Pain and suffering: Long after the physical wounds heal, the emotional pain of an accident can linger. Pain and suffering may be included in your settlement.
- Punitive damages: these designed to motivate drivers to avoid driving drunk ever again. They can also provide some financial relief to families of victims killed in the accident.
- Wrongful death: If your loved one was killed because of a drunk driver, you’re probably grief-stricken and wondering how you’ll shoulder medical bills, funeral costs – not to mention the loss of future income for your family. Of course, the emotional loss cannot be understated either. The loss of companionship and affection is irreplaceable. The Virginia wrongful death statute allows certain family members to bring a claim for the losses they have suffered from the death of a loved one.
Statute of Limitations (Deadlines)
Under Virginia law, it is necessary to file a lawsuit within strict deadlines imposed by law. In many cases, Virginia provides for a two-year deadline also known as a Statute of Limitations. However, a delay in an investigation can destroy your case because evidence is often lost and key witnesses can become very difficult to locate over time.
Virginia Drunk Driving Injury Lawyer
Our attorneys have been helping victims injured in accidents caused by someone else’s negligence for over 33 years. We are sensitive to the needs of families in their time of suffering or great loss. We are also sensitive to the need to conduct a prompt investigation, which is necessary to prevail in the case against the person responsible. If you’d like to speak with us about your situation contact us for a free case evaluation 877-544-5323.