Fatal Car Accident Attorney in Charlottesville, VA
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, the anguish can be overwhelming if the crash was caused by someone else’s carelessness. You may have a right to hold accountable the person who caused your loved one’s untimely death. You should not have to shoulder the financial burdens on your own.
At the Kendall Law Firm, our legal team is sensitive to the challenges you and other surviving family members face after losing a loved one in a fatal car accident. We are mindful that you are going through a difficult time and you need time to grieve. When you are ready to talk about your legal options, you need compassion and trusted legal guidance.
Kendall Law Firm can help you navigate the process of pursuing a wrongful death claim after the loss of a family member. When you are ready to explore your legal options, contact our Charlottesville office. An experienced and compassionate car accident attorney can answer your questions and explain your legal options during a free consultation.
How Common Are Fatal Car Accidents in Virginia?
Fatal accidents are not uncommon on Virginia roadways. Approximately three lives are lost per day on Virginia roads because of traffic collisions.
Virginia had 968 traffic deaths in a recent year, according to the Virginia Highway Safety Office. Alcohol-related accidents accounted for 247 fatalities, while speed-related factors caused another 445 deaths. Albemarle County recorded 16 fatalities during the same time period.
If your loved one died in a fatal accident, and the driver who caused the crash was speeding, distracted, or driving while impaired, the at-fault driver may be held accountable.
Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents
Drivers who fail to pay attention while behind the wheel put themselves and other motorists in danger. Some of the most common ways drivers cause accidents include:
- Driving while intoxicated
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failing to yield
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving
While driver error is the predominant cause of fatal crashes, poor weather conditions and mechanical defects can also cause collisions.
Virginia Law for Fatal Accidents
The Virginia Wrongful Death Act defines wrongful death as a fatality caused by wrongful actions or neglect by another party. Virginia law gives certain family members the right to pursue compensation if their loved one is killed in a fatal car accident.
Wrongful death lawsuits are somewhat like personal injury claims. When a person is the victim of another party’s negligent actions, they can typically pursue compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Wrongful death claims use the same general principle. However, since the wronged individual is deceased, it is up to family members to file a lawsuit on the individual’s behalf.
If the deceased had grandchildren, they may pursue compensation if their parents are deceased.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Car Accident?
The Virginia Wrongful Death Act only allows certain individuals to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one. It is only possible for the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to file a lawsuit. This person may be the specified executor of the deceased person’s estate, or it may be a spouse or direct family member if the deceased had no will outlining an executor.
Although only the deceased individual’s personal representative can file a lawsuit, the compensation gained if the case is won will generally be distributed to the deceased person’s beneficiaries. Virginia law gives first priority to seeking compensation to the surviving spouse and children of the deceased.
Those who may receive these statutory benefits include:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving parents, siblings, or other relatives who can prove they were dependent on the deceased
Damages Available in Fatal Car Accident Claims
No amount of money can bring back your loved one. But a settlement or court award can help ensure that you and your family are financially stable and not burdened by medical debt or funeral expenses generated by the fatal accident.
By filing a wrongful death lawsuit after a fatal car accident, you may seek compensation for:
- Funeral costs
- Burial expenses
- Final medical expenses
- Value of lost income
- Value of lost benefits
- Loss of the deceased’s services and care
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
In some cases, family members may also be awarded punitive damages. This type of compensation is sometimes awarded to punish willfully reckless or wanton conduct as a form of deterrent against future wrongdoing. Only certain situations rise to the level of a court awarding punitive damages.
If you have questions about whether a wrongful death case is appropriate following a fatal accident, contact an experienced Charlottesville fatal auto accident attorney at Kendall Law Firm.
How Can a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer Help You?
After losing a family member, money is not your focus. You are struggling to comprehend the reality of life without your loved one. It can be a struggle to think clearly and accomplish daily tasks. Eventually, you may have questions about paying household expenses without the income your loved one provided. You need the guidance of a skilled fatal auto accident attorney.
A resourceful car accident attorney in Charlottesville will be able to investigate the cause of the fatal crash and gather evidence that will help establish liability. This evidence can be used to build a compelling case demonstrating that you deserve full compensation. You can focus your heart and mind on your family while we focus our attention on holding the negligent party responsible for their actions.
Contact Kendall Law Firm for Help
At Kendall Law Firm, we wish you never had to endure the pain and loss caused by a negligent driver in Charlottesville. If you find yourself dealing with the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident, we are here to help. We can provide you with compassionate service while aggressively pursuing the compensation you and your family deserve.