Types of Lawsuits After a Fatal Virginia Accident

Fatal accidents affect not only the drivers involved but also their loved ones. After a person dies in a car accident, their family may be left with emotional and financial consequences from the crash. To provide closure and alleviate their financial burden, the deceased’s family may choose to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver. If you are considering a personal injury lawsuit, it is important to understand the difference between a wrongful death and a survival action, which are different types of lawsuits under Virginia personal injury law.

For example, as a news article recently reported, a Rockville, Maryland fatal accident claimed the life of one person. Local police observed a sedan speeding and turned on their emergency equipment. Shortly thereafter, they encountered a two-vehicle crash between the sedan and another vehicle. According to local investigators, the sedan likely collided with the other vehicle while making a turn. Sadly, the other driver died at the scene. The sedan driver fled from the scene, but police later apprehended him.

What Are the Differences Between Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Survival Actions?

In Virginia, there are two types of lawsuits you can bring after a fatal accident. A wrongful death lawsuit compensates the deceased victim’s family for the harm they have suffered from the accident. A court will award damages for pain and suffering, which compensates for the emotional and psychological harm resulting from the accident. A wrongful death lawsuit can also allow the victim’s family to recover economic damages, including the deceased’s lost future earnings. Conversely, survival actions compensate the deceased victim as if they had survived. The deceased’s personal representative files the survival action, but the damages award will go to their family. The damages recoverable in a survival action are the same as the deceased could recover had they survived.

Can You Recover Damages if the Victim Was Partially at Fault?

Virginia is one of the few states that still prohibits an accident victim from recovering damages if they were at fault. Under Virginia’s contributory negligence system, even plaintiffs who are only 1% at fault for an accident cannot receive damages. Consequently, a deceased accident victim’s family cannot recover damages if their loved one shared any portion of responsibility for the fatal crash. Because any degree of fault will bar a damages award, a defendant will likely argue the deceased shared even a small degree of responsibility for the accident. A skilled Virginia fatal accident attorney can help you develop the strongest possible argument that the defendant was entirely responsible.

Do You Need a Virginia Fatal Accident Attorney?

If you have lost a loved one in a Virginia fatal accident, contact the Schupak Law Firm for assistance. Our attorneys understand that the emotional harm from an accident can extend far beyond any physical injuries. We will help you navigate the complex legal system so that you can gain closure and rebuild your life after a devastating accident. To learn more about how our attorneys can assist you, call 240-833-3914 for a free consultation.

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