A car accident can cause irreversible damage. In some cases, it can even result in tragic and unexpected death. If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you might be able to recover some semblance of justice. A death caused by another person’s wrongful action or negligence is grounds for a wrongful death claim in Virginia. These four elements must exist to justify your claim:
The driver owed the victim a duty of care
The duty of care is the legal obligation of an individual or entity to the safety of others. We all have a responsibility to act with reasonable care under certain circumstances. A driver has a duty to others on the road to obey traffic rules and regulations.
The driver breached their duty
A driver breaches their duty of care to the safety of others when the driver drives negligently or illegally. They should not be driving while impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance. The driver should also focus their attention on the road. They should not be driving while distracted or speeding or running stop signs. Any kind of reckless driving and deviation from traffic laws is a breach of duty.
The breach of duty caused the victim’s untimely death
The element of causation is the burden of proving that the breach of duty caused the death of your loved one. The negligence or wrongful actions of the driver was partially or fully the reason behind the death. The death may not be immediate. Your loved one may have suffered injuries or illnesses from the car accident that led to their untimely demise. In Virginia, you have two years from the death of your loved one to pursue a wrongful death claim. It begins when your loved one dies, not when the car accident happened.
The victim’s loved ones suffered damages because of the death
The main goal of a wrongful death claim is to hold someone accountable for the damages you and your family suffered because of your loved one’s death. Economic damages such as vehicle damage, medical expenses, rehabilitation and treatment costs, income loss, and funeral expenses differ from the painful and emotional noneconomic damages you suffered.
It is challenging to put a price on the death of your loved one. However, their death was preventable, and the person who caused it should be liable for their actions and negligence. Understanding these four elements can help you realize if you have a wrongful death claim.