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Fatal auto accidents and wrongful death actions in Virginia

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The loss of a loved one is always devastating and painful. The going gets even tougher when it is obvious that the loved one's death was due to the negligence of another party. That often happens when it comes to car accidents. Fortunately, in the event of a fatal car accident, Virginia laws permit a victim's family to pursue a wrongful death claim that can provide them with compensation, which helps recover some of the damages suffered due to the loss of a loved one.

According to Virginia laws, the death of a victim caused by a wrongful act or omission by another party is considered wrongful death. That same principle applies in the event of a car accident in which one party is clearly at fault. A wrongful death action in Virginia can be brought against the other party within a period of two years from the time of the victim's death.

According to Virginia laws, the damages for a wrongful death include medical expenses up to the point of the victim's death and costs incurred for the victim's last rites. In addition to that, the victim's loved ones can also claim damages for loss of companionship and the mental and emotional pain and suffering that the victim experiences before passing away. Damages for wrongful death also include the financial losses that the victim's family members would sustain due to the loss of wages because of the person's death.

Once the compensation amount toward damages is finalized, a judge will determine how the compensation will be distributed among the victim's family members. In a wrongful death case, spouses, children and parents are eligible to receive a share of the compensation. The compensation is, however, paid to the recipients only after deducting legal expenses and other expenses that are related to the lawsuit.

Virginia residents should understand that in the event of a fatal auto accident, they may have valid grounds for a wrongful death claim. However, navigating the legal system can be a challenge for many survivors, especially while they are grieving the loss of a loved one. Therefore, it may be advantageous to obtain an experienced personal injury attorney to guide them through the compensation claim process.

Source:, "Action for death by wrongful act; how and when to be brought," Accessed on June 17, 2015

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