Fatalities from Virginia Beach Car Accidents
Unfortunately, car accidents can result in far more than a bent fender and slight injuries. Especially on high-speed roads such as I-264 and I-64, car collisions can cause serious and even fatal injuries. If you lost your loved one in a car crash, it is important that you understand that help is available.
The experienced attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers are passionate about helping families following fatalities from Virginia Beach car accidents. When you are facing the many questions that arise from the death of a loved one, a compassionate wrongful death attorney can provide answers.
When a Fatal Car Accident Can Result in a Claim
Any car accident case that results in a fatality could result in a wrongful death case. A wrongful death case in Virginia Beach is simply a personal injury action in which the person died from their injuries. Whether a person dies instantaneously at the scene of the collision, later at the hospital, or even weeks or months later, the family may have a wrongful death case. As long as the proximate cause of death is the accident, the family may have a claim.
Usually, it is fairly obvious when a person has died from the injuries in an accident, but it could also be somewhat more complicated. For example, if a person sustains a serious internal organ injury and gets pneumonia and dies while in the hospital, the proximate cause would still be the underlying car wreck because, had it not been for the wreck, the person would not have been in the hospital in a weakened condition.
The first step the surviving legal representative of the person in the accident should take is to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney as early as they can in order to make sure that the case goes forward in a way that is going to be best for the family. An attorney can help a family understand the proximate cause of death to determine whether they have a valid claim following a fatality from a Virginia Beach car accident.
Fact Patterns Surrounding Virginia Beach Crashes
In Virginia Beach, the highways, such as Interstate 264 or Interstate 64, are among the main roadways where fatal car accidents tend to occur. There many other roadways in the city that are big, busy thoroughfares that tend to have relatively high-speed accidents as well. Some of those roads are Independence Boulevard, Princess Anne Road, General Booth Boulevard, Witchduck Road, and Virginia Beach Boulevard.
The faster the vehicle is going, the more likely it is for a collision to result in serious injuries or death. Another factor is the weight or size differential between the two vehicles. A relatively small, compact car that is hit by an 18-wheeler tractor trailer is more likely to result in death because the weight of that truck is much greater than the smaller passenger car.
Many fatal car accidents also involve alcohol. If a person is drunk or otherwise intoxicated, then they are generally not able to safely drive and can cause serious accidents. For instance, drunk drivers are often involved in wrong-way collisions. This occurs when someone is driving down the road and a drunk driver is in their lane coming at them, which results in a head-on collision. These accidents are some of the most dangerous.
Compensation Available for Families
In any fatal car accident case, compensatory damages are meant to pay the family back for what they have lost. This can include compensation for their grief and loss of a family member as well as for economic losses such as medical bills and funeral bills. It is important to emphasize compensatory damages because they are generally the largest portion of the total reward.
If the conduct of the at-fault driver in a Virginia Beach fatal car accident was especially egregious, there could be a claim of punitive damages in addition to the other compensatory damages that are part of a wrongful death suit. The most obvious example of this would a collision caused by an intoxicated driver. Punitive damages are generally capped at only $350,000, regardless of whether the at-fault party is an individual or corporation. Further, punitive damages are awarded sparingly. For example, in the case of a drunk driver, the at-fault party generally must be either double the legal limit or refuse to take a blood-alcohol test for the estate of the deceased to recover punitive damages. A skilled attorney can help you understand what compensation may be available following a fatality from a Virginia Beach car accident.
An Attorney Can Discuss Fatalities from Virginia Beach Car Accidents
When your loved one is killed due to the actions of a negligent driver, you deserve justice and our attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers want to help you get it. We have experience working with families following fatalities from Virginia Beach car accidents and can use that experience to help you. Call us today to learn more about your rights and options.