According to preliminary data from Virginia State Police, fourteen people were killed on Virginia roads during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This was a 180 percent increase in the number of fatal car accidents over the 2021 holiday weekend when five people were killed. Among the victims killed this year were three pedestrians and a motorcyclist. State Police responded to approximately 1,500 vehicle accidents across the state. Just under 140 of those accidents resulted in personal injuries.
State officials have designated from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday until midnight on Sunday as Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It is also traditionally one of the busiest travel times of the year.
Preventing Car Accident Deaths
State Police were proactive in their attempt to traffic deaths during the holiday weekend, participating in Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort), an annual state-sponsored, national program where police increase their traffic enforcement and visibility.
This year, Operation CARE resulted in troopers issuing 4,400 speeding citations and 1,800 reckless driving citations. They also arrested 93 drivers for driving under the influence.
Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim
Virginia law allows family members to pursue compensation if their loved one’s death was the result of the negligent or reckless actions of another party or parties. Examples of incidents that could justify a wrongful death claim include:
- Car accidents caused by another party
- Defective or dangerous product
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse or negligence
- Premises liability accident
Under the law, survivors must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the victim’s death. Legally, survivors are considered the following (in order of who has the legal claim):
- The surviving spouse and children of the victim
- The surviving parents of the victim. If the parents are not alive, then the siblings of the victim may file
- Any relative who was financially dependent on the victim
- Any relative who is entitled to inherit from the victim’s estate based on the intestacy laws of Virginia
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim?
The specific damages that a family can recover depend upon the circumstances of their loved one’s death, however, in general, a family can pursue compensation for funeral expenses, loss of the victim’s income, and noneconomic losses such as loss of the victim’s companionship, care, guidance, assistance, affection, and protection.
The victim’s family may also file a survival action in order to recover certain economic losses the victim’s estate suffered, including medical expenses, loss of income, and any other losses the victim may have been able to recover in a personal injury lawsuit had they recovered. Your Virginia wrongful death attorney can evaluate your case and determine what compensation your family may be entitled to.
Contact a Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney
Families who have lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another person should consider contacting a Virginia wrongful death attorney to discuss what legal recourse they may have for their pain and loss. Our legal team understands that no amount of money will ever make up for the loss of your loved one, but we also understand that a wrongful death lawsuit is often the only legal option a family has for obtaining any kind of justice, even if it is only financial justice. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp also offers a free wrongful death guide for families who have lost a loved one in an accident. The guide covers topics such as the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim, what types of damages can be pursued, and who can be appointed as a personal representative.