One woman was killed and her dog was injured when the driver of the U-Haul truck in which they were riding crashed into a traffic pole on Monday, June 5th. According to local sources, the fatal crash took place at about 7:05 a.m. at the corner of Ewell Road and Independence Boulevard in Virginia Beach when a northbound box truck proceeded through the intersection and slammed into a traffic signal pole in the median.
What are the stages of a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit?
Officers from the Virginia Beach Police Department, as well as emergency medics, were both dispatched to the scene. Upon their arrival, they rendered medical aid to the driver, 24-year-old Randall Sava, a resident of Jacksonville, FL, his passenger, 28-year-old Katrina Stone, a resident of Beverly Hills, FL, and her dog, Draco.
Sava and Stone were both transported to an area trauma center where Stone eventually passed away due to the severity of her injuries.
Draco was tended to by Virginia Beach Animal Control and is expected to make a full recovery.
Upon his release from the hospital, Sava was taken into police custody. He is facing several charges including misdemeanor animal neglect, felony possession of schedule I/II narcotics, and misdemeanor driving without a license.
This incident is still being investigated by the Virginia Beach Police Department Traffic Safety Unit.
Deadly accidents, particularly ones that could have been prevented, can be emotionally and financially crippling for the surviving members of the victim’s family. If you lost someone you love in a fatal vehicle accident, reach out to a Virginia wrongful death attorney from the personal injury law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp right away so we can begin investigating the accident and get to work on filing a claim.
How Do I File a Virginia Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Attempting to figure out how to bring a wrongful death suit by yourself is both challenging and stressful, particularly if you have not done so before.
If you and your family have any questions or concerns regarding the filing of a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit, our wrongful death lawyers can help.
Establish the Order of Succession
The first action you need to take when considering filing a wrongful death suit is to determine the executor of the deceased’s estate. Virginia Code § 8.01-50 states that only the legal personal representative or the executor of the estate can file the lawsuit. The actual order of succession, however, defines who can be named as a beneficiary.
For instance, according to Virginia Code § 8.01-53 damages may be awarded to:
- The victim’s surviving grandchildren, children, and spouse
- If the victim had none of the above, then their surviving siblings and parents would be eligible
- If the victim had none of the above, then any surviving relative would be eligible
Virginia considers anyone related to the victim by adoption, marriage, or blood to be a member of their family, meaning that adopted children and stepchildren of the victim may also be beneficiaries.
Gather Proof of Your Damages
Virginia Code § 8.01-52 says that, depending on the facts of the accident, the court can award a range of both economic and non-economic damages, such as:
- Sorrow and emotional turmoil
- Loss of companionship, society, guidance, and comfort
- Loss of the victim’s services, earnings, care, and protection
- Medical bills associated with the fatal injury
- Funeral and burial or cremation costs
In cases where the defendant’s behavior was especially egregious or reckless, a court might also award punitive damages. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for wanton or willful misconduct.
File Your Case as Soon as Possible
Once you have decided to bring a wrongful death suit, you should do so as soon as possible.
Like every other state, Virginia has a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim. The statute restricts how much time you have to file before the court will refuse to hear your case. In Virginia, this deadline is set at two years from the day the victim died.
Speak With a Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney
An experienced wrongful death attorney will have the skill and the resources necessary to properly investigate the death of your family member. They will also be capable of answering any questions you have about the legal process, making sure you understand your rights, and ensuring that you are fully compensated for your damages.
If you lost a family member to wrongful death, contact a Virginia Beach wrongful death lawyer at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, and schedule a complimentary review of your wrongful death claim by calling (833) 997-1774.