The below information was written by our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach.
Yes. In Virginia, if a person is injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another and that injured person later dies of causes unrelated to the car accident, the deceased person’s personal injury lawsuit can be pursued by the deceased person’s personal representative, and any amounts recovered in such personal injury lawsuit become assets of the deceased person’s estate. The Virginia Code section addressing the survival of causes of action following the death of a plaintiff reads as follows:
Every cause of action whether legal or equitable, which is cognizable in the Commonwealth of Virginia, shall survive either the death of the person against whom the cause of action is or may be asserted, or the death of the person in whose favor the cause of action existed, or the death of both such persons. Provided that in such an action punitive damages shall not be awarded after the death of the party liable for the injury. Provided, further, that if the cause of action asserted by the decedent in his lifetime was for a personal injury and such decedent dies as a result of the injury complained of with a timely action for damages arising from such injury pending, the action shall be amended in accordance with the provisions of § 8.01-56.
As used in this section, the term “death” shall include the death of an individual or the termination or dissolution of any other entity.
The same kinds of compensatory damages that can be awarded in any other personal injury case can be awarded in cases brought pursuant to the Virginia Code section quoted above. Click here to learn more about the items a plaintiff can seek compensation for in a personal injury lawsuit. However, punitive damages cannot be awarded in personal injury actions brought pursuant to the Virginia Code section quoted above, if the defendant has died. Click here to learn more about the award of punitive damages in drunk driving cases in Virginia. It should also be noted that if a person injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver later dies of his or her injuries sustained in the car accident, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can bring a wrongful death action against the negligent driver. Click here to learn more about wrongful death actions in Virginia.
Questions regarding the survival of personal injury actions after the death of an injured person are specific to the facts of the individual personal injury case, and we encourage you to contact one of our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach. Such experienced personal injury lawyer can assess whether injury claim should be brought pursuant to the above quoted statute or as a wrongful death action. The experienced personal injury lawyer can also advise as to the value of the injury claim or wrongful death claim, can guide the deceased person’s family through the process of making a claim with the applicable insurance company or companies, and can file the appropriate lawsuit for personal injuries or wrongful death, if a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit becomes necessary.
Waiting can hurt your case. To find out how our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach can help you, please contact us at (757) 486-2700.
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Personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach serving all of Hampton Roads.