Losing a loved one in an accident is one of the most painful experiences a person can face. Though no amount of money may be able to heal your emotional wounds, filing a claim could help your family obtain compensation for your financial losses.

It is crucial to work with a lawyer in these situations because the filing process for Charlottesville wrongful death claims can be complicated. Call The Warren Firm today to discuss your case with a compassionate wrongful death attorney.

What is the Time Limit for Filing a Fatal Accident Claim?

The statute of limitations—or time limit—for filing a wrongful death claim in Charlottesville is two years from the date of the accident that caused the fatality. If the decedent’s representative does not file within this time, the case will be dismissed.

How Does the Statute of Limitations Change if the At-Fault Party is a Government Entity?

If you plan to pursue a claim against a government entity, the statute of limitations is still two years. However, you must notify the opposing party of the claim within one year of the accident. Without that notice, the court could bar the case.

If that notice is not given, then the estate may be barred from making any claim against the governmental entity. To avoid missing these deadlines, you should begin the filing process as soon as possible by speaking with a lawyer.

Negotiating a Wrongful Death Claim with an Insurance Company

The filing process for a wrongful death action can be a two-step process. The family of the deceased may file an initial claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. If the issue cannot be resolved with a settlement, the estate may need to file a lawsuit.

Insurance policy limits often limit recovery for wrongful death. Due to the limit of insurance available, many claims are settled for significantly less than they are worth. If the negligent party has limited insurance and no assets, it can be tough for the decedent’s family to recover adequate damages through this process.

Naming an Executor of the Estate

Filing a lawsuit may be beneficial for those who are unable to reach a favorable agreement in settlement. However, before initiating the suit, one must identify the executor of the deceased’s estate. This person has authority over the decedent’s remaining assets and financial obligations.

If there is no executor, the family may request that the clerk’s office qualify an administrator for the estate. In situations in which multiple people wish to be the executor, choosing the administrator may take more time.

In other circumstances, it may be best for someone other than a family member to fulfill this role. A wrongful death lawyer could guide your family through the process of naming an executor.

Filing a Lawsuit in Charlottesville Courts

Once an individual has qualified as the administrator of the estate, he or she may retain a lawyer to assist them in filing a lawsuit and proceeding with litigation. A wrongful death case is typically processed in the county or city where the accident occurred. The executor can also file the lawsuit where the liable party lives.

In some situations, the case may be best suited for federal court. A local attorney could help you determine where to file your wrongful death claim.

Serving the Opposing Party with the Complaint

Once the complaint is filed, the lawsuit will be served to the person responsible for the accident. This can be done through the sheriff’s department, or the executor can hire a private company to serve the adverse party.

The person serving the lawsuit may hand the documents to the defendant or leave the papers in front of his or her home. One may also serve the lawsuit to someone who lives with the person responsible for the accident.

In a car accident case, a defendant who cannot be located can be served through the Division of Motor Vehicles. A local legal advocate could walk you through the serving process in a wrongful death suit.

Work with an Attorney Throughout the Filing Process for a Charlottesville Wrongful Death Claim

Any mistake in the filing process for a Charlottesville wrongful death claim could have negative consequences. If the case is filed too late or the wrong person is named as the executor, the deceased’s family may be barred from pursuing damages.

Retaining a lawyer could put you in a better position to obtain compensation for your losses. Reach out to The Warren Firm today to schedule a consultation for your case.