Wrongful death claim

Holding Others Responsible Through Wrongful Death Litigation

Losing a loved one is a devastating tragedy made more challenging when it is the result of someone else’s recklessness. Virginia law allows family members to hold others responsible and recover damages for their loss through wrongful death lawsuits.

Wrongful Death in Virginia

Wrongful death lawsuits in Virginia are unique and apply when death has occurred due to someone else’s wrongful act, neglect, or default. A personal injury case would have been filed if the victim had lived. When they did not live and, instead, died as a result of someone else’s recklessness, then there may be grounds for a wrongful death case. 

Wrongful deaths can be caused accidentally or on purpose. Even if the perpetrator didn’t mean for an accident to happen, they can be held responsible if it happened and they are at fault. The fatality can be the result of many different circumstances, such as a car or truck accident, medical malpractice, a workplace accident, or other types of intentional or accidental harm that resulted in the victim’s death. In essence, if the person would have lived except for the perpetrator’s actions, they may be held liable for that death.

Even if it has been several months since your loved one died, if their death was the result of someone else’s negligence, you should contact an attorney. If your loved one died as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

Compensation and Damages in a Virginia Wrongful Death Case

There is a two-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Virginia, and most often, only the decedent’s “personal representative” (usually the executor of their will or estate) can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, that person is not necessarily the sole beneficiary of any damages that may be awarded. Damages can go to one or many loved ones or beneficiaries, including the spouse of the person who died, the person’s children, and even their grandchildren if their children have passed away.

Damages that could be compensated in a wrongful death case include:

  • Medical expenses incurred as a result of the incident or accident that took the loved one’s life
  • Funeral and burial or cremation expenses
  • Lost income, including projected income the person would have made in subsequent years if they had lived
  • Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
  • Loss of spousal privileges, companionship, comfort, and advice
  • Loss of services, care, or protections the decedent could have provided

Punitive damages may also be part of a Virginia wrongful death case. Unlike the damages listed above, which are specifically calculated to compensate you for different types of loss, punitive damages are designed to send a message to warn others against particularly bad behavior and to punish the perpetrator for their behavior specifically.

Reasons You May Need Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case

You may need compensation to pay for outstanding bills from your loved one’s treatment before death, to pay off debt incurred to pay for burial expenses, to repair or replace a vehicle that may have been damaged in a crash, and for financial solvency in the months and years to come now that your loved one will no longer be able to contribute to or provide income.

An experienced lawyer can calculate what months and years lost would look like financially and seek legal compensation for damages to cover these losses. 

Protecting Your Rights with a Lawyer

You are entitled to attempt to recover costs and debts incurred as the result of the wrongful death of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. Without proper compensation, some people may be in danger of losing their home or other property due to debts incurred as a result of their loved one’s death. Consult with an experienced Virginia wrongful death lawyer who can evaluate the circumstances of your loved one’s death and determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to hold someone else responsible.  

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