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Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer

When the death of a loved is caused by the negligence or intentional act of another, this compounds the tragedy of an already painful loss. Many times, wrongful death cases can be extremely sudden and involve great pain and suffering, both for the victim and for the victim’s loved ones. If you have recently lost a loved one, we would like to express our condolences and sympathy. We can also offer our help and support. Call today to schedule a free, initial consultation with one of our Virginia wrongful death lawyers. Our team is ready and willing to help you during this difficult time, and can take on the stress of dealing with the at-fault parties, insurance carriers, authorities, and other individuals so that you can focus on your well-being and the welfare of your surviving family.

Wrongful deaths are, unfortunately, an all too real of a problem for many people in Virginia and throughout the country. Out of all of the deaths recorded in Virginia in 2012, which numbered more than 61,000, many were due to the carelessness, recklessness, or negligence of another party or parties rather than so-called natural causes, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. There were nearly 3,000 deaths related to car accidents, falls, drowning, shootings, fires, or medical complications, all of which could potentially form the basis for a wrongful death claim. To view a complete pdf copy of the state’s 2012 health and fatal accident statistics, click here.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases

Whenever a death is due to someone else acting negligently, or in some cases maliciously, there could be a viable wrongful death claim.  Every instance is unique, though there are general categories of wrongful death causes that are common. Some of the more common causes include:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents – drunk drivers, negligent drivers, speeders, reckless drivers, or drag racers.
  • Medical Malpractice – Failure to diagnose an illness or disease such as cancer, improper surgical or treatment techniques, and death related to surgical or treatment complications.
  • Premises Liability – Falls due to improper handrails, failure to clean sidewalks or steps properly of snow and debris, failure to clean or post warning signs about spills or wet floors, failure to protect the public against known risks.
  • Intentional Acts – Victims of crime, police brutality, or child or elder abuse.
  • Products Liability – dangerous drugs, car recalls, products that are dangerous when used as intended, or products that do not have a warning label warning against dangers caused by common use.

Regardless of the cause of death, when you lose a loved one as a result of another’s actions, the best way to determine the strength of your potential claim is to speak with a dedicated Virginia wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Family members of the deceased can file wrongful death claims under certain circumstances. This is usually a spouse or child, though sometimes other relatives – such as parents, siblings, and grandchildren– can pursue wrongful death litigation. In some cases, other relatives may be identified as beneficiaries if they are able to prove they were in some way financially dependent on the person who died. In most states, people who are not family members are not entitled to damages in a wrongful death claim. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, same-sex partners and unmarried couples who live together are generally not entitled to wrongful death benefits. Actions for wrongful death are described in Section 8.01-50.

What is Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?

There are damages that are allowed by statute when it comes to wrongful death claims that are standard in Virginia. While the amount that is recoverable varies on a case by case basis, there are general types of damages that are sought in most cases.  These include:

  • Medical bills and other expenses for care, treatment, and hospitalization of the decedent related to the injury that caused the death – this includes ambulance rides and attempts to save the victims life;
  • Lost income – lifetime expected income for the deceased, adjusted for some factors such as inflation;
  • Loss of services, protection, care, and assistance;
  • Reasonable funeral expenses;
  • Sorrow, mental anguish and solace, including loss of consortium, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices, and advice of the decedent.

Why Should You Contact an Attorney?

Wrongful death cases can be some of the most expensive personal injury cases and are vigorously defended by insurance companies.  As a result, many insurance companies will attempt to force grieving families who are desperate for money into accepting a settlement or making a statement before they fully understand their rights.

From the moment you retain the services of an attorney, he or she can begin an investigation into your loved one’s death to gather all the evidence and identify the responsible parties.  Our team includes medical and other experts who can review all of the records and evidence related to the death. Based upon that work and their own experience, attorneys can help you to calculate your damages and will work to build the strongest possible wrongful death claim.

Attorneys can work aggressively to obtain payment of the compensation that you need and deserve, but also to motivate the at-fault individual or parties to address the negligent or careless behavior that led to your loved one’s death. This makes Virginia safer and better for all of its residents and visitors. Call today to schedule a free, initial legal consultation and find out how you can protect yourself and your family in the event of a wrongful death.