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Wrongful Death Lawyer

justice for injured people

Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer

At RVA Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand how gut wrenching it can be when family members learn that their loved one’s death was due to another person’s negligence or wrongful act. While there’s not enough compensation in the world to make up for the loss of life, seeking damages can help to bring closure and healing to this tragic situation. 

Our team understands the complexities of wrongful death claims in Virginia, from car accidents to medical malpractice cases. We’re 100% committed to holding the negligent party accountable for the fatal consequences of their actions, while helping to ease the financial burden on surviving family members. Trust us to guide you through every step of your wrongful death lawsuit, from filing the claim to securing a successful wrongful death settlement.

If you have suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence, we are here to help. Sharif Gray has won millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. Call us at (804) 915-1611 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We will get justice for you.

Grappling with a loved one’s untimely death due to someone else’s negligence is never easy. We’re here to provide the support and expertise these kinds of civil lawsuits demand. Ultimately, our number one goal is to help you and your family seek justice and recover compensation while you focus on healing. 

Contact us for a free consultation and let our skilled wrongful death attorneys fight for your family’s rights, dignity, and future under VA personal injury law and seek maximum damages. 

What’s a Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death in Virginia is a legal term that’s used to describe a tragic situation where an individual’s death is caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another person or entity. This can include a wide range of events, from car accidents and motorcycle accidents to medical malpractice or slip and fall cases. 

Generally, when a surviving family member or spouse files a wrongful death claim, it allows the deceased person’s family or estate to seek the financial compensation they deserve for their loss.

That being said, understanding what constitutes wrongful death is absolutely crucial for families seeking civil justice. Here are a few key elements of wrongful death claims in VA: 

  1. Negligence or Wrongful Act: The fatality  must have resulted from the negligence, recklessness, or deliberate wrongdoing of someone else or an entity. 
  2. Causation: There must be a direct link between the at-fault party’s actions and the death of the individual. Here’s an example: Suppose a fatal car accident is directly caused by another driver’s negligence. In that case, this would be grounds for a wrongful death action against the at-fault party. 
  3. Damages: The wrongful death must have resulted in quantifiable damages (i.e., medical bills, funeral costs, lost income, emotional distress, etc.) for the surviving family members.

In Virginia, wrongful death cases are generally governed by highly specific statutes that outline who can file a claim, the types of damages they are eligible to seek, and how much time they have to file a lawsuit. At RVA Personal Injury Lawyers our experienced wrongful death lawyers are well-versed in these laws – We’re here to guide you step-by-step through the wrongful death lawsuit process, while fighting for the best possible outcome under the circumstances. 

Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death in Virginia?

According to Virginia wrongful death laws, only the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a wrongful death suit. However, if the suit is successful, there is a hierarchy of how the damages are distributed in VA. This includes: 

  • Surviving Spouse and Children: The surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren (if the children are deceased) are the first in line to receive damages.
  • Parents and Siblings: If there’s no surviving spouse or children, the parents and siblings of the deceased, along with any relative who shares the deceased person’s home and is dependent on them, are eligible to claim damages.
  • Other Dependents: Suppose there’s no surviving spouse, children, siblings, or dependent relatives. In that case, other family members who are set to inherit under Virginia’s intestacy laws can receive compensation. This could include more distant relatives (i.e., Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc.)

It’s incredibly important for family members to understand the fullest extent of their rights and the legal process that goes along with filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Virginia. An experienced wrongful death attorney can offer the guidance and representation you and your family deserve. Contact  us today for your free consultation. 

Compensation & Damages For Wrongful Death Claims

When it comes to these kinds of personal injury cases, the surviving family members or the estate of the deceased can seek many types of compensatory damages for the wrongful conduct in question. These typically include:

  • Medical Expenses: Costs incurred for the medical care of the deceased that are directly related to the fatal injury or illness.
  • Funeral and Burial Costs: Reasonable expenses which are associated with the funeral and burial of the deceased.
  • Loss of Income and Benefits: Dependants of the deceased can seek compensation for the income and benefits – That even includes potential future earnings that the deceased would have otherwise provided had they still been alive.
  • Loss of Care, Companionship, and Guidance: Damages for the loss of care, companionship, comfort, guidance, and advice that the deceased would have provided to family members.
  • Sorrow and Mental Anguish: Compensation for the emotional distress that’s suffered by family members due to the loss of their loved one.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases where the wrongful act is considered willful or wanton  conduct (disregarding the safety of others), punitive damages could potentially be awarded to further punish the wrongdoer and hopefully deter similar conduct in the future.

It’s particularly crucial for families, loved ones, and personal representatives who are thinking about suing for wrongful death compensation to consult with an experienced lawyer to understand what compensation they’re eligible to pursue under VA personal injury law. A knowledgeable Virginia wrongful death attorney can help thoroughly assess the case as well as help ensure that all potential damages are pursued to provide fair compensation for the fatal injuries suffered by their loved one. 

Situations Where a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Could Arise

When it comes to wrongful death cases, the circumstances surrounding the incident can vary greatly, spanning vastly different scenarios and causes. Here are a few of the most common situations where wrongful death could potentially arise:

  • Workplace Accidents
  • Criminal Acts

Each of these scenarios presents unique challenges in both establishing liability and seeking damages. Generally, filing a Virginia wrongful death claim requires an exceptionally thorough investigation to uncover the true facts. 

An experienced wrongful death attorney can navigate the complex nature of wrongful death lawsuits while pushing to ensure that the parties responsible for the fatal accident are held accountable and the bereaved family receives the compensatory damages they’re entitled to. 

How to File a Wrongful Death Claim

Filling a successful wrongful death lawsuit is a multi-step process that requires thorough prep work and an exceptional attention to the legal details. However, it’s important to remember that every case is different – Thus, it’s best to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney to learn the best steps for you and your family’s unique situation. 

Continue reading to learn the general steps to file wrong death claims in VA. 

Determine Eligibility to File the Claim

First, it’s essential to remember that only personal representatives of the deceased’s estate (named in the will or court-appointed) are actually eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Virginia. It’s crucial to establish this legal standing before proceeding, as it dictates who will manage the lawsuit and ultimately, who will be charged with distributing any damages awarded to the beneficiaries (i.e., surviving spouses, minor children, relatives, etc.).

Gather Essential Evidence

Whether it’s an intentional or accidental death, the quality of the evidence gathered is absolutely fundamental to building a strong case. This can include but isn’t necessarily limited to: 

  • Obtaining medical records
  • Death certificates
  • Autopsy reports that explain the cause of death. 
  • Accident reports, police records, and eyewitness accounts 
  • Photos/videos of the accident scene
  • Diaries or journals of the deceased person (if relevant) 

These bits of evidence can be decidedly crucial  when seeking wrongful death damages – Which is especially true in cases like motor vehicle accidents involving distracted driving or instances of medical malpractice. This depth of evidence not only helps in establishing the cause and circumstances of the death but also in pinpointing liability.

Calculate Damages

Calculating damages in a wrongful death claim generally involves assessing both the economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages can include things like medical bills directly related to the fatal injury, funeral and burial costs, as well as the lost income and benefits the deceased would have otherwise earned. 

On the other hand, due to the nature of non-economic damages, they can be much more challenging to quantify. That’s because they typically include subjective damages like:

  • The survivors’ pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Emotional distress

File the Claim Within the Statutory Deadline

The statute of limitations to bring a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death – Though, it’s important to note that some exceptions may apply. For the most part, filing after this period generally results in the dismissal of the case (i.e, the inability to recover damages). This, among other reasons, is why it’s essential to start the process soon after the death occurred to allow ample time for gathering evidence and building a robust case.

Negotiate With Insurance Companies

In many cases, a wrongful death personal injury claim involves high-level negotiations with the insurance company representing the at fault party. These companies may offer a settlement to avoid a lawsuit – But, it may not always be in your best interest to accept their offer. 

This is why it’s incredibly crucial to have an experienced wrongful death lawyer to handle these negotiations. Particularly because initial offers may not fully cover the extent of damages related to wrongful deaths. 

File a Lawsuit if Necessary

Suppose negotiations don’t result in a fair settlement. In that case, the next best step is to file a lawsuit in civil court. Generally, this involves drafting and filing a complaint that clearly:

  • Outlines the claim
  • The damages sought, and 
  • The legal basis for the claim, wherein the defendant will be served with the complaint and given ample chance to respond

These steps collectively form a solid foundation for a wrongful death claim. Each phase  of the claims process typically requires careful consideration and legal expertise, underscoring the importance of working with a skilled wrongful death law firm to guide you and your family step-by-step through the process.

What’s the Difference Between Wrongful Death and Survival Actions?

Both wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions, while related, serve very different legal purposes. Learn more about the differences between each below. 

Wrongful Death Actions

These are claims brought about by the deceased person’s family members or the estate’s representative. For the most part, they focus on the losses suffered by the family due to their loved one’s untimely death – Which, can include funeral expenses, lost income, loss of companionship, and emotional distress. 

The compensation awarded to those who successfully file wrongful death claims is intended to support the surviving family members.

Survival Actions

On the other hand, survival actions are pursued on behalf of the deceased’s estate. This type of claim seeks compensatory damages for the pain, suffering, or other kinds of damages that the deceased person incurred from the time of injury until their death. 

This could include but isn’t necessarily limited to: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before death, and 
  • Any lost wages during that period

It’s incredibly essential to note that any compensation recovered through a survival action goes directly to the deceased’s estate and is then distributed according to the estate plan or state law. Understanding these distinctions is very important when deciding the type of legal action to pursue following the death of someone close to you.

Why Should I Hire An Attorney?

If you want the best opportunity to prove wrongful death without a doubt, it’s generally in your best interest to work with compassionate legal representation that’s well versed in the intricacies of wrongful death laws in VA. That being said, here are few reasons why you and your family may want to consider hiring a lawyer: 

  • Legal Complexities: Wrongful death cases usually involve highly intricate legal proceedings that require an absolute thorough understanding of personal injury and wrongful death laws in VA. An experienced attorney can easily navigate these complexities while ensuring your best interests stay at the forefront. 
  • Valuation of Damages: Calculating the full extent of damages suffered in a wrongful death case is challenging – To say the least. A knowledgeable attorney can accurately assess both economic and non-economic damages, while crafting a comprehensive claim that includes both current & future financial losses, pain and suffering, and other impacts.
  • Dealing with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies are for profit businesses. As such, their goal is to minimize payouts while maximizing their profits. An attorney can engage in tough negotiations with insurers on your behalf while fighting for fair compensation without falling prey to those notorious lowball offers.
  • Investigative Resources: Seasoned attorneys usually have access to resources like private investigators and expert witnesses (i.e., economists, medical professionals, etc.) who can greatly strengthen your case by providing crucial evidence and expert testimony about the death caused by negligence.
  • Representation in Court: In the rare instance your case goes to trial, having a highly skilled attorney to represent you is invaluable. Not only can they present your case effectively, but they can also advocate for your rights and interests.
  • Emotional Support: Dealing with a wrongful death claim can be emotionally taxing for all parties involved. Working with an attorney can help alleviate legal burdens while allowing you and your family to focus on healing and coping with the loss.

In summary, an attorney plays a pivotal role in ensuring that a wrongful death claim is handled effectively, compassionately, and with the legal expertise it requires.

Wrongful Death Lawyer VA – Contact Us

If you’ve lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of another party, you and your family may be entitled to compensation. At RVA Personal Injury Lawyers, we’re here to walk you step-by-step through the process from case assessment to negotiating with insurers to going to trial (if necessary). Don’t let the insurance company bully you into accepting low ball offers. Work with a law firm that’s absolutely dedicated to fighting for your rights and ability to recover maximum compensation for your losses.  

Contact us today for a free initial consultation with the best wrongful death attorneys in Virginia. 

“We Get Justice For Injured People In Court, and We Love What We Do”

We are not settlement lawyers. Sharif Gray has proven that he can and will get results in court, and the insurance companies know that. If you have suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence, we can help.

Sharif Gray is committed to trying cases well. Because of that, he does not handle hundreds of cases at a time. He is selective in the cases he takes so he can get justice for the people he represents. In every case, he has three goals:

  1. Hold the responsible corporation or individual fully accountable.
  2. Make the community safer, so others are not also harmed.
  3. Compensation that recognizes the full and fair value of what was taken from your health and quality of life.

We love what we do, and we are proud of the positive impact we have had and will continue to have on the people we represent and the community we live in.

If we can be of help to you, please do not hesitate to call us at (804) 915-1611 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We will get justice for you.

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