No matter the circumstance, losing a loved one is always hard. But losing a loved one because of someone else’s carelessness can feel like an injustice. In some cases, it’s just that.
Navigating the legal waters surrounding their death – while grieving – can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in. Virginia wrongful death attorney Richard Serpe represents families who have lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence.
Death Caused by Negligence
Wrongful death is a legal term used to describe deaths caused by negligence, malpractice, or intentional misconduct. In Virginia, wrongful death statutes allow the personal representative of a deceased person to file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased. Most often, these lawsuits are filed for the direct benefit of the surviving family members. Recovering damages from the person or entity responsible for the death can help hold negligent parties accountable. Since financial costs associated with a wrongful death can add up very quickly, surviving family members are often entitled to compensation.
Virginia Wrongful Death Cases
- What is considered a wrongful death?
- Who can be considered a wrongful death beneficiary?
- What compensation is available in a wrongful death case?
- When must a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit be filed?
- Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer
1. What is a wrongful death?
A wrongful death is a death caused by a wrongful act, negligence, or default of an individual or company.
“Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of any person or corporation, or of any ship or vessel, and the act, neglect, or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action, or to proceed in rem against such ship or vessel or in personam against the owners thereof or those having control of her, and to recover damages in respect thereof, then, and in every such case, the person who, or corporation or ship or vessel which, would have been liable, if death had not ensued, shall be liable to an action for damages, or, if a ship or vessel, to a libel in rem, and her owners or those responsible for her acts or defaults or negligence to a libel in personam, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances, as amount in law to a felony.” Virginia Code § 8.01-50
2. Who can be considered a wrongful death beneficiary?
The Virginia Wrongful Death Act provides a framework to compensate family members for those losses. Virginia has a strict legal system – the requirements for bringing wrongful death cases can be confusing.
Virginia limits the individuals who can sue for wrongful death, otherwise known as the “statutory beneficiaries.” Inexperienced lawyers, who do not understand wrongful death law and procedures, frequently fail to gather all evidence of damage. Even worse, they sometimes fail to compensate the true beneficiary under Virginia law. The Virginia wrongful death lawyers at our firm combine experience with hard investigative research to help win your case.
Beneficiaries may include:
- the spouse of the deceased person
- the children of the deceased person
- the parents and siblings of the deceased
- any relative who shares the deceased person’s home
- any relative who inherited the deceased’s estate
Certain family members may also be able to make a wrongful death claim together.
3. Virginia Wrongful Death Settlements
Depending on the specifics of the accident, the family of the victim may be entitled to one or more of the following types of damages:
- Medical and funeral expenses. The medical procedures attempted to save your loved one need paid for – but the family of the victim should never be responsible for those bills. Our team can help recoup the costs of the critical and often expensive care given to the victim.
- Lost of support. When the main financial support of the family has been killed, their survivors must deal with the financial ramifications of the loss on top of their grief. The loss of the victim’s future earning potential can be included in a wrongful death settlement.
- Pain and suffering. On top of the funeral costs, medical bills and lost future earnings, the emotional blow of losing a loved one cannot be undervalued. Companionship and affection is irreplaceable.
4. Statue of Limitations (Legal Deadlines)
Under Virginia law, it is necessary to file a lawsuit within strict deadlines imposed by law. In many cases, Virginia provides for a two-year deadline also known as a Statute of Limitations. However, special circumstances apply depending on the location of death, the occupation of the decedent, and the application of special state and federal laws. Once you have missed this deadline, you will no longer be able to file a claim.
5. A Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney You Can Trust
No matter the case, our team brings a high level of professionalism and experience to every interaction. You’ll see the difference from the very first conversation you have with us. Our dedication, diligence, and commitment to results is obvious, but our connection to our clients is what really sets us apart from other firms. We pay close attention to client needs, providing extensive preparation that leaves no stone uncovered. We’re constantly evolving our investigation strategies and negotiation techniques to deliver the best case scenario for clients.
Don’t delay. Time is a precious commodity in wrongful death cases, and the sooner we can begin working for you, the better. Contact us now to schedule your free consultation. The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC can protect you legal rights and fight for the compensation your family is owed.