As if losing someone you love wasn’t devastating enough, finding out that their death was completely preventable almost certainly evokes feelings of injustice and outrage among surviving family members. Virginia makes it possible for victims to confront the economic element of a wrongful death by allowing the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What are the benefits of a wrongful death lawsuit?
Virginia Code § 8.01-50, defines wrongful death as any death arising from the negligence, dereliction, or wrongful act of another person. In short, the cause of the victim’s death would have made it possible for them to pursue a personal injury suit had they survived.
If someone else’s negligence caused the death of your loved one, the Virginia wrongful death lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can advise you on the best way to obtain maximum compensation for your enormous loss. Families should not have to face financial hardship because of another person’s carelessness. Call our Virginia Beach personal injury firm today to schedule a free consultation.
What Constitutes Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action seeking economic and non-economic damages from the entity or person who caused the death.
Wrongful deaths can be caused by car accidents, in a medical setting, in a retail establishment, at work, on vacation, and anywhere else you find people. When a member of your family dies due to an avoidable error, you should consider bringing a wrongful death suit against the negligent party.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
Virginia Law lists specific family members who may be statutory beneficiaries. They include:
- The surviving children, or spouse of the deceased. If the deceased’s children are dead, grandchildren may be included.
- If the deceased has none of the above, then their surviving siblings, parents, or dependent householders may be included.
- If none of the beneficiaries listed above apply to the deceased, then any award will go to the next of kin according to Virginia intestacy laws.
This procedure ensures that the rights of any statutory beneficiaries are protected and that the correct parties receive any damages.
How Much Is My Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth?
There is no one correct answer for how much a wrongful death lawsuit may be worth. Just like every victim, every wrongful death case is different. There are multiple factors that can impact the value of your claim and each must be taken into account in the context of the accident.
That being said, the damages most commonly awarded in a majority of wrongful death claims include:
- Medical bills: Medical bills can be reimbursed or, in cases of medical malpractice, the debts can be accounted for.
- Funeral expenses/Burial expenses: Whether your family member’s end-of-life plans involved natural burial, a funeral, or cremation, or were never made known, it is now up to you to respect their final wishes to the best of your ability. Unfortunately, every available option is going to require a good deal of time and money. These types of expenses can be included in a wrongful death settlement.
- Estate costs: Closing out a person’s estate: their personal belongings, their assets, and their financial debts and obligations is a stressful and time-consuming process. In a wrongful death case, these tasks are recognized as the unavoidable consequences of an avoidable loss of life. A jury verdict or settlement in your favor can also compensate you for the time and attorney fees that come with settling an estate.
- Loss of earnings and benefits: The loss of wages and job-related benefits such as a pension and health insurance can be taken into account. An experienced Virginia wrongful death attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp will know the most effective ways of presenting these and other work-related losses to ensure that you receive full and just compensation.
- Punitive damages: Since by definition, a wrongful death settlement acknowledges that someone behaved maliciously, recklessly, or carelessly, a judge can decide to charge the at-fault party punitive damages. These damages would be awarded to you on top of any other damages.
- Pain, suffering, and inconvenience: Wrongful deaths cause emotional pain, mental anguish, loss of care from a parent or spouse, confusion, anger, sorrow, inconvenience, and stress in the lives of surviving family members. A skilled wrongful death attorney can adeptly present these emotional damages in a strong legal framework.
Speak With a Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney
If you lost a loved one due to wrongful death, let a reputable Virginia Beach wrongful death attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp review your case. Schedule a free case evaluation with our experienced legal team by calling us at (833) 997-1774 as soon as possible.
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- Wrongful Death Lawsuit Damages – Info You Need to Know
- Virginia Wrongful Death Guide
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.