When a family member dies, it’s hard enough to handle from an emotional and often financial standpoint. But that pain and anguish are greatly compounded when you believe your loved one’s untimely death was caused by someone else’s negligence. Wrongful death occurs when a person is killed due to the negligence or misdeeds of others, whether an individual, corporation or entity.
Experienced Wrongful Death Attorneys
Oftentimes, people struggle with bringing a wrongful death claim because they are so emotionally overwrought. While a monetary award certainly can’t compensate for your loss, it can help you and your family move forward with your lives. This is a key concern when the family’s main breadwinner has passed.
At The Johnson Injury Firm, our attorneys help you understand the benefits of pursuing a wrongful death case, such as financial compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages and even pain and anguish. Compensation takes the form of money damages, and our clients have received damages for a variety of losses. Every case is unique, so meet with a lawyer to carefully review how much you and your relatives might receive.
In wrongful death cases, you may also be able to seek punitive damages. These are available when the defendant’s conduct was particularly serious, such as recklessly or intentionally injuring and killing your loved one. Our personal injury lawyers also work to make the process as easy as possible for you during this difficult time.
Causes of Wrongful Death
Including, but not limited to:
- Doctor negligence
- Medical malpractice
- Reckless behavior
- Reckless driving
- Product malfunction
- Unsafe premises
Under Virginia Code § 8.01-50, a wrongful death is one caused by the neglect, wrongful act, or default of another person. This sounds broad, but it basically means that a wrongful death action exists if your loved one would have had a lawsuit had he or she lived.
Wrongful death does not necessarily mean criminal, although some crimes could also support a wrongful death lawsuit. It is also independent of the criminal trial. Although the prosecutor might bring charges for a crime, surviving family members hire their own attorney.
Many people do not know whether they have a valid claim. In fact, they might not know exactly what happened to cause their loved one’s death. Now is the time to let an attorney do all of the heavy legal lifting while you spend time grieving. Please contact us.
Bringing the Lawsuit
Not everyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under the law, only the following can sue:
- Children or grandchildren
- Surviving parents and siblings
- Any relative who lived with the deceased and was dependent on them
- Any relative who is entitled to inherit from the deceased person’s estate
Virginia law gives the surviving spouse and any children or grandchildren the right to file first. Only the deceased is not survived by any spouse or descendants, then siblings or parents can file. If you are unsure where you fall in line, a lawyer can help review your case.
Deadlines to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Virginia law gives family members a short window of time to go into court and file one of these lawsuits. The law requires that you file your case within 2 years of your loved one’s death. If you wait too long, then the statute of limitations operates as a bar that prevents the lawsuit.
Two years might sound like plenty of time, but it can pass surprisingly quickly. Please contact an attorney to review your case.