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Losing a loved one is often hard, and when a person’s death happens suddenly, it can turn family members’ lives upside down. If you are coping with the loss of a family member, we offer our sincere condolences and want to help your family seek justice.

If someone else’s negligence fatally harmed your loved one, our wrongful death lawyers in Alexandria will fight for you and your family. For more than a decade, we have recovered millions in settlements for injured people across Virginia. 

Our personal injury lawyers in Alexandria will manage your wrongful lawsuit and hold all liable parties accountable. We also will guide you through complex laws, explain your rights and legal options, and support you through a challenging time. Call us today for a free consultation.

How Does Virginia Define ‘Wrongful Death’?

In Virginia, a wrongful death is defined as a death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person or entity, which would have entitled the deceased to file a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived. Virginia Code § 8.01-50 establishes this definition. 

Essentially, if a person dies because of someone else’s negligence or intentional actions, it may constitute a wrongful death. When this happens, the family may be able to take legal action against the party or parties responsible for their relative’s death.

Common Situations That Could Lead to a Wrongful Death Case

  • Car accidents: Fatalities caused by careless or reckless driving, including drunk driving, distracted driving, or speeding.
  • Medical malpractice: Deaths resulting from errors made by medical professionals.
  • Workplace accidents: Fatal incidents occurring on the job, which could indicate an unsafe workplace or a negligent employer.
  • Defective products: Deaths caused by unsafe or malfunctioning products, including defective vehicles, dangerous medications, or unsafe products.
  • Premises liability: Fatal injuries occurring on someone else’s property due to unsafe conditions, such as slips and fall accidents.

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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Virginia?

Not every family member can recover wrongful death compensation. In Virginia, only the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a lawsuit for fatalities caused by negligence. 

The court usually appoints a personal representative, who is responsible for managing the deceased person’s estate. This individual brings the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the beneficiaries. 

These typically include:

  • The surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren of the deceased
  • Parents, siblings, and other relatives who were dependent on the deceased or are entitled to inherit from the deceased’s estate
  • Other relatives who were primarily dependent on the deceased for support or services

Our wrongful death attorneys in Alexandria will help you understand key legal terms involved in these actions, such as “personal representative,” and explain who can sue for these damages.

We can also identify potential beneficiaries and document their dependency on your loved one, which can help us prove eligibility. During a free consultation, we can give you specific guidance about your situation during a free consultation. Call us today to get started.

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What Damages Can You Recover With a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

We will review your case and determine the damages the liable party owes your family. Financial awards in wrongful death cases:

  • Intend to compensate surviving family members for the financial and emotional costs of losing their loved one.
  • Help the family manage the practical and personal challenges that arise after the wrongful death of a loved one.

Your damages generally will fall into the following categories:

Economic Damages

  • Funeral and burial/cremation expenses: Costs associated with the funeral and burial services.
  • Medical expenses: Costs for the medical care your loved one received before their death. This includes emergency care, hospital care, and rehabilitation.
  • Loss of the decedent’s expected income: Compensation for the income your loved one would have earned had they lived, including future earnings.
  • Loss of services: The value of services your relative would have provided, like childcare, household chores, and other family contributions.

Non-Economic Damages

  • Loss of companionship: Compensation for the loss of the deceased’s companionship, guidance, and emotional support.
  • Mental anguish: Damages for the emotional pain and suffering surviving family members experience.
  • Loss of care and protection: Compensation for the loss of care, protection, and assistance the deceased would have provided to your family.

Wrongful death cases vary according to the details and circumstances of each situation. Since no two cases are alike, there is no average wrongful death settlement. Our legal team will review every loss and tell you how much compensation we can demand from the at-fault party. 

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Our Wrongful Death Lawsuit Lawyers Serving Alexandria Will Advocate for a Full Recovery

Managing a wrongful death case is difficult, especially when a family is grappling with the loss of their loved one. The Pendleton Law Team cares about your recovery and future, so we will protect your rights and seek the best outcome. 

While you take care of your family, our compassionate wrongful death claim lawyers near Alexandria will:

  • Represent you on a contingency fee agreement basis, charging no upfront fee – we get paid only if you win your case.
  • Investigate and collect evidence to establish what happened and who’s responsible.
  • Identify all parties who owe you damages and determine their percentage of fault.
  • Assess and document your damages to determine how much compensation to demand.
  • Lead settlement negotiation talks with the insurance company.
  • Represent you at trial if we cannot settle your case.

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Differences Between Wrongful Death Claims and Survival Claims

Our legal team can also handle filing a survival claim for your family if necessary. Understanding the differences between a wrongful death claim and a survival claim is important for families filing either of these legal actions. 

Each serves a different purpose and provides different types of compensation. Below is a closer look at how each claim works and what it covers in Virginia.

Wrongful Death Claim

A wrongful death claim compensates the decedent’s survivors (beneficiaries) for their losses resulting from their loved one’s death. This compensation goes directly to the decedent’s relatives or other dependents.

Their damages may include:

  • Funeral and burial/cremation expenses
  • Loss of income and services
  • Loss of companionship
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of care, comfort, and guidance

Survival Claim

A survival claim compensates families for the pain and suffering their loved one endured before death and other losses incurred by the deceased person from the time they suffered injury to the time of their death.

The compensation becomes part of the deceased’s estate and is distributed according to their will or state intestacy laws. 

Damages in survival claims may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering the family’s loved one experienced before their death

The key difference is that a wrongful death claim focuses on the losses suffered by the survivors due to the death, while a survival claim addresses the losses suffered by the deceased before their death.

Deadlines Apply to Virginia Wrongful Death Cases – Act Now

In Virginia, parties generally have a two-year window to file a wrongful death lawsuit or a survival claim. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. 

We urge you to contact us soon so we can review your case, confirm its deadline, and start working on it for you. If you miss this deadline, you may lose your right to seek compensation. 

Call Us Today for Help for an Alexandria Wrongful Death Case

After losing a loved one, you deserve time to grieve your loved one and hold those responsible for their death accountable. Our wrongful death lawyers in Alexandria will build your compensation case against the negligent party and fight for your full recovery. 

Call the Pendleton Law Team today for a free case evaluation. We will advocate for you and secure the justice and compensation you and your family deserve.

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