Wrongful death occurs when a victim of an accident who might have filed a personal injury claim passes away from their catastrophic injuries before doing so. If your loved one passed away in Wytheville, VA, our wrongful death attorneys can assist your family to submit a claim for financial compensation on their behalf.
We empathize with your loss and want to offer compassionate legal representation to help you navigate this claims process successfully. It can be hard to consider compensation while grieving, and some insurance providers take advantage of that.
There are complex rules surrounding wrongful death that are best explained by a personal injury attorney. The Pendleton Law Team can handle evidence collection, communication with the insurance providers, and court proceedings on your behalf. If you are considering whether a wrongful death lawyer is necessary, let’s discuss your concerns during a free consultation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Virginia?
In Virginia, only two categories of people are eligible to make a wrongful death claim. The deceased’s personal representative, often known as the executor, comes first. Before filing your claim, you might need to go through probate court to appoint yourself if the victim didn’t mention one in their will.
The other person who can file is a mother who suffered the loss of their fetus because of someone else’s wrongful act. For instance, a mother would have the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her unborn child if she lost her pregnancy as a result of medical malpractice.
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Who Can Collect Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case?
The benefits could be split among multiple people. The first is the estate of the deceased. For example, the cost of final expenses is usually paid out of the estate. The second is the “statutory beneficiaries” related to the victim.
There is an order of who gets the compensation under Virginia Law. The order goes:
- Surviving spouse and children (or grandchildren if the children are deceased),
- If none exist, the surviving parents and siblings.
- If none of those exist, Any relative who depended on and lived with the deceased.
- If none of these apply, any surviving family member in accordance with the Virginia intestacy statutes’ order of inheritance if none of these situations apply.
The first two groups will often make up the recipients of compensation in wrongful death cases. The court will decide which damages are given to the estate and which are given to statutory beneficiaries. For more information regarding exceptions to your claim, we have experienced Wytheville wrongful death lawyers ready to answer all of your questions.
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What Damages Could You Receive?
First, you might be entitled to financial compensation for things like appropriate funeral and burial costs and final medical expenses. If you win your wrongful death lawsuit, these will generally be paid directly to the estate. The survivors may also be entitled to a variety of non-economic damages, including:
- Loss of the deceased’s comfort, guidance, and advice (loss of consortium)
- Sorrow and mental anguish
- Lost income and benefits that the deceased might have earned had they lived
- Loss of the deceased’s protection, care, and assistance in running the household
You could also receive punitive damages if the responsible party was especially negligent, lacked “duty of care”, and showed “a conscious disregard for the safety of others.” This is extra money awarded to victims by the court as a punishment for bad behavior.
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What Role Does the Insurance Company Play in Wrongful Death Claims?
Insurance companies may pay for wrongful death claims, but persuading them to do so can be challenging without proper legal knowledge or an experienced lawyer on your side. They’ll try to pay you less than what your monetary losses equate to because they realize they might owe you a sizable sum of money.
The majority of wrongful death claims can be settled without going to trial, but to obtain a reasonable settlement, your attorney will bargain with the insurance companies. Most disputes are resolved through settlement, although a few go to court. Going to court could result in losing compensation, while settling early might get you less money.
In these circumstances, your case can benefit from the imperative legal counsel of our Wytheville wrongful death attorney. The insurance provider will be aware of your grief and may want to take advantage of it. Instead, hire one of our Virginia wrongful death lawyers and let us handle the negotiations.
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How Long Do You Have To File for Compensation Benefits?
Enduring emotional distress, like losing a loved one, can erase any sense of time. We understand and are here to ensure that you don’t miss the deadline to file a wrongful death claim in Virginia. According to the state’s statute of limitations, you have two years from the decedent’s death to file before you lose your ability to seek fair compensation.
If you miss this date, your chances of receiving compensation are slim. When trying to extend the deadline for your case, an insurance company occasionally employs delay strategies. Working with a wrongful death attorney is the strongest defense you have.
If you’re unsure whether you should file a Wytheville wrongful death claim, it does no harm to speak with a Virginia wrongful death lawyer in a free initial consultation. You’ll learn your legal options, and you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with a lawsuit against the liable party.
Seek Help with Your Wrongful Death Claim
You are going through a traumatic life event and do not deserve to face this tragedy alone. Find out if you are eligible to collect compensation after your loved one’s wrongful death in Wytheville, VA, by calling Pendleton Law for a free case evaluation. Our compassionate lawyers are ready to help you hold the appropriate party responsible.
Contact our law firm today and let us help you file a compensation claim to eliminate the financial burden your family may be facing. If cost is a concern, our firm bills on a contingency fee basis. You will never be required to pay a retainer or any additional fees upfront; instead, you will only be charged if we win your case.
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