Richmond Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one is a tragic event in any person’s life. There is never a “right” time to experience loss, but losing a loved one during an unexpected accident caused by another person’s negligence is a painful event that is difficult to recover from.
If you have lost a loved one due to the actions of another person, consult the expert legal counsel of a compassionate wrongful death attorney in Richmond. You may be entitled to bring a claim for your damages against the responsible party.
What Is Wrongful Death?
When someone dies because of the neglectful actions of someone else, the surviving family of the victim can file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death actions are some of the most difficult personal injury actions to bring since they require the family to relive the worst day of their lives.
Wrongful death cases are very much like any other personal injury case. The key difference is that the victim cannot bring forth the lawsuit because they’re dead. Instead, a beneficiary of the deceased victim has to sue. This is usually a family member.
Finding a skilled and compassionate wrongful death lawyer in Richmond will help you get possible compensation for your loss while keeping the process as smooth as possible. Grief can make it hard to pursue justice, and we are prepared to pursue it on your behalf.
Wrongful Death Damages
Beneficiaries may bring a claim for damages after a wrongful death accident within two years of the accident. This is the standard statute of limitation for personal injury cases in Virginia.
Virginia courts allow recovery for a wrongful death action in an amount believed to be “fair and just.” There are five specific kinds of damages you can collect under Virginia law:
- Compensation for economic losses, such as loss of income, loss of services, protection, and care.
- Compensation for pain and suffering: loss of companionship, loss of consortium, emotional pain and sorrow.
- Compensation for medical expenses incurred for the care, treatment, and hospitalization of the victim before death.
- Compensation for reasonable funeral expenses.
- Punitive damages, if the responsible party caused the victim’s death due to reckless conduct, willful or wanton conduct.
Virginia does not provide a cap on the value of a wrongful death action, aside from punitive damages, for wrongful death actions which occurred because of an accident, like car accidents.
However, a cap is present in cases where a loved one died due to the actions of a medical professional. The medical malpractice cap is $2,000,000 for wrongful death actions, including all medical bills, funeral costs, and other damages.
Who Gets the Money in a Wrongful Death Case?
If you win your case, the money doesn’t just go to the person who filed the lawsuit. Multiple beneficiaries can come forward to claim their share of the award. Virginia law divides beneficiaries into two tiers:
- Tier 1: Spouse, children, and grandchildren; parents may qualify if they received financial assistance or services for at least 12 months before the date of death.
- Tier 2: Parents, irrespective of the existence of support services, siblings, other relatives who are dependent on the deceased person for support.
The court will decide who in these tiers will get how much money, but those in tier 1 have the stronger claim. As for which relatives qualify for wrongful death compensation, that depends on Virginia’s intestacy laws, like Code § 64.2-200, and whether a will exists. Our wrongful death attorneys in Richmond can help sort it all out.
The Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Claims
Any personal injury situation that can end in a fatality can be a basis for a wrongful death claim. The most common types of wrongful death cases are:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Dangerous premises
- Defective products or services
- Workplace incidents
- Medical malpractice
- Animal attacks
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
Whatever the actual cause of death is, we still have to prove the same thing to win the case. We must prove that the defendant killed your loved one through a negligent act. If we can prove negligence and link the death to it, then we can win your case.
How Long Will My Wrongful Death Case Take?
While it is sometimes possible to reach a quick conclusion to a wrongful death claim, a more reasonable expectation is at least several months. It’s not unheard of for these cases to go on for more than a year.
There are many reasons it can take too long, such as gathering information from witnesses, tracking down beneficiaries, and waiting for the court to have a slot open to hear your case. Your wrongful death attorney will work to make the process as efficient as possible.
Call a Richmond Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you have experienced the traumatic loss of a loved one, you understand the seemingly never-ending pain that follows your life after the accident. It is difficult to continue your daily activities, much less to consider the possibility of legal action against the responsible party.
The Richmond wrongful death attorneys at Christina Pendleton & Associates will handle your claim from the onset so that you can focus on your own recovery and the memory of your loved one. We will fight tirelessly for your claim to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your tragic loss. Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation.