What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is caused when the dangerous actions or negligence of another party (a person, group of individuals, or organization) results in a fatality. In Virginia, qualifying representatives of the decedent’s estate may have grounds to pursue compensation via a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the date of their passing.
Damages Available in Wrongful Death Cases
A wrongful death settlement is an amount paid to resolve a fatal personal injury case. Our legal team can help you build a case to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and the suffering caused by your loved one passing in lieu of:
- Grief and anguish
- Loss of income
- Loss of services, protection, care, companionship, and assistance provided by the deceased
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills related to the deceased’s final illness or injury
- Punitive damages in some cases
While no amount of money can make up for the passing of a family member or compensate for the immeasurable anguish the surviving family experiences, it can help stabilize the financial situation at this distressing time.
Legal Support for Surviving Family Members
If another person or organization is responsible for wrongful death, a personal injury lawyer can provide legal support for surviving family members by:
- Investigating the cause of the accident
- Identifying liable parties
- Gathering evidence to build a strong case
- Estimating the value of the settlement
- Negotiating a fair settlement with insurance companies or their legal representatives
- Reviewing settlement offers
- Representing the surviving beneficiaries in court
If you believe your loved one was the victim of a fatal accident caused by another’s negligence, you can discuss your case with us and explore the legal remedies available to you.
What Can Cause a Wrongful Death?
While many factors can contribute to wrongful death, some of the most common examples include:
Auto, Pedestrian, and Cyclist Accidents
According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), almost 40,000 people die each year due to road crashes nationwide. Leading factors in many fatal auto collisions are caused by driver error, such as:
- Distracted driving from using a smartphone or other in-car tech
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Speeding and other reckless driving behaviors
- Failing to obey traffic controls and signals
- Driving while fatigued
If you lost a loved one due to an accident they suffered at work, you have legal options for seeking damages. Fatalities can arise from trips and falls, explosions, burns, exposure to dangerous chemicals, and defective machinery.
Wrongful death claims arise when a patient dies from medical negligence, such as:
- Delays in diagnosis or treatment
- Failure to diagnose
- Failures to offer, carry out, or accurately interpret diagnostic tests
- Mistakes with prescription medication
- Surgical errors
Wrongful death claims may also arise from improper residential care. Examples include failing to provide patients with the correct standard of care, neglecting a patient, or abusing a nursing home resident.
A manufacturer, retailer, or seller of a product may be held liable for causing a wrongful death by allowing defective products to reach consumers by:
- Manufacturing errors, such as incorrectly soldered wires in electrical products
- Design defects, such as not using the correct material to build a product making it hazardous for use
- Marketing or labeling errors, including failing to warn consumers about the dangers of using a pharmaceutical drug or medical device
Whatever the circumstances of your loved one’s accident, we can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and negotiate for a fair settlement.
Understanding How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works
Va. Code § 8.01-53 defines beneficiaries in the following specific order:
- The surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren
- The decedent’s parents and siblings
- Relatives who shared the home of and were dependent on the decedent
- Surviving family members who are entitled to inherit the decedent’s estate
Settlement amounts depend on the facts of the case and other elements, such as the financial support that has been lost, final medical expenses of the deceased, the age and health of the victim, the needs of the surviving family, and whether fault is established.
We work diligently to build a case that reflects the importance of your loved one in your life. While providing responsive legal care, you can focus on celebrating your loved one’s life and accomplishments.
Call for a Free Initial Consultation
The Parrish Law Firm, PLLC can advise how to make a compensation claim for the wrongful death of your loved one. With deepest sympathy for your situation, our goal is to make the legal process as straightforward as possible at this most difficult time.
To learn more about your legal options and how we can help, call (571) 229-1800 for a no-obligation case review.