Losing a loved one is always painful. However, when the death is due to someone else’s negligence it is especially tragic.
In the aftermath of such a devastating incident, it’s important to hire an attorney that will fight for your family’s well-being.
At Lantz & Robins, P.C., our Richmond wrongful death lawyers have the experience and resources you need. We won’t rest until those responsible are held accountable for their actions.
So contact us today to set up a free, confidential consultation to discuss the details of your case and explore how we can help.
What Is Wrongful Death?
According to Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-50, wrongful death is any case where “the death of a person [is] caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another party.
Virginia law gives family members the right to sue for wrongful death based on many types of fatal accidents. This includes:
- Car accidents,
- Truck accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Pedestrian accidents,
- Medical malpractice,
- Slip and falls,
- Some workplace accidents,
- Defective drugs,
- Nursing home abuse or neglect,
- Dangerous products
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case in Virginia?
For someone to bring a wrongful death claim, the actual victim must have been able to pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent party if they had lived.
In other words, if the decedent had lived, would they have been able to sue the negligent party for damages? If the answer is yes, then a wrongful death claim is likely viable.
In Virginia, a wrongful death claim must be filed by a personal representative of the victim, their family, or their estate. The only exception is if a fetus dies due to another party’s neglect. In this case, the mother may file a wrongful death claim.
It is crucial that the right person, in the correct legal capacity, following the correct procedure, files a wrongful death case.
If the case is not filed by the right person, under the correct name, with the correct credentials from the court or elsewhere, even a clear liability case could be dismissed. Grieving family members must call an experienced attorney as soon as they are able to avoid waiving their rights.
The beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim may include the victim’s spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, or other dependent relatives.
If there aren’t any surviving family members, a claim can still be brought by whoever inherits the victim’s estate. In any case, Va.Code Ann. § 8.01-244 says that the personal representative must file a claim within two years of the victim’s death.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
According to Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-52, the jury or the court may award damages that are “fair and just,” including, but not limited to:
- Mental anguish, sorrow, or solace;
- Loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance, and advice from the victim;
- Loss of income, services, protection, care, or assistance provided by the victim;
- Medical treatment related to the victim’s fatal injury;
- Funeral expenses for the victim; and
- Punitive damages for willful negligence.
The last type of damage, known as punitive damages, only occurs in cases where the defendant had a conscious disregard for the safety of others. These damages are meant to punish the defendant for their reckless behavior. If the defendant is dead, punitive damages are not available.
How Our Richmond Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help
When it comes to wrongful death, an experienced attorney knows what is at stake. The loss of a loved one is profound and you shouldn’t have to endure it alone. Our lawyers will support you every step of the way during your wrongful death case.
Managing the Case
When you hire one of our skilled attorneys, we immediately begin investigating the important elements of your wrongful death claim. This includes the events leading up to and following the incident.
Without a lawyer, this process can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if you need to hire experts. We are here to manage all aspects of the case for you, including preserving all evidence and finding any experts you may need.
Calculating the Value of Your Claim
Determining the value of a wrongful death claim can be a difficult process. Many family members find it difficult to assign a dollar amount to their loss.
Since this can be emotionally taxing, our attorneys thoroughly assess the situation to determine the financial value of your loss. This includes the medical expenses for the victim, funeral costs, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
Negotiating on Your Behalf
The last thing your family needs after the loss of a loved one is an unjust and lowball settlement offer from the defendant. If their negligent actions led to the death of your loved one, they must be held accountable.
Our attorneys are fierce advocates and will aggressively negotiate your settlement and reject any offer that is too low. We will also take your case to trial if necessary.
Contact a Richmond Wrongful Death Lawsuit Attorney Today
At Lantz & Robins, P.C., we understand how difficult the death of a loved one can be for family members.
Our Richmond wrongful death lawyers dedicate themselves to helping families find closure by holding the responsible party accountable. If you have lost a loved one in an accident or intentionally wrongful act, contact us to schedule a free consultation.