Experienced Virginia Wrongful Death Attorneys
First, we are sorry that you are here, investigating whether a wrongful death lawsuit would be appropriate for your situation. This means that something tragic has happened in your life.
In Virginia, when a loved one dies because of the carelessness of another, the survivors may be entitled to damages. Each state is different in terms of what damages may be recovered.
In Virginia, these are the damages that can be recovered by the beneficiaries of the estate:
- Sorrow, mental anguish, and solace which may include society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices, and advice of the decedent;
- Compensation for a reasonably expected loss of (i) income of the decedent and (ii) services, protection, care, and assistance provided by the decedent;
- Expenses for the care, treatment, and hospitalization of the decedent incident to the injury resulting in death;
- Reasonable funeral expenses; and
- Punitive damages may be recovered in Virginia for willful or wanton conduct, or such recklessness as evinces a conscious disregard for the safety of others.
Note that in a wrongful death case in Virginia there is no recovery for the pain and suffering of the person who died ("the decedent")
Contact a Fairfax Wrongful Death Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you have lost a loved one due to negligence in Virginia, contact us today for a free consultation. We can answer your questions and help you determine if a lawyer can help you. Call (703) 584-7277 today or send us a confidential message by completing a contact form.
Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions
Who can be compensated for a wrongful death claim in Virginia?
When you file a wrongful death claim, there is an order of beneficiaries eligible to collect the damages won in the lawsuit. The Virginia Code sets forth this order to determine how any damages will be distributed. The order is determined by the beneficiary's level of dependence on the deceased.
It should come as no surprise, then, that family members and relatives are first to be considered for compensation in a wrongful death claim in Virginia, unless otherwise stated in the deceased's will.
In Virginia, the spouse of the deceased is first to be considered for compensation from a wrongful death claim. If no spouse is present, the children of the deceased are considered next, or if they are deceased, their surviving children. If no children are present, the parents of the deceased are next in the order of beneficiaries, followed by the deceased's siblings.
After all of these beneficiaries are depleted, the damages may be awarded to any other relative who was dependent on the deceased for support and lived in the same household. When you file a wrongful death claim, it's best to have a wrongful death attorney to help make sure you are fairly represented.
When Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Virginia?
A wrongful death lawsuit is valid only when a loved one dies because of the negligence or reckless behavior of another party. If it is found that the deceased contributed to their own death, the surviving family may not be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf.
In Virginia, the contributory negligence laws make it so that a victim cannot be found to have contributed to their injuries in any way to recover damages. Negligence is the most important factor in determining whether the family of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Defective products, dangerous drugs, medical malpractice, and many types of fatal accidents are all typical incidents where a wrongful death lawsuit may be valid. In all of these cases, you must be able to prove that your loved one was injured because of the behavior of another party and that those injuries proved fatal.
You should contact a local wrongful death attorney immediately to discuss your situation. Well-documented evidence of the negligent or reckless actions will be necessary to show that your loved one died through no fault of their own and that their case is truly a wrongful death.
What Do You Need for Your First Meeting with a Lawyer in a Virginia Wrongful Death Claim?
Here are the documents that will help greatly and will allow me to proceed with an investigation into your case:
- An original death certificate (the funeral home will be able to provide this. Also, ask the funeral home for a bill marked "fully paid."
- Let me know whether an autopsy has been performed. If so, I can arrange to obtain a copy of it from the medical examiner's office.
- A list (handwritten is just fine-it doesn't need to be typed) of the names and addresses of any doctor your loved one saw within the last two years.
- A list of the immediate family members, together with their ages, dates of birth and social security numbers.
- If your loved one had a will, please bring a copy with you. (I need this to know who the executor or executrix (female executor) is.)
- If your loved one did not have a will, one of the close family members, (you'll choose) will need to be named as the administrator of the estate. This simply means that that person will stand in place of the deceased loved one. He or she will have their name put on the litigation documents. However, that person does not receive any different or greater share of the recovery simply because they are the administrator.
- If you have copies of any medical records, bring them.
- Bring any medical insurance cards, bills and receipts from any health insurance company about the treatment your loved one received recently.
- If your loved one was employed, bring copies of their tax returns and W-2 forms for the last three years.
- When you meet with me, try and bring any family members who have knowledge or information about the specific events that led to your loved one's injuries and untimely death. All of these documents assist me in promptly evaluating and processing your matter.