Having to file a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit is not something that most people plan ahead for. Although going to court understandably sounds extremely overwhelming and a little scary, pursuing your claim and holding someone accountable for the death of your loved one will go a lot more smoothly if you have dependable legal counsel on your side.
Am I eligible to file a Virginia wrongful death claim on behalf of my deceased family member?
If a member of your family was killed due to another person’s recklessness, negligence, or dereliction, the Virginia wrongful death attorneys from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you obtain compensation for your loss. No one deserves to face financial ruin because of someone else’s negligence. Call us today to schedule a free case review.
How Does Virginia Define Wrongful Death?
Virginia law clearly defines wrongful death as any death resulting from the neglect, default, or unlawful act of another party. If the events surrounding the victim’s death would have allowed them to bring a personal injury suit if they lived, then presumably their estate is entitled to bring a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
Who is Able to File a Virginia Wrongful Death Claim?
Virginia’s personal injury laws severely limit who is eligible to file a wrongful death suit. While almost all other states permit the victim’s surviving family members to file, Virginia demands that any litigation be set in motion by the victim’s executor or personal representative. The executor is typically named in the victim’s will. It is usually a surviving relative or someone who has been chosen to represent the family. This person is going to be integral to not only the filing of your claim but every stage of the legal process from there on out.
In order to see a successful resolution to your wrongful death claim, there are a few things you can do.
Know the Statute of Limitations
Like every other state, Virginia has a statute of limitations that applies to all wrongful death claims. Generally speaking, the executor has to file the claim no later than two years from the day of the victim’s passing.
Although the law does allow for a few exceptions to the statute, most claims that are filed after the statute of limitations has lapsed will be thrown out by the court.
Gather Important Evidence
Due to the fact that a wrongful death claim will cost the defendant and their insurance company a great deal of money, you should be ready to quash a strong defense.
Prior to the executor filing the lawsuit, it is important that you gather every single piece of evidence that is pertinent to your claim, such as:
- The death certificate
- The coroner’s report
- Any reports filed by law enforcement
- The victim’s medical records
- Pictures or video of the hazardous condition that contributed to or caused the victim’s untimely passing
- Financial records, such as previous tax returns
- Contact details and statements from any witnesses
Why Do I Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?
While you are certainly not obligated to hire an attorney to file your claim, your odds of a successful outcome to your lawsuit are much higher with a qualified lawyer on your side. An experienced wrongful death lawyer will have the resources necessary to fully investigate your relative’s death, make sure that you understand your rights, and help you pursue financial compensation.
Most personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee schedule. This means that rather than charging their clients by the hour, their payment is a previously agreed-upon percentage of any settlement or award you receive. You never have to pay anything out of pocket.
Talk to a Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer Now
If you lost a member of your family to wrongful death, you need to let an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp evaluate your claim. Call our law offices at (833) 997-1774 to schedule a free case review with our legal team today.