Wrongful Death
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The questions on this page were answered by our team of Virginia Beach & Norfolk personal injury attorneys. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.

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  • What types of injuries result from swimming pool accidents caused by negligence?

    In addition to fatal drownings, there are other injuries that can occur that leave victims with severe and often permanent injuries. Near drownings leave victims in a state of being unable to breathe and with no heartbeat. Although resuscitation may help the victim to begin breathing again, they often suffer deprivation of oxygen to the brain, leaving them with severe mental and physical injuries.

  • What are the most frequent causes of swimming pool drownings?

    • Defective drains which cause suction drownings
    • Diving board accidents
    • Failure to supervise
    • Negligent lifeguarding
    • No fence around the pool
    • Overcrowded pools
    • Poor water depth markers
    • Slippery surfaces

  • How prevalent are non-boating drowning accidents?

    According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 10 non-boating drowning deaths that occur each day in this country. Many of these incidents occur in swimming pools and many of the victims are young children.

    These incidents spike during the summer months. In 2017, 163 children younger than 15 years of age fatally drowned in swimming pools. Seven of those victims lived here in Virginia.

  • How can I calculate a just amount of compensation for my pain and suffering in a wrongful death claim?

    No amount of money will make up for the loss of a loved one, but your wrongful death attorney can help you to calculate a fair and reasonable sum for your pain and suffering. 

  • Do I have a right to noneconomic damages in a wrongful death case?

    Yes. Noneconomic damages may also be referred to as pain and suffering. However, note that in a wrongful death case, the deceased's pain and suffering does not factor directly into a settlement, but the family member's suffering and pain is a major factor. 

  • What damages can be recovered in a wrongful death claim?

    The specific damages that can be recovered depending upon the circumstances of the victim’s death, however, in general, family can pursue compensation for funeral expenses, loss of the victim’s income, and noneconomic losses such as loss of the victim’s companionship, care, guidance, assistance, affection, and protection.

    The victim’s family may also file a survival action in order to recover certain economic losses the victim’s estate suffered, including medical expenses, loss of income, and any other losses the victim may have been able to recover in a personal injury lawsuit had they recovered.

  • Who can file a wrongful death claim?

    Under Virginia law, survivors must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the victim’s death. Legally, survivors are considered the following (in order of who has the legal claim):

    • The surviving spouse and children of the victim
    • The surviving parents of the victim. If the parents are not alive, then the siblings of the victim may file.
    • Any relative who was financially dependent on the victim
    • Any relative who is entitled to inherit from the victim’s estate based on the intestacy laws of Virginia.

  • What is a wrongful death claim?

    Virginia law allows family members to pursue compensation if their loved one’s death was the result of the negligent or reckless actions of another party or parties. Examples of incidents that could justify a wrongful death claim include:

    • Defective or dangerous product
    • Fatal assault, battery, or because of other crime
    • Fatal vehicle accident cause by a driver who exhibited careless, drunk, or reckless behavior.
    • Medical malpractice
    • Nursing home abuse or negligence
    • Slip and fall or other premises liability accident on private property
    • Work-related death

  • What are some of the common problems with backyard pools that can cause injury?

    Many pool owners lack proper fencing or a pool cover. If the pool is not in use and a child falls in unsupervised, it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit. 

  • Do beneficiaries need to be named in a wrongful death lawsuit?

    Only the plaintiff and the person who died must be named in a wrongful death insurance claim or civil lawsuit.

    Technically, the person named as the plaintiff is acting in place of the deceased individual and on behalf of the estate of the man, woman or child who died. How an insurance company wrongful death settlement or jury award is divided up is determined by section 8.01-53 of the Virginia Code.