Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Virginia

A Virginia personal injury lawyer knows that the unexpected loss of a loved one can have catastrophic financial effects on a family. When that loss is the result of the negligent or reckless act of another person, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit to pursue financial compensation for their emotional and financial losses. In general, the survivors that are allowed to file a wrongful death claim are the victim’s spouse and children, parents, siblings, or the representative of the victim’s estate.

The legal team from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp is dedicated to obtaining the best possible outcome for our clients and will work diligently for your family in your pursuit of justice for your loved one.

Wrongful Death Claims

There are multiple types of incidents or accidents that could cause the death of a victim and result in the family filing a wrongful death claim against the party or parties whose negligent action or behavior caused the accident which killed the victim. Some of the more common types of incidents our personal injury and wrongful death law firm has handled:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Medical error or malpractice
  • Premises liability accidents
  • Work accidents or illness
  • Birth injuries
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Defective or dangerous product
  • Criminal action

An attorney must prove four elements in a wrongful death lawsuit in order to prove their case:

  • Negligence – The victim’s death was a result of the careless, negligent, or reckless actions or behaviors of the defendant or defendants named in the wrongful death claim.
  • Breach of duty – The defendant owed a duty to the victim but failed to keep that duty. For example, a vehicle owner has a duty to drive safely and obey all traffic laws. If a driver who has been drinking causes a crash and a victim dies, that driver committed a breach of duty to the victim by committing the crime of drunk driving.
  • Causation – The defendant’s negligent actions resulted in the victim’s death.
  • Damages – The victim’s death resulted in economic damages to the family, such as medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of both present and future income and benefits, as well as non-economic damages, such as loss of guidance, loss of care, and emotional anguish.

What Damages Can a Family Pursue in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Damages for wrongful death claims include funeral and burial expenses, loss of future income the victim would have provided for his or her family, loss of future benefits the victim would have provided for his or her family, loss of companionship, loss of love, loss of guidance, loss of service, and emotional anguish.

The family or representative from the victim’s estate can also bring a second type of action against the at-fault party, referred to as a survival action. This is separate from the wrongful death claim, as are the damages that are pursued. Basically, the damages awarded in this action are the same as the victim could have pursued had they survived the action, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Speak with a Skilled and Compassionate Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

Families who have lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another person should consider contacting a Virginia wrongful death attorney to discuss what legal recourse they may have for their pain and loss. Our legal team will work diligently to get your family the financial justice you deserve. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.

Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp also offers a free wrongful death guide for families who have lost a loved one in an accident. The guide covers topics such as the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim, what types of damages can be pursued, and who can be appointed as a personal representative.