Every day, countless people lose their lives in car accidents, trucking accidents, pedestrian accidents and other personal injury accidents. While many of these deaths may have been unavoidable, others need not have occurred, and are the result of an act of negligence.
If you have lost someone you love as a result of another party’s negligence, intentional wrongdoing or reckless act, you may have the right to pursue both economic and non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim.
Contact the Charlottesville personal injury attorneys at the Kendall Law Firm by phone or online to learn more about the different types of damages that may be available to you and your family members.
According to Virginia Law, the surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings and certain members of the deceased’s household may have the right to seek damages in a wrongful death claim. However, calculating the value of a wrongful death claim can be complex.
For example, depending on the severity of your loved one’s car accident or other personal injury accident, and the extent of the injuries sustained, he or she may have required emergency treatment, surgery or other medical care prior to succumbing to the injuries.
A wrongful death attorney can help you to accurately estimate the value of your claim and help you to pursue damages you are due. Being awarded these damages can alleviate a substantial amount of stress for a family that has already suffered an unthinkable amount of pain, suffering and loss.
Types of Damages in a Virginia Wrongful Death Claim
The following are different categories of damages available under Virginia law that you may seek if you have lost a loved due to the negligence of another:
Transportation to the hospital in an ambulance, medical treatment prior to death and the costs of a funeral and burial can range into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, based upon the circumstances in the case. These economic damages may be sought in a Virginia wrongful death claim.
Lost income and benefits are other economic damages which can be awarded to the surviving family members and loved ones in a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the victim was the family’s primary income earner, then the lost of current and future income will have a significant effect on the family left behind. Income lost – not only in the immediate future but for the estimated lifetime of the decedent –must be calculated to accurately determine the value of these damages.
Benefits must also be assessed, including deprivation of health care coverage, pension plans, Social Security benefits, retirement plan benefits and inheritances.
Losing a loved one before his or her time is devastating without having to also face financial devastation due to the loss of income and benefits. An attorney versed in wrongful law will understand the formulas employed to determine the full value of these damages.
When a child suffers the loss of a parent, it is not only loss of income which must be considered – particularly if the parent was not the primary source of support for the family. In these cases, the cost of childcare, housekeeping, companionship and various domestic services must be factored into the value of the wrongful death claim so as not to cause further stress and financial strain for the family.
Although it may not be a strictly monetary loss, the loss of care, comfort, guidance, protection, companionship, consortium, advice and nurturing that the deceased may have been able to provide to his or her spouse, children and family is an extremely valuable commodity which must be considered when estimating a wrongful death claim value.
The death of a loved one leaves families suffering untold mental anguish and sorrow. Although no monetary award will bring back someone you love, awarding damages as compensation for emotional distress as well as mental pain and suffering can help alleviate some of the economic impact following a wrongful death. It can also help ease the shock or trauma caused by the tragic event.
In cases in which a person loses his or her life as a result of certain negligent behavior of another individual, the court may consider awarding punitive damages in an attempt to discourage this type of behavior. These damages are reserved for situations in which a person “acted consciously in disregard of another person’s rights or acted with reckless indifference to the consequences of his or her own risky behavior.”
Punitive damages are intended to punish the negligent party and can serve to further ease the suffering the deceased’s family has needed to endure.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident in Charlottesville or elsewhere in Virginia that you believe was caused by another person’s reckless, careless or negligent actions, contact Kendall Law Firm at once.
Our attorneys are well-versed in the Virginia statutes surrounding wrongful death cases. Our founding attorney is a Life Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum® and has an extensive track record of success in personal injury law.
Our dedicated staff is committed to helping surviving family members honor your loved ones by pursuing fair and just financial damages following a wrongful death.
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