If you have recently lost someone you love in a preventable accident, it is important to learn more about filing a wrongful death case in Virginia.
At Kendall Law Firm, we know that the immediate weeks and months following the accidental death of a loved one can be challenging both emotionally and financially – especially if the deceased helped to support your family.
While it can be difficult to begin thinking about filing a lawsuit, it is important to learn more about how wrongful death claims work in Virginia in order to ensure that you do not lose your right to seek compensation.
Here, we address some common issues that arise in these claims and point out what you need to know about wrongful death cases in Virginia.
If you have questions about filing a lawsuit, an experienced Harrisonburg wrongful death attorney from our firm can speak with you today.
You have a limited time period to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Virginia
It is important to recognize the statute of limitations in wrongful death accident cases in Virginia and how it might impact your claim.
In Virginia, you typically must file a wrongful death claim within two years from the date of death in order to be eligible for compensation.
The right to file a wrongful death lawsuit follows a specific order of priority
In addition to questions and concerns about the time limits for filing a wrongful death claim, we often speak with clients that want to know more about who can be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Virginia and whether multiple parties can file such a claim.
Under state law, there is a specific order of priority for persons bringing wrongful death lawsuits. Generally speaking, a surviving spouse and/or children or grandchildren of the deceased are first in line.
Next, a deceased’s parents and/or siblings are listed, along with other dependent relatives. Then, other surviving relatives may be eligible.
The person who brings the lawsuit is known as the personal representative. While only one person can be eligible to file a lawsuit, this does not mean that only one party has the right to damages.
A wrongful death can result in losses to many different persons who played a role in the life of the deceased, and each of them may be entitled to damages.
You may be entitled to compensatory damages and punitive damages
Wrongful death cases in Virginia can result in damage awards of compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages compensate plaintiffs for actual losses such as the deceased’s lost wages and medical and funeral expenses.
Punitive damages are not intended to compensate but rather to punish the wrongdoer and to deter similar negligent or intentional behavior in the future.
Statements made at the scene of the accident may impact the outcome of your wrongful death claim
It is important to remember that, as in personal injury cases, statements made at the scene of an accident can impact the ability of a plaintiff to secure damages in a wrongful death case.
In other words, you should never admit fault and should seek an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist throughout the claims process.
Length of time for wrongful death claims can vary
Wrongful death claims vary in time depending on the specific facts of the case as well as whether the case ends in a settlement or a jury verdict.
Generally speaking, settlements do not take as long as jury verdicts, and settlements can help a plaintiff to obtain compensation and to move on more quickly.
At the same time, a jury award of damages may provide a higher rate of compensation than a settlement. You should always discuss your case with a Winchester wrongful death lawyer to determine what is best for your case.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Harrisonburg, Winchester or Charlottesville
If you have questions about filing a wrongful death lawsuit, a wrongful death attorney from our firm can help. Contact Kendall Law Firm today to discuss your options. We serve clients in Winchester, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg and other areas throughout the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.