Harrisonburg Wrongful Death Lawyer
The unexpected death of a loved one is a devastating experience. If such a death is caused by another person’s reckless act or misconduct, Virginia law considers it a wrongful death and entitles certain survivors of the deceased to seek compensation from those responsible. Though no amount of money can make up for your loss, an insurance settlement or jury award can keep the death of a loved one from causing a family financial hardship, especially if the deceased individual was a family breadwinner.
If a family member of yours has died in an accident someone else has caused or because of a preventable medical error, you may be able to seek compensation for funeral expenses, lost household income, and your grief.
You should seek a free consultation with a compassionate Virginia wrongful death attorney in the wake of a questionable or unjust death in the Harrisonburg, VA, area. Attorney David B. Kendall can review the details of the accident and help you understand your legal options. Holding a negligent party accountable can bring some justice for the deceased and provide compensation to offset the costs and losses incurred with the untimely death of a family member.
About Our Harrisonburg Wrongful Death Attorney
At the Kendall Law Firm, you will find a dedicated attorney who is approachable, experienced, thorough and compassionate. Our Harrisonburg law firm has helped numerous families recover compensation after someone else caused them or a loved one of theirs serious and unjustified harm.
Our founding attorney, David B. Kendall, is a former Judge Advocate General with the U.S. Marines who has represented clients with personal injury and wrongful death cases for more than 25 years. David Kendall has earned membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum® because of his success.
Our law firm assists families in the Harrisonburg, Virginia, area by thoroughly investigating the accident or misconduct that caused your loved one’s death and gathering evidence to support your wrongful death claim. Our team carefully assesses all losses related to the death of a loved one to ensure that our firm aggressively pursues a settlement reflecting the full extent of your losses.
Wrongful death claims are complex, and they take place at the most terrible time in the plaintiffs’ lives. You need an attorney who is well-versed in Virginia wrongful death law and who has the compassion to recognize your personal needs throughout the claims process. While each case is unique, the Kendall Law Firm has a history of success that will give you the confidence that our firm will do our utmost to seek justice for you and your family.
Causes Of Wrongful Death Claims We Accept In Harrisonburg
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says accidents were the third-leading cause of death in Virginia in 2016, behind cancer and heart disease. The survivors of a person who died in an accident due to another’s negligence may pursue a wrongful death claim for compensation.
Most wrongful death cases are based on:
- Car accidents. Drivers who engage in dangerous behavior such as drunk driving, distracted driving, fatigued driving, speeding, aggressive driving and other negligent acts should be held accountable when they cause fatal accidents. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for personal injury claims based on car crashes to become wrongful death actions, if the accident victim succumbs to his or her injuries.
- Commercial truck accidents. Because of their size and weight, large, 18-wheeler trucks can cause catastrophic injuries and death in collisions with passenger vehicles. Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are required to carry higher amounts of liability insurance. Truck accident claims are more complex because of the number of potentially liable parties. It is important to have an experienced attorney with the resources to pursue full compensation after a fatal truck accident.
- Pedestrian accidents. Individuals walking across a road and children playing along a road have no protection from motor vehicles operated by negligent or reckless drivers. However, security and red light cameras, and other electronic data, including from newer vehicles’ “black box” recorders, make it easier to demonstrate driver negligence in pedestrian accidents.
- Medical malpractice. Patients and their loved ones have a right to expect medical professionals will order the appropriate diagnostic tests and follow the recognized standard of care in providing treatment for illnesses and injuries. When a preventable medical error leads to a patient’s death, the medical professionals and health care institutions involved may be held liable.
- Faulty products. Product manufacturers, distributors and retailers have a duty to ensure the products they sell are safe when used as intended and to adequately warn of the risks they pose. If faulty design or defects in manufacturing make a product unreasonably dangerous and consumers are not adequately warned, then the responsible parties may be held liable for wrongful deaths caused by the product.
Any accidental death at the hands of another person should be independently investigated on behalf of the deceased and surviving family members to determine whether the facts support a wrongful death claim. A no-obligation consultation with an experienced Harrisonburg attorney is a good first step.
Do I Have A Wrongful Death Case?
Only certain family members of a deceased person in Virginia may seek compensation from those responsible for a wrongful death.
Under §8.01-53 of the Code of Virginia, a wrongful death claim may be pursued by the deceased’s surviving:
- Spouse, or if there is no spouse,
- Children, or if no child survives,
- Grandchildren, or if no grandchild survives,
- Parents, or if no parent survives,
If none of the above survives the deceased, any relative who is a member of the deceased’s household and a dependent of the deceased may bring a wrongful death claim. If no one of that description exists, any surviving family member entitled to inherit the estate of the deceased under Virginia intestacy laws (applied following a death with no will) may bring a claim.
It is not unusual for family members to disagree over who may be eligible for compensation after a loved one’s death due to negligence. An experienced wrongful death claims lawyer at the Kendall Law Firm in Harrisonburg can advise you about a potential wrongful death civil lawsuit in Virginia.
In general, to be successful a wrongful death claim must demonstrate that:
- The defendant had a duty of safety to the deceased
- The defendant’s act or failure to act (recklessness or negligence) breached the duty of safety to the deceased
- The defendant’s act or failure to act was the cause of the deceased’s death
- The deceased’s death caused injury to the deceased’s estate and/or surviving plaintiff that can be mitigated by compensation from the defendant.
As your legal advocates, the Kendall Law Firm would investigate your loved one’s death and identify all responsible people or entities. We would develop a full accounting of your expenses connected to the accident and death of your family member, as well as evidence of your pain and suffering, to ensure we demand full compensation for you.
Damages Available In Harrisonburg Wrongful Death Cases
Damages awarded in a wrongful death claim are meant to cover any outstanding debts of the estate and to compensate surviving family members for their economic loss and grief.
Compensation in a wrongful death claim may include payment for:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses from the treatment of injuries or illness that led to death
- Lost wages, salary and benefits provided by the deceased, including reasonably anticipated income the surviving dependent would have relied on in the future
- Services, protection, care and assistance provided by the deceased
- Mental anguish due to the loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance and advice that had been provided by the deceased.
A judge or jury in Virginia also may award punitive damages for willful or wanton conduct by the defendant, or such recklessness on the part of the defendant as indicates a conscious disregard for the safety of others. Virginia law specifically says punitive damages are available in drunk driving accidents, particularly cases in which the defendant has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent or more.
Total damages in a Virginia medical malpractice wrongful death case are capped at $2 million.
Contact Our Harrisonburg Wrongful Death Law Firm
If you are dealing with the unexpected death of a loved one in an accident or while under medical care in Harrisonburg, Rockingham County or elsewhere in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, let the Kendall Law Firm answer your questions. Depending on the circumstances of the death, you may have a right to seek compensation for your losses.
Founding attorney David B. Kendall and the team at Kendall Law Firm understand that you are going through an extremely difficult time and need compassion and trusted legal guidance. Our law firm focuses on offering legal representation to Virginians who have suffered serious injuries or losses because of others’ carelessness or disregard for safety.
We can provide a forthright evaluation of your legal options at no charge. Our wrongful death lawyer works on a contingency-fee basis, which means you pay no legal fees until we recover compensation for you. Contact Kendall Law Firm today to meet with a legal advocate who is dedicated to a fair outcome for you and your family.