The untimely loss of a family member is one of the most devastating experiences imaginable. When the death is caused by someone else’s carelessness, the loss is even more painful. It’s a wound that may never completely heal.
While the loss of a loved one may affect many aspects of a family, there are actions you can take if you lost someone due to another party’s negligence. You should not have to bear the financial burden of someone else’s negligence. The Staunton wrongful death attorneys at the Kendall Law Firm are here to help in whatever way we can. We understand the emotional toll an accidental death can take on a family, and we promise to treat you with empathy and understanding.
While monetary compensation won’t bring back your family member, it can help alleviate the financial strain associated with their passing. You can use the Virginia legal system to hold the person responsible for their death accountable.
Our law firm has more than three decades of combined legal experience, including founding attorney David Kendall’s service in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Judge Advocate General. We’re proud of the accolades we’ve received from our clients and the Staunton community, including a 4.9-star rating on Google and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
To discuss your legal options regarding a Virginia wrongful death case, call (866) 590-9773 or visit our contact page today so you can schedule your free case review.
The most common cause of wrongful death claims are fatal motor vehicle accidents such as car accidents and truck accidents. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports that there were 7,048 alcohol-related car crashes in 2019, resulting in 264 fatalities. In many cases, it was the drunk drivers who died in the crash. But there were many instances where the drunk driver took the lives of other motorists. These traffic fatalities would be considered wrongful deaths.
Virginia law only allows certain individuals to seek compensation for someone’s wrongful death. This includes surviving family members as well as other beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate.
State law indicates who has priority to seek compensation after a wrongful death. First priority is given to surviving spouses and children of the deceased. If the deceased had grandchildren, they can only seek compensation if their parents are also deceased.
In the event that the deceased has no surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren, the deceased’s parents, siblings, and other relatives who depended on the deceased may file a wrongful death claim. In some cases, the deceased had no children or grandchildren but does have a surviving spouse or parents. If this is the case, then both the surviving spouse and parents can file a claim for compensation. One caveat here is that parents cannot file a claim for compensation if their parental rights were terminated by a court (such as in a divorce, for example).
Finally, if the deceased did not have surviving spouse, surviving children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, or other relatives, then other beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate may be able to seek compensation. Any damages awarded in such a wrongful death claim will be distributed according to Virginia’s estate laws.
Some of the things that surviving family members may demand compensation for in a wrongful death suit include:
There is another way in which surviving family members can recover compensation in Virginia after a wrongful death. If the deceased did not immediately die from their injuries and filed a personal injury suit, their estate can continue that lawsuit after their death.
As far as the potential value of your compensation is concerned, there are only a few restrictions on the damages you may seek. If your family member died as a result of medical malpractice, the maximum compensation is determined by state law. The amount you can receive increases each year, according to inflation, and was most recently set at $2.45 million. There’s a $350,000 cap on punitive damages in all personal injury cases.
In Virginia, wrongful death lawsuits are filed by the administrator of the deceased’s estate. The lawyer handling the wrongful death case will need to provide evidence proving negligence in order to obtain any compensation from the liable party. The key components of a negligence claim are:
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Staunton requires the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney to have the best chance of success. An experienced Staunton wrongful death lawyer at Kendall Law Firm can help you navigate the process and give you the best possible chance at recovering fair compensation for your loss. Contact the wrongful death attorneys at the Kendall Law Firm today by calling (866) 590-9773 or visiting our contact page.