Winchester Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Under Virginia Law , a wrongful death is caused by the neglect, wrongdoing, or misconduct of another person or business. If your loved one died as a result of someone else’s carelessness, disregard for safety and intentional misconduct, no amount of money can take away your pain. But filing a wrongful death claim, if appropriate, can help you cope financially after the loss of a loved one.
A compassionate and experienced Winchester wrongful death lawyer at Kendall Law Firm can review the circumstances of your loved one’s death and discuss whether filing a wrongful death lawsuit is in order. You may have a right to demand compensation for the mental and emotional distress accompanying the death of a family member. In our experience, a wrongful death settlement can help a family reach a sense of closure.
The compassionate and experienced lawyer of Kendall Law Firm is committed to helping families in Winchester and across the Shenandoah Valley seek justice if they’ve lost a loved one due to others’ negligence. Due to the two-year wrongful death statute of limitations, it is essential to contact an attorney as soon as possible following an accident resulting in the death of a loved one.
Call us at (434) 326-4350 to schedule a free consultation with us today.
How Can A Winchester Wrongful Death Lawyer Help Me?
Wrongful death cases can be highly complex. Proving negligence is crucial to achieving a successful outcome of any wrongful death suit. An experienced attorney is needed to gather evidence and hire the necessary expert witnesses to prove liability of the party at fault.
Failing to consult with an attorney after the death of a family member can leave you in the dark about your legal rights and cause unnecessary financial stress. Hiring an attorney can relieve the burden of having to deal with insurance companies on your own. An experienced attorney will have an informed perspective on the amount of insurance settlement you might expect to receive and whether the insurance company is being reasonable.
Common Causes Of Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death can happen as a result of any of a number of negligent acts.
The most common causes of wrongful death include:
- Medical malpractice: A 2016 Johns Hopkins’ study found medical errors to be the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. Doctors and hospitals can be held liable for the wrongful death of a loved one due to the medical errors made in treating or operating on a patient.
- Car accidents: Drivers must act in a reasonable manner when operating a motor vehicle. When a Winchester driver fails to adjust to current road conditions, becomes distracted while driving, or acts in an otherwise negligent way, the driver may cause a fatal accident and should be held accountable for the harm caused.
- Commercial trucks accidents: Because of size and weight differences, a car is no match for a tractor-trailer. Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are required by law to carry higher amounts of liability insurance than passenger vehicles because of the greater damage large trucks can cause. When a truck driver acts negligently and causes a wrongful death collision, the truck driver and trucking company should be held accountable.
- Pedestrian accidents: Speeding, running red lights, distracted driving, impaired driving, and other types of reckless driving can cause accidents with pedestrians, often with fatal results. A pedestrian has no protection from the negligent driving of the person operating the vehicle.
- Product liability: When a death occurs because a product is unreasonably dangerous due to defects in design or manufacturing or an inadequate warning of risks involved with the product, a wrongful death claim may be appropriate.
The possibility for a valid wrongful death claim exists anytime an individual’s death is the result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness.
Can I File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Winchester?
A wrongful death claim must be brought by a statutory beneficiary, which is generally a surviving spouse or close relative who was dependent on the decedent before his or her death. Virginia’s civil law provides that any wrongful death action must be brought within two years of the date of death. Otherwise, the wrongful death claim is barred by the statute of limitations.
Do I Have Legal Right To Wrongful Death Compensation?
The Virginia code provides that a surviving spouse or close relative can bring suit for the wrongful death of a loved one. Specifically, this means that the surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren of the deceased may bring a claim.
If one of these classes of beneficiaries does not exist, then the parents, siblings, or any other dependent in the same household as the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. A relative includes those people related to the decedent by blood, marriage, and adoption (including stepchildren).
Finally, where no beneficiary in these categories exists, a wrongful death claim may be brought by any person who would receive the decedent’s property under Virginia law. Virginia law outlines the rules for distributing the deceased person’s estate if the person dies without having a valid will.
What Can I Be Compensated For In A Wrongful Death Suit?
While damages for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased are not allowed under wrongful death laws, other compensation may be awarded a deceased individual’s qualified beneficiaries.
Common damages awarded in a wrongful death suit include:
- Emotional damages: Losing a loved one can result in pain and suffering that is incomparable to other emotional distresses. Emotional damages in a wrongful death claim will be awarded in an amount deemed fair and just and can include recovery for mental anguish and sorrow, psychological loss, and loss of comfort, guidance, advice, “kindly offices,” and companionship that would have been offered by the deceased they had lived.
- Medical expenses: If the deceased required hospital care and treatment for their injuries or illness that resulted in their death, a beneficiary could be compensated for those medical expenses that were incurred from the date of the incident until the deceased’s death.
- Loss of services and financial support: Damages for the loss of the services, including the care a beneficiary would normally receive from the deceased, may be available in a wrongful death claim.
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses: Wrongful death claims often involve compensation for funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of wages and benefits: The damages that can be awarded for lost wages and benefits of the deceased include the current and future income the deceased would reasonably expect to receive from wages, pensions, benefits, and inheritance.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages are only awarded when the person who is liable for the wrongful death acted in a willful and wanton manner or with such recklessness that it rises to conscious disregard for the safety and life of the deceased. Virginia allows for punitive damages in the case of a wrongful death resulting from a traffic accident caused drunk driving.
It is important to work with an experienced attorney who knows how to estimate the damages to which a beneficiary is entitled. Economic factors, such as inflation, must be taken into consideration when calculating damages, often requiring the knowledge of an economic professional.
Contact The Kendall Law Firm
Attorney David Kendall began his career working for the Judge Advocate General Corps for the United States Marine Corps, which allowed him to gain valuable experience advocating in the courtroom. Later, he represented sick and wounded veterans who were suffering from service-related injuries and helped them to secure compensation from Physical Evaluation Boards. Those experiences allow him to provide compassionate yet aggressive representation to clients who turn to him for help after a tragedy.
With an office in Winchester, the Kendall Law Firm has more than 25 years of experience in personal injury and wrongful death. Our firm operates with the goal of helping clients obtain the highest amount in recovery so that you and your loved ones can begin to rebuild your lives following a tragic loss.
After the death of a loved one, you need time to grieve. We know the last thing you want to do is complicate matters with a lawsuit, but your loved one deserves justice. Our legal team will handle all the details, taking the weight off your shoulders and letting you concentrate on moving forward.
We know that good communication is essential to a satisfactory client experience. We pride ourselves on making sure our clients are always up to date on the details of our case.
If you’ve lost a loved one in Winchester or the surrounding areas as a result of the negligence of another person, contact our Winchester wrongful death legal team today. Because of the limited amount of time available to bring a wrongful death claim in Virginia, you should contact our firm as soon as possible.
We offer a free consultation with no strings attached. We handle wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis, so no legal fee is owed unless we recover compensation for you.