Charlottesville Wrongful Death Attorney
You Have Legal Rights when a Loved One Dies
When a person dies in an accident, their right to sue for compensation does not die with them. Instead, it lives on in Virginia in a wrongful death lawsuit.
At MichieHamlett, we meet with men and women who have lost a spouse, child, or parent in terrible accidents. They wonder if there is anything they can do legally to hold the defendant accountable. Fortunately, there is. A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit for money damages, and a successful suit can set our clients up for the future. Contact our Charlottesville wrongful death attorney for more information.
Examples of Wrongful Death
Under Virginia Code §8.01-50, a wrongful death is a death to the default, neglect, or wrongful act of another person. Because this is a civil statute, the act does not have to be criminal (though it could be). Mere negligence is enough to support a wrongful death lawsuit.
- A loved one killed in a car or pedestrian crash
- A person dying due to a medical error caused by negligence
- Workplace accidents that lead to death
- A person dying after being punched or struck with an object
Filing the Lawsuit
Had the victim lived, he or she would have filed their own suit. Because they have died, someone else must file. Under the law, the personal representative of the estate is charged with filing the suit.
However, Va. Code §8.01-53 lists certain “statutory beneficiaries” who will receive any compensation awarded:
- Family member entitled to inherit the estate
Contact our Charlottesville wrongful death attorney if you have a question. The law gives you only two years from the date of death to file the lawsuit, so avoiding delay is critical.
This is a civil suit, which means the defendant cannot be sent to jail if they are found liable for the death. Instead, they will have to pay compensation in the form of money damages for certain losses that family members have suffered.
These losses are extensive and have included:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The cost of medical care to treat the deceased
- Lost wages and benefits, including what the deceased could have earned had they lived
- Loss of comfort, society, guidance, companionship, and care
- Mental anguish or sorrow
The amount a person can receive will vary by the circumstances. For example, if your spouse died while young, then you could receive damages to make up for all the wages he or she would have earned while living. If your loved one was retired, however, you will probably receive less.
Further, the value of lost love, comfort, care and other intangible qualities are hard to fix in monetary terms. However, our attorneys have experience doing just that. Let us review your case to determine what kind of damages are in play.
Contact a Charlottesville Wrongful Death Attorney Today
The loss of a loved one is a painful experience. During this time, you need compassionate legal advice about your rights. Call MichieHamlett today to schedule a consultation.