Fairfax Wrongful Death Lawyer
Pursuing Compensation & Justice for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One
Losing a loved one in an unexpected accident is an incredibly painful and devastating experience. Pursuing a wrongful death claim in the wake of your grief can add insult to injury, yet by filing a claim you may be able to obtain compensation to cover losses such as funeral and burial expenses as well as attain justice by holding the individual or organization responsible for the death accountable. Still, legal matters and procedures are often the last things on the minds of those who have recently lost someone close to them.
Rothermel Law Firm, PLC can help. Our Fairfax wrongful death attorney understands the sensitive nature of such claims as well as how to confidently pursue the fair and just compensation your family deserves. If you choose to work with our firm, we will handle the legal aspects of your claim on your behalf so you can focus on your wellbeing and spending time with your family during this trying period. We are compassionate, patient, and honest and will treat you and your case with the care it deserves.
Wrongful Death Accident Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries are the third leading cause of death in the United States. The most common causes of accidental deaths are falls, traffic accidents, medical errors, and unintentional poisoning (which includes overdosing). While these aren’t always necessarily the fault of a third party, in the event someone else did cause your loved one’s death, you can sue.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
The most important aspect of a wrongful death claim is that the accident that led to the death was caused by a third party, known as the defendant. The decedent’s family and/or their lawyer must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that another person or organization was responsible for their loved one’s death. Typically, the cause of the death wasn’t intentional or malicious as is often the case with criminal matters but was caused accidentally due to negligence.
Common causes of wrongful death include:
- Car, truck, motorcycle, and other traffic accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Work accidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Maritime accidents
If you can show that your loved one was killed due to an accident such as the above and that the accident was caused by another’s negligence, you have solid grounds for a legitimate wrongful death claim.
Wrongful Laws in Virginia
The Code of Virginia § 8.01-50 details how wrongful death is legally defined in the state. It reads:
“Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of any person or corporation, or of any ship or vessel, and the act, neglect, or default is such as would…have entitled the party injured to maintain an action…and to recover damages in respect thereof, then…the person who, or corporation or ship or vessel which, would have been liable, if death had not ensued, shall be liable to an action for damages.”
From government agencies to individual motorists, you can bring a lawsuit against just about anyone or any organization.
Virginia code § 8.01-53 goes on to state which beneficiaries are legally allowed to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a lost loved one. These individuals include:
- The surviving spouse, children, and/or grandchildren of the decedent,
- The surviving parents and/or siblings of the deceased, or any relative who shares decedent’s household and was a dependent of the deceased, and
- Any surviving family member who is entitled to inherit the deceased's estate under Virginia's intestacy laws.
Damages available in a wrongful death claim under Virginia code § 8.01-52 include:
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses,
- Grief and mental anguish,
- Loss of the deceased's care, comfort, guidance, advice, and companionship,
- The value of lost wages and benefits, including those wages and benefits the deceased might reasonably have been expected to earn if they had lived,
- Medical expenses related to the deceased's final illness or injury, and
- Punitive damages (when applicable).
Finally, the law states that you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a claim. If you wait too long to file, the court may throw out your case altogether.
If you believe that the law is on your side regarding your family member’s death, we encourage you to reach out to a local wrongful death lawyer right away to explore your legal options.