NEWPORT NEWS WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYERS
REPRESENTATION THAT BALANCES COMPASSION & PROFESSIONALISM
After losing a loved one to an accident or incident that should have been preventable, you shouldn’t get caught up in legal battles that will only frustrate you further. Huffman & Huffman would like to be your legal guides and representatives during this trying time, so you can grieve in peace. We are known for providing effective legal counsel that is balanced with genuine moral support. As a family-owned law firm, we take pride in making our clients feel like family, too. We’re in this together.
Call (757) 599-6050 today for experienced and caring counsel after the loss of a loved one. Together, we can seek the answers and justice your family deserves.
Wrongful Death: Causes & Liability
WHAT IS A WRONGFUL DEATH?
Most deaths that happen due to an accident are “wrongful” under Virginia law (Section 8.01-50). This legal statute defines a wrongful death as one caused by a wrongful or neglectful act of a third party. A simpler way to view the law is that a wrongful death has occurred if the deceased could have reasonably filed a personal injury claim had they survived their injuries or illness.
RIGHT TO FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH ACTION
Anyone who has lost a loved one to a preventable accident will understandably want to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the liable party. However, Virginia law only allows certain people to file such claims, and they must have a specific relation to the deceased. Particularly, the people who can file a wrongful death action are usually the same people who can recover financial benefits if the claim is successful.
Virginia allows the following parties to file a wrongful death claim:
- Spouse and children or grandchildren
- Parents and siblings
- Relatives who lived in the same household and are dependents
- Family members who are entitled to a portion of the deceased’s estate
Furthermore, the right to file a wrongful death action follows a specific order under Virginia law. A spouse, child, or grandchild of the deceased has the first opportunity to file the claim. If they cannot, then the right is passed to the parents or siblings, and so on down the aforementioned list. The right to receive benefits from the claim does not change based on who filed it, though.
DAMAGES YOU CAN RECOVER IN A WRONGFUL DEATH CASE
The damages you might be able to recover in a Virginia wrongful death claim are:
- Deceased’s final medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses, up to a “reasonable” cap
- Wages the deceased would have likely earned in life
- Emotional trauma suffered by the claimants
- Lost care, companionship, and household services
There is no amount of money that can undo what happened to your loved one, so it is important to realize that is not the purpose of seeking financial damages from the liable party. Rather, by filing a claim or lawsuit, you are seeking a sense of closure and financial stability. The grieving process can move at a healthier pace if you don’t need to worry about your bills and new debt at the same time.
ACT NOW BEFORE TOO MUCH TIME PASSES
Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations that begins on the date your loved one passed away. When the two-year statute expires, all claims filed in the future will be dismissed by the court before they can develop. You could have a strong case with dockets of convincing evidence of liability to bring, but it would not matter if the statute of limitations has passed.
While grieving, it is easy to lose track of time. Weeks and months can go by in what feels like a few days. Please call us at (757) 599-6050 today before more time passes unchecked and the statute of limitations draws nearer. We can talk about getting your case moving and filed at a pace that works for you without risking the statute’s expiry. We’re here to support you, however we can, just like you and your family deserve.