The legal term “wrongful death” refers to a fatality that occurs because of the negligence or misdeeds of another person, corporation or entity. Part of the “personal injury” tort family, wrongful death holds an individual, group or corporation (defendant) accountable for causing injury to another person (plaintiff). The primary goal of a personal injury tort is to provide relief (damages) to the plaintiff. In some cases the damages may be sued to deter the defendant from inflicting harm to others. In a wrongful death action, consideration is given to the earnings the deceased would have provided to their family had they lived and damages are awarded to survivors based on this monetary loss. Survivors may also receive damages for medical and funeral expenses for the victim, estate administration expenses, survivor’s emotional pain and suffering, and sometimes even punitive damages.
When a loved one dies due to the fault of another, the law provides that the legally designated survivors may recover damages for the pre-death suffering of the decedent and additional damages for his or her wrongful death to include loss of love, affection, society, consortium, and other damages. The Thomas J. Rob team of skilled and compassionate Virginia lawyers is ready to assist and guide you through the complex maze of issues that arise under any wrongful death scenario.
Monetary damages cannot bring a loved one back, but they can provide a means for a family to continue to live in the fashion to which it was accustomed, and they can assure a college education for the children, they can provide medical and other necessities and comforts of life to help face an uncertain emotional future.
In Virginia, wrongful death actions must be brought within two years of death. Under state law, whenever a person dies because of the wrongful act of another, a suit may be brought to recover damages for the benefit of the deceased person’s beneficiaries (usually a surviving spouse or children). Such wrongful death actions arise from many different causes, including auto accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice and dangerous products.
The amount of damages awarded will depend on the plaintiff’s relationship to the deceased, while the compensation for damages may include compensation for the following:
- Reimbursement for all medical expenses incurred as a result of the negligence.
- Reimbursement for the loss of any future income.
- Reimbursement for funeral expenses.
- Reimbursement for property damage, if applicable.
Reimbursement for any future services normally provided to you by the person who has died.
Reimbursement for loss of sorrow,mental anguish, and solace which may include, society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advise.
Many wrongful death cases arise out of negligence, which is characterized by inattention, thoughtlessness, inadvertence and mistakes. The Leesburg wrongful death attorney of The Law Offices of Thomas J. Robl, P.C. are skilled in helping clients prove that the four critical components of negligence exist in their claim:
- The defendant had a duty to the deceased;
- The defendant failed in that duty (breach of duty);
- That the fatality was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty; and
- That the survivors are entitled to damages as a result of the loss of their loved one.
In addition to establishing negligence, the joint life expectancy of the deceased and the survivor or beneficiary may be presented (to establish the loss of future earnings) and the relationship of the survivor and deceased must also be shown. Finally, effective presentation of the non-economic or emotional loss suffered by the survivor is critical to a fair compensation for the loss of a loved one.
Wrongful death cases are always emotional, which is why you should not make any major decisions while you are grieving. Consult an experienced Leesburg and Loudoun County wrongful death lawyer before you enter into any settlement, sign any release or accept any money in exchange for releasing an individual, corporation or insurance company from liability.