Norfolk, VA Wrongful Death Lawyer
In some respects, a wrongful death lawsuit is just what it sounds like: a legal action seeking compensation when someone wrongfully causes the death of another. The reality, however, rarely meets its standard description, and anyone who experiences the sudden death of a family member knows that all too well. While no amount of money can bring back a lost loved one, monetary compensation may ease the burden left on surviving family members and dependents who relied on them for support, guidance, and companionship.
It can be extremely difficult to think of legal matters during a time of grief, but you may find talking with a compassionate Norfolk wrongful death lawyer to be helpful in laying the groundwork for a wrongful death claim. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can work with you to determine whether another person should be held liable for your loved one’s death, and if so, the compensation to demand from them to help your family move forward.
The Provisions of Virginia’s Wrongful Death Statute
Virginia Code §8.01-50 is Virginia’s Death by Wrongful Act statute, which provides a right to bring forth a lawsuit when a loved one suffers death because of negligence and carelessness of another person, corporation or other entity. While the law that applies to wrongful death and personal injury cases is similar in many regards, payment for the loss and harms suffered differs. In a personal injury case where the injured survives, that person receives compensation for his or her own pain, suffering, wage loss, and medical bills. In a wrongful death case, however, the injured person has passed and can no longer receive payment for that happened. Therefore, compensation goes to the surviving family members eligible to receive payment for their sorrow and loss of companionship and financial support they received from their lost loved one. A wrongful death action must be brought in the name of the personal representative of the deceased within a certain period of time—which is Virginia is typically within two years of the date of death.
Potential Recoverable Damages
Va. Code §8.01-52 of Virginia’s Death by Wrongful Act statute sets forth damages that can be recovered in the event of wrongful death. That statute also specifies that a judge or jury has the discretion to award damages in a manner they believe to be “fair and just.”
Injuries and losses a Norfolk wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation for include:
- Mental anguish and sorrow
- Loss of companionship and guidance
- Loss of income from the deceased
- Loss of services and protection provided by the deceased
- Medical expenses up to the time of the death
- Funeral expenses
At its discretion, the court may also levy punitive damages against the defendant intended to punish intentional or egregiously reckless conduct and to dissuade others from undertaking similar conduct in the future. In Norfolk, punitive damages may be awarded in cases where the actions of a drunk driver has an aggravated blood alcohol content at the time their conduct causes a loved one’s fatal injuries.
Parties Eligible to Receive Compensation
If a wrongful death case is pursued in Virginia under its Death by Wrongful Act statutes, Virginia Code §8.01-53 describes which family members are eligible to receive compensation for the loss of a loved one. It is a lengthy statute, which considers many different family situations.
Beneficiaries are usually the surviving spouse and children, or grandchildren if a child is deceased. If there are no surviving relatives that fit these categories, compensation may then go to the deceased person’s parents and siblings. Compensation may be distributed differently depending on other circumstances, so it can be helpful to discuss the situation with an experienced Norfolk wrongful death lawyer. For example, there are also circumstances in which a relative of the same household who was financially dependent upon the deceased may be eligible to also receive compensation.
Work with a Norfolk Wrongful Death Attorney
It can be a heartbreaking and challenging endeavor to determine whether bringing a wrongful death lawsuit is the right action for your family. However, it is generally a good idea to at least explore your options and investigate your circumstances with a Norfolk wrongful death lawyer’s help. That way, if you do decide to bring a suit, the evidence is prepared and the parties involved understand how the case will generally proceed.
If you believe the negligence or wrongful act of another person or entity may have caused the untimely death of a family member, consulting with a compassionate injury attorney may provide significant peace of mind. When you are ready to get started on your case, reach out to Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers and schedule a legal consultation.