Norfolk, VA Wrongful Death Cases
Most Norfolk wrongful death cases are caused by vehicle wrecks. However, whenever a death is caused by the negligence of another, it can result in a claim. If you believe your loved one died due to the actions of another, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Our compassionate wrongful death attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers have experience helping people in your position. We can help determine whether a death was wrongful and what your legal options are. If you decide to file a claim, we can guide you through the process and provide robust representation to give you the best chance of an optimal outcome.
What Makes Wrongful Death Cases Unique?
Wrongful death claims in Norfolk are different from other injury cases. The biggest difference is in the damages as a wrongful death claim means the negligent action resulted in death rather than in just a personal injury. This means that, although there is some overlap, the specific damages in a wrongful death claim will be different.
Specifically, the main damages in a Norfolk wrongful death accident are meant to compensate for the loss of the loved one. In other words, the grief, loss of companionship, and loss of love from the decedent are the main damages in the wrongful death case as opposed to the pain and suffering that would make up the main cost of a personal injury claim.
Wrongful death cases in Norfolk are also unique as opposed to other jurisdictions in that the law of wrongful death is a statutory cause of action in Virginia. This means Virginia Code Section 8.01-50 sets forth exactly how the claim is brought forth, who gets the money, and how the courts treat the claim. An attorney can further explain the differences that make Norfolk wrongful death cases unique.
Filing Norfolk Claims
In Norfolk, the statute of limitations in which a party can bring a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of death. If you fail to file a claim within this period, you could lose your rights to compensation.
Another important aspect of wrongful death statute of limitations in Norfolk is the fact that it can only be brought as a wrongful death case by the appropriate personal representative. Generally, this person is named in a will.
What Happens in The Absence of a Will?
Because most people in Norfolk do not have wills, the deceased’s estate is generally handled by an administrator rather than an executor. The administrator is the person the court appoints to serve in the capacity of the decedent. Typically, at the beginning of the case, a lawyer will figure out with family who is the most appropriate person to be the administrator. Then the administrator is given a qualification form which shows that the person is the personal representative and gives them certain rights to pursue the wrongful death action.
Settling a Case
Norfolk wrongful death cases must be settled in court. Even if a settlement is reached with the insurance company of the at-fault party before filing a suit, a petition must be filed with the court for approval of that settlement. If the suit has already been filed, then it is part of a procedure either as part of a jury verdict or as part of a hearing that is scheduled where the court approves the wrongful death case.
In a wrongful death settlement hearing, the Norfolk Circuit court judge will make sure the settlement is fair and that it is properly divided among members of the estate. An attorney can further explain the process of ending a Norfolk wrongful death case.
Speak With Our Attorneys About Norfolk Wrongful Death Cases
When someone you love is killed due to the wrongful actions of another, you have rights. Our dedicated attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers can discuss Norfolk wrongful death cases with you and help you determine your next steps. To get started on your case, call today.