Establishing Liability in Norfolk, VA Wrongful Death Cases
Establishing liability is a critical part of Norfolk wrongful death cases. However, without the decedent there to tell their side of the story, it is also one of the most difficult parts of wrongful death cases.
This makes working with an experienced wrongful death attorney crucial to the success of your claim. The attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers help bring wrongful death claims regularly. We know the strategies that work in establishing liability and can use that knowledge to give your claim the greatest chance of success.
The Process of Establishing Liability
When initiating a wrongful death action in Norfolk, the first step is to appoint someone as the personal representative of the lawsuit. Once a personal representative is appointed, they can file the lawsuit on behalf of all the statutory beneficiaries.
To establish liability, an attorney needs to prove several elements. According to Virginia Code § 8.01-50, wrongful death is defined as caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another party. This means that an attorney must prove that someone did something wrong that resulted in a fatality for them to be found liable.
For example, if someone drove through a red light and hit someone in an intersection, they would generally be considered at fault. However, the attorney still must have evidence to prove that the at-fault driver was driving through a red light and that they hit the decedent. They then must prove that the decedent died because of this accident.
After an attorney establishes liability, they then can work to establish damages. Damages in a Virginia wrongful death would include reasonable funeral expenses, any medical treatment, ambulance expenses prior to death, any type of loss of income, and any sorrow, mental anguish, or loss of solace suffered by all the statutory beneficiaries as well as any reasonably expected loss of services, protection and care that the victim provided to the beneficiaries.
Settling a Wrongful Death Claim
The process of establishing liability can take place in civil court or in private negotiation. Often in a wrongful death action, before filing a lawsuit, an attorney will talk to the people responsible and see whether they can settle the matter. However, these cases often do not settle and instead the attorney will then have to move forward with the lawsuit.
After a lawsuit is filed, the parties would participate in mediation, which is often referred to as private negotiation. If they cannot reach a resolution in mediation, the case must then go to trial. Wrongful death actions generally require more time and effort than other injury matters because of the difficulty in establishing both liability and damages.
Discuss Establishing Liability in Norfolk Wrongful Death Cases
The most important thing clients can do with their wrongful death attorney during Norfolk wrongful death action cases is to gather all the information that would be appropriate. The more information the personal representative can gather, the easier it may be to establish liability. To learn more about the process of establishing liability in Norfolk wrongful death cases, reach out to Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers. Our compassionate attorneys can help you build a strong claim to hold those responsible for your loved one’s death accountable. Call today to discuss your case.