After the unexpected loss of a loved one, costly bills related to the death can worsen an already devastating situation. If the fatal accident was preventable and caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, you may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim to recover damages.
At Geoff McDonald & Associates, we have decades of experience working with grieving family members after fatal accidents and have successfully recovered more than $400 million in compensation for our clients. This includes a recovery of $4.7 million for a family who lost a loved one in a workplace accident. Our firm’s CEO, President and Attorney, Geoff McDonald, is an active member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and a member of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100.
Call to schedule a free consultation with a Richmond wrongful death lawyer to see if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. There are no upfront fees involved. If you do not get paid, we do not get paid.
We are available 24/7 online or over the phone. 866-369-9051.
How Virginia Defines a Wrongful Death
Virginia defines a wrongful death as one caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default. A wrongful death claim may be brought to court if a loved one’s death was the result of another person’s illegal or negligent actions or if the deceased person would have been able to file a person injury claim had he or she lived.
Several incidents that may result in a wrongful death include:
Need legal help? Contact our firm to review your claim today.
Those Eligible to File Wrongful Death Claims
Only surviving family members and dependents of the deceased, known as beneficiaries, are eligible to file a wrongful death claim under state law. However, it is the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate who actually files the claim on behalf of the beneficiaries. The law also has a certain order of who can sue, including:
- Spouses and children (including adopted children and stepchildren) or grandchildren
- Parents, siblings or other relatives of the deceased (if there are no surviving spouses or children)
- Other parties who would inherit the estate (if no other family survivors)
Determining who can take legal action can be complicated, but one of the experienced wrongful death attorneys from our firm is prepared to help guide you throughout the legal process.
Wrongful Death Damages Available
Although every case is unique, these are some of the typical damages available from a wrongful death claim in Virginia:
These damages are meant to compensate the family and estate for any financial losses suffered, such as:
- Medical costs related to the deceased’s final injury or illness
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- Value of lost wages and benefits the deceased would have earned if still alive
- Value of goods and services the deceased would have continued to provide
- Loss of an inheritance caused by the unexpected death
These damages include the emotional losses surviving family members and dependents experience, such as:
- Pain and suffering for the sudden loss of their loved one
- Loss of care, comfort, protection, guidance and advice
- Loss of companionship or consortium
Punitive damages are awarded in rare cases and not intended to compensate the deceased person’s estate or surviving family members. Rather, these damages are meant to punish the other party for willful, malicious or reckless conduct and to deter others from doing the same.
Deadline to Take Legal Action
Virginia follows a statute of limitations that places a deadline on the amount of time the family and estate has to take legal action for a wrongful death.
In most instances, claims must be filed within two years from the date of the decedent’s death. If a wrongful death claim is not filed within the two-year time limit, the court will likely dismiss the case and any ability to recover compensation.
It is important to adhere to the state-mandated filing deadline to help protect your legal rights. If you are unsure whether your statute of limitations has passed, one of our wrongful death lawyers can help you determine what deadlines may apply in your situation.
Contact our office today to get started: 866-369-9051.
Length to Settle a Wrongful Death Case
The length it can take to settle a wrongful death case will depend on many factors. While a claim may settle quickly, it could also get drawn out for several months or even years. These factors are typically impacted by the complexity of the case, medical records, death certificates, autopsy reports, police records, eyewitness testimony, as well as the amount of damages calculated.
While no amount of compensation can bring a loved one back, it may help you and your family move forward with your lives. Our wrongful death lawyers are prepared to fight for just and fair compensation for you.
Call a Richmond Wrongful Death Attorney To Get Started
Having an attorney with your best interests in mind can be an important part of the recovery process after the unexpected loss of a loved one caused by negligence.
A Richmond wrongful death lawyer from Geoff McDonald & Associates is ready to review your situation and answer any questions you may have about the claims process in a free legal consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront fees. We do not get paid unless you obtain a recovery.