Wrongful Death Lawyer in Richmond
Nothing can bring back a loved one who has passed away. However, compensation can go a long way in helping a victim’s loved ones cope with their losses. Our Virginia wrongful death attorneys work hard to get much-needed resources into the hands of our clients whose loved ones have been taken from them prematurely.
At Commonwealth Law Group, we understand the difficult times our wrongful death and injury clients face. We know how far a proper award for compensation can go in helping them move forward.
Many have trusted us to help them get justice and you can too. Contact our office for a complimentary case review and information about what you can do for your lost loved one.Get Started
Wrongful Death Liability
A wrongful death occurs when a person dies because of a wrongful act, neglect, or the fault of someone else. It can occur under a number of different circumstances, some of which are more common than others.
Motorists have a duty to drive safely, but statistics show that a significant percentage of drivers engage in negligent behavior behind the wheel. Those who cause fatal crashes contribute to the nearly 1,000 traffic deaths in Virginia each year.
When it comes to the acts of traffic negligence that lead to fatal crashes, the data show them to be the same behaviors that cause traffic accidents in general, including:
- Excessive speeding
- Aggressive driving and road rage
- Engaging in distracting activities while driving
- Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit
At particular risk of fatality are motorcycle riders, bicycle riders, and pedestrians.
Virginia’s murder rate recently hit its highest level since last century. In many of those cases, wrongful death actions are appropriate along with criminal charges. As you might imagine, deaths from firearms make up a large percentage of the number of intentional killings.
Some worksites are dangerous places. Proper safety and care are essential to keep employees and contractors safe. Sadly, the numbers show a worksite fatality rate in Virginia that consistently tops 100 per year. Some of the most dangerous worksites in the state include:
- Construction zones
- Maintenance work
- Natural resources employment
Most deaths in the workplace are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. In some instances, third-party actors can also be sued when they cause death on the job.
Legal Rights Following a Wrongful Death
Like other personal injury claims, most wrongful death lawsuits stem from accidents. In fact, Virginia Code § 8.01-50 says that the definition of a wrongful death lawsuit is one where the incident could have given rise to a personal injury lawsuit had the victim survived. Even though the death was an accident, negligent defendants can still be held liable in civil court for their actions. Richmond wrongful death attorneys can help families understand the legal processes involved in wrongful death cases.
Justice for Your Loved One
The death of a loved one leaves a large void in the lives of family members. If the victim had a spouse and children or other dependents, the repercussions of their death will likely be emotionally and financially devastating.
Family members can get some justice through compensation for victims of wrongful death.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Richmond, Virginia
In Virginia, the only person who may file a wrongful death claim is the personal representative of the deceased individual.
The personal representative is typically appointed by the decedent before they pass away or by the court when no valid will is in place. However, the proceeds of the legal action will go to one or more close family members, depending on the situation.
By law, there’s a tiered list of beneficiaries that dictates the order in which a deceased victim’s family members receive their compensation.
The first family members in line to receive the proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit are the surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren. Parents of the deceased are also within this first tier if they depended on the victim for substantial living expenses and help. After that, non-dependent parents and siblings are next in line.
Wrongful Death Damages in Richmond
Damages in a wrongful death case are meant to compensate survivors for the financial and non-financial devastation they have experienced.
Depending on the circumstances of an individual’s death, there may be significant end-of-life care expenses involved. In most cases, after-death outlays exist and typically include funeral, burial, and transportation costs.
In addition to these financial losses, victims’ loved ones also suffer emotional and mental devastation. Virginia law allows them to seek compensation for these losses as well, including sorrow, mental anguish, and loss of the comfort and guidance of the deceased.
In many wrongful death cases, punitive damages may be available. Punitive damages are for the purpose of punishing willful or wanton conduct, such as intentional and reckless homicide. They are also available in drunk driving cases.
How a Wrongful Death Affects a Family
An untimely death affects every family differently. However, the Commonwealth's laws define the damages a plaintiff may claim in a wrongful death lawsuit. Available sources of compensation typically include:
- Direct financial damages that result from the death, such as outstanding medical bills and funeral costs
- Lost earnings from the decedent
- Loss of companionship or guardianship that the deceased would have provided to a spouse, child, parent, or another family member
There is no cap on the compensatory damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death case. According to Va. Code § 8.01-52, juries in these cases may award damages in any amount that they deem to be fair and just. In extreme cases, this can include punitive damages intended to punish especially reckless behavior and to serve as a deterrent to others. A wrongful death lawyer in Richmond could help the family members of the deceased evaluate the monetary value of their losses and demand appropriate payments.
How Our Richmond, Virginia, Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help
Contracting the services of a Virginia wrongful death lawyer from our team can significantly increase compensation won in a wrongful death suit.
When insurance companies handle wrongful death and other personal injury cases, they seek to minimize their compensation payouts to increase their profitability. They often offer families paltry payouts, knowing that those who aren’t represented by an attorney will accept them.
Commonwealth Law Group wrongful death attorneys spend much time evaluating clients’ cases and are meticulous in their damages calculations. They know a lowball offer when they see one and never entertain substandard compensation settlements.
Our attorneys also take the weight of a wrongful death suit off the shoulders of the families we represent so they can grieve and attend to their loved one’s affairs. When we take your case, we take the lead on every aspect of the claim to ensure that family members’ right to compensation is respected and fulfilled.
Some of the essential aspects of a wrongful death claim that we handle include:
- Investigating the case
- Deposing witnesses
- Collecting and managing evidence
- Keeping our clients informed at each step of the process
- Negotiating with insurance companies for a proper settlement
Wrongful death victims deserve to have a team of professionals representing their interests against insurance companies. If you have lost a loved one because of a wrongful death, contact our office for help getting the recompense your family deserves.
Wrongful Death FAQs
Contact a Richmond Wrongful Death Attorney
A wrongful death forces a family to take stock of what they have lost and how they will move forward. In many instances, an unexpected death can impact both their emotional wellbeing and their financial stability. It is unfair that a family's future may be insecure due to medical bills, funeral costs, and lost income.
Fortunately, a lawsuit with support from wrongful death attorneys could help to ease these financial burdens. Whenever another person or company is responsible for the incident that led to your loss, you can hold them accountable. There is no limit to the potential compensation in a wrongful death case, and juries may award punitive damages to grieving families when the defendant's behavior is especially egregious.
A Richmond wrongful death lawyer could take the lead in your case by identifying the proper plaintiff, gathering strong evidence, measuring your losses, pursue at-fault defendants for the compensation needed to set things right. Call our attorneys today to make an appointment.
“Great law group. Everyone was kind and down to earth. Made me feel like I was their only client. Very attentive to me and my case.”Karen Jacobs
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.