Fairfax Wrongful Death Attorneys
Illuminating Your Rights in Wrongful Death Claims
Every year, nearly 170,000 people die as a result of unintentional injuries – the third leading cause of death in the United States. About 36,000 die after falls and over 40,000 succumb to injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents. Other leading causes of death include medical errors, nursing home abuse, and criminal acts. If you include injuries from intentional actions, more than 243,000 people die from injuries each year.
While some of these deaths can be addressed via workers’ compensation claims and some may not warrant civil litigation, many bereaved families choose to file wrongful death lawsuits. No amount of money can bring your loved one back, but the attorneys at Carroll & Nuttall, PLLC can help you secure the resources you need to move forward.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Actions
In general, wrongful death cases are appropriate whenever you lose a loved one to another’s negligence. Wrongful death actions also come into play due to intentional torts and can be filed at the same time as criminal proceedings.
In § 8.01-50 of the Code of Virginia, the Commonwealth states that wrongful death actions are appropriate “Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of any person or corporation, or of any ship or vessel.”
Our Fairfax wrongful death attorneys can help you determine whether or not you have a case.
Who Can File for Wrongful Death?
In Virginia, wrongful death claims must be filed by one or more “statutory beneficiaries.” Statutory beneficiaries are typically family members or dependents of the deceased and include surviving:
- Dependent relatives who shared the deceased person’s household
Any surviving family member who is entitled to inherit the decedent’s estate via Virginia’s intestacy laws and probate process may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. That being said, surviving spouses, children, and grandchildren always have the first right to file. If there are no surviving children, parents and spouses may file together.
As with any law, there are exceptions and specifications. After a loss, our team at Carroll & Nuttall, PLLC can help you understand your legal rights.
How Long Do I Have to File?
The statute of limitations for wrongful death actions in Virginia is two (2) years. That means you must file a lawsuit within 2 years of your loved one’s death. If you fail to do so, you could lose your right to pursue legal action entirely.
We understand the last thing you want to do after a loss is contact an attorney, but building a successful case can take time, and the sooner you talk to a lawyer, the sooner you can understand your legal rights and make whatever decision is best for you and your family.
When we know about a case sooner rather than later, we are also better equipped to gather medical records, witness statements, and any other evidence we need to strengthen your claim. Don’t wait – contact us today.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Recover?
A successful settlement or verdict can help account for your loss via both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages help you afford costs like funeral and burial expenses and the deceased’s missing wages, including wages they would have earned or services, protection, care, and assistance they would have provided had they survived. On the other hand, non-economic damages compensate you for sorrow, mental anguish, and the loss of the “society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice of the decedent.”
Under § 8.01-52, you can also recover damages for medical expenses related to the illness or injury that lead to your loved one’s death. You may be entitled to punitive damages, as well. Unlike economic and non-economic damages (referred to collectively as compensatory damages), punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer for “willful or wanton conduct, or such recklessness as evinces a conscious disregard for the safety of others.”
At Carroll & Nuttall, PLLC, we will pursue all available damages under Virginia law.
Get Started Today
Losing a loved one to another’s negligence is a sensitive situation, and you need attorneys who are compassionate and committed. Our team at Carroll & Nuttall, PLLC truly cares about helping each of our clients recover in all ways possible. The lawyer you meet with during your initial consultation will be by your side every step of the way. As local legal professionals and former defense attorneys, we know what it takes to win in Virginia courts.