Virginia Beach Wrongful Death Attorneys Pursue Justice
Virginia personal injury law firm fights for grieving families
If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, our Virginia Beach wrongful death lawyers are ready to help. At Ernest Law Group, PLC you’ll find compassionate and capable advocates who are determined to help you pursue legal relief by obtaining compensation from the liable parties.
What is a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death action is not a criminal prosecution. It is a civil action against a defendant whose acts or omissions led directly to person’s death. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the decedent’s estate and next of kin and provide a measure of accountability. Plaintiffs need not establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but can obtain damages if they demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant was at fault.
How do you prove wrongful death?
To win a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must prove the necessary elements of the case to establish the defendant’s liability. These elements include:
- Duty of care — To win damages, plaintiff must show that defendant had a duty to act carefully in order to guard against harm to the victim. Drivers have a general duty to operate their vehicles safely to protect others on the road. Healthcare providers are required to maintain professional standards of care and property owners must keep their premises safe for guests.
- Breach of duty — Defendants might violate their legal duty through carelessness or an intentional act. A fatality caused by willful misconduct could expose the defendant to punitive damages.
- Causation — The breach of duty must have directly caused the fatal injury or illness. In some cases, a defendant might claim that even though they were negligent, an intervening event actually caused the death.
If these elements are proven in a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must show what type of economic and noneconomic losses resulted from the fatality.
How does a wrongful death lawsuit work?
Under Virginia law, a person who is entitled to recover wrongful death damages can file suit. Those persons might be the parents, surviving spouse and/or children of the victim. In the event that a son or daughter predeceased the victim, the victim’s grandchildren from that child may also initiate a claim. Plaintiffs have two years from the date of death to file suit.
Types of accidents that can lead to wrongful death
There are numerous ways a wrongful death might happen. The most common fatal injury claims involve:
- Automobile, motorcycle and truck accidents — Virginia recorded 968 motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2020, a 14.3 percent increase over 2020. A head-on collision personal injury, especially at highway speed, is frequently fatal.
- Medical malpractice — Mistakes in diagnosis, surgery and drug prescriptions lead to thousands of untimely deaths.
- Premises accidents — Slip and fall incidents, elevator accidents, and dog attacks on private and public property often give rise to wrongful death actions.
Our Virginia Beach personal injury lawyers have the depth of experience to litigate any type of wrongful death case.
Compensation available from a Virginia Beach wrongful death lawsuit
Virginia law allows a judge or jury to award any damages that are “fair and just” in a wrongful death action. Compensation might include payment for:
- Lost income the deceased would have earned during their lifetime
- Medical expenses the victim incurred prior to their death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost support the deceased provided
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship for a spouse
- Loss of guidance and nurturing for a child
As your legal representatives, our goal is to obtain the highest level of compensation possible given the facts of your case.
Contact a skilled Virginia attorney for a wrongful death case consultation
Ernest Law Group, PLC represents clients throughout the Hampton Roads area in wrongful death cases. Please call 757-289-2499 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Virginia Beach office.