Winning a wrongful death claim depends on several factors. Learn about wrongful death cases and how a Richmond attorney can help you.
If you lost a loved one in an accident that wasn’t their fault, you might have the right to seek compensation in court. A wrongful death claim is possible when you lose your loved one because of someone else’s carelessness or intentional actions. In such cases, it is up to survivors to hold the other person responsible in court.
However, most people don’t know how a Richmond attorney can be handy in a wrongful death lawsuit. This article will explain the essential details you need to know about wrongful death claims and how a Richmond wrongful death attorney can help you.
When Will a Wrongful Death Case be Considered?
A valid claim on the part of the plaintiff is when the victim is not at fault. Therefore, your wrongful death lawyer will need to present clear evidence of negligence that led to the death of your loved one. For example, car accidents and medical malpractice are common causes of wrongful death in Richmond.
A drunk driver can recklessly cause a fatal crash or a physician may prescribe the wrong treatment plan, causing a patient’s death. If there is apparent evidence of negligence, your wrongful death attorney can help you build a solid case.
However, some cases appear simple but are difficult to prove due to the late filing of the wrongful death lawsuit. Due to the Statute of Limitations, it is best to file your suit early.
Understandably, filing a suit after losing your loved one can be difficult. However, a skilled personal injury lawyer will do all they can to ensure that the lawsuit goes smoothly. They will handle the process while you grieve your loss.
How Do Wrongful Death Claims Work?
Wrongful death and personal injury claims are alike because the plaintiff can recover different types of damages. In personal injury claims, the injured party makes a claim and pursues fair compensation. However, in wrongful death cases, it is the victim’s family members who pursue a wrongful death settlement on behalf of the deceased.
Surviving family members like the deceased’s children, spouse, and parents can make a claim to recover maximum compensation. A distant family member cannot make a claim for damages in such cases.
In Virginia, the decedent’s estate representatives have the right to file a wrongful claim. Afterward, they can distribute the compensation to the potential beneficiaries. You can hire an attorney to help you monitor the process or work with the estate representative.
What Can a Richmond Wrongful Death Attorney Do For You?
There are many things that wrongful death attorneys do to ease your mind during this difficult time. This section will explain the benefits of hiring a wrongful death law firm in Richmond, VA.
Thoroughly Investigate Your Loved One’s Death
Facts in a wrongful death case can get murky. Most times, the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff. The negligent parties might give conflicting accounts to shift the blames and avoid responsibility. That’s where a Richmond wrongful death attorney comes in. Your attorney can thoroughly investigate and find relevant evidence to prove the truth about what happened.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report highlighted over 33,244 motor vehicle accidents in 2019. If you lost a family member in a car crash due to someone’s negligent action, your lawyer could review the case for you. It could also result from workplace accidents or the use of defective products.
Your lawyer will review police reports, investigate eyewitnesses, and study evidence from the accident scene. For example, in a car accident, your attorney might find evidence of the driver violating their duty of care or performing other unlawful actions while driving. This information will come in handy during the legal process.
A John Hopkins University report also reveals that 10 percent of all U.S. deaths are due to medical error. Your lawyer will review medical records to discover the truth in such a case. An expert might be necessary to determine if the physician made an inaccurate diagnosis or prescribed the wrong drug. This information will help the wrongful death law firm in Richmond, VA determine if the physician committed medical negligence.
A Richmond Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Explain Your Legal Rights
There are wrongful death laws that you need to know and it is essential to understand what the law allows. As mentioned earlier, a representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. After collecting financial compensation, they can share the money with the eligible relative.
You also need to know the provisions of the Statute of Limitations. If the time frame to filing a suit elapses, you forfeit your right to take legal action. This law stands whether you have a legitimate claim or not. However, there are some times when the Statute of Limitations is extended. A Richmond wrongful death attorney understands the state laws and will tell you all you need to know.
An Attorney Can Help You Pursue Financial Compensation
You can pursue economic and non-economic damages when you file a wrongful death action through the estate representative. In some cases, you can seek punitive damages. The compensation you get helps deal with financial burdens after your loved one dies.
Economic damages are quantifiable losses. This means they’re easy to calculate in monetary form. They include but are not limited to the following:
- Medical Expenses: This covers the medical costs for medication, medical care, surgery, medical equipment, etc.
- Funeral and Burial Cost: This covers funeral costs and other expenses incurred while burying the victim.
- Loss of Income: This covers income the victim would have earned had they lived and future earnings.
You can also seek non-economic damages. Calculating it is a complex process as it has no fixed dollar value. Some of the non-economic damages you can pursue from the party responsible include:
- Pain and Suffering: This covers the pain your loved one experienced before their death.
- Loss of Consortium: This covers the loss of companionship, love, and affection the surviving spouse received from their dead spouse.
- Emotional Distress: This covers the emotional anguish survivors felt during the healing process.
Punitive damages are exemplary damages. It punishes the responsible party for their actions that led to the unexpected death of another person. It comes in monetary compensation and serves as a warning to others. An experienced attorney will look at the facts to ensure a fair settlement that will make up for the difficult ordeal.
Sometimes, the attorney might negotiate an out-of-court settlement with the insurance company. Most people who make a civil claim resolve it with a settlement. However, the parties might not agree. In such cases, the civil lawsuit goes to trial, and the jury verdict settles the case.
How Comparative Negligence Affects Wrongful Death Claims
You must understand comparative negligence and its effect on your total compensation. The at-fault party might take a comparative negligence defense, alleging that the decedent’s death isn’t their fault. If this evidence is proven true, it will significantly reduce the amount of damage the survivor may receive.
The court reduces the compensation based on the percentage of the liability. If the decedent’s liability is more than 50%, the court might not award any compensation to the plaintiff.
Get Excellent Representation From Richmond Wrongful Death Attorneys Today!
We understand the emotional anguish of losing a loved one unexpectedly. It is usually a difficult ordeal to go through, and the process of pursuing a legal claim can be confusing. However, pursuing a financial settlement for the loss of a loved one can help you find justice and get closure. A wrongful death attorney can efficiently prove negligence and ensure you get maximum compensation to cover funeral expenses and many more.
Our wrongful death attorneys have ample experience proving negligence and handling cases like this. We’ll focus on gathering convincing evidence to prove your claim and hold the at-fault party accountable. Our personal injury attorneys in Richmond possess the knowledge necessary to get you a favorable and accurate verdict. Find out how Richmond wrongful death lawyers can help you by scheduling a free initial consultation today.