Bergeron Law Firm – Serving all of Northern VA
When a family member dies due to the wrongful behavior of someone else, the complexities of filing a legal claim against those responsible can be overwhelming. A wrongful death case is a lawsuit brought for the benefit of the beneficiaries who have suffered damages as the result of the death of their loved one. Steve Bergeron becomes your advocate by managing and navigating the legal process and giving you the time and space to grieve.
What is wrongful death?
A wrongful death is any fatal accident that was caused by the recklessness, negligence, or misconduct of an individual, group of individuals, organization, or company. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Premises liability
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Nursing home negligence
- Product liability
- Dog attack
Who may file a wrongful death claim?
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, a wrongful death lawsuit is brought in the name of the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. A personal representative, sometimes called an administrator, is appointed by the court and acts on behalf of the estate, for the benefit of the statutory beneficiaries.
Only beneficiaries of the decedent may be awarded damages. Virginia law dictates who can recover damages in a specific order:
- Surviving spouse, children and grandchildren
- Surviving parents and siblings
- Relative who shared the deceased person’s household and is a dependent of the deceased
- Any other surviving family member entitled to inherit under Virginia intestacy law
Virginia wrongful death damages
Wrongful death damages compensate surviving family members for their losses. Though no amount of money is sufficient to compensate for the loss of a family member, damages can help families recover financial security and ongoing emotional pain and suffering. Compensation can be obtained for:
- Sorrow and mental anguish
- Loss of the decedent’s care, companionship, comfort, guidance, and advice
- Loss of the decedent’s lost wages and benefits
- Medical expenses arising from the injury resulting in the death
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
In certain cases, the court may also order that the “wrongdoer” pay punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded for conduct that went beyond negligence or misconduct in showing a conscious disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are meant to punish the negligent party, deter others from such egregious conduct, and make the wrongdoer pay a debt to society with the beneficiaries receiving the proceeds.
Hiring a wrongful death attorney
As with all personal injury lawsuits, your claim must be filed within two years of the date of the fatal accident. Wrongful death cases are extremely complicated and complex. That is why it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney who has knowledge and experience handling wrongful death lawsuits. Steve Bergeron will:
- Investigate the accident and assess the facts of the case
- Collect evidence
- Meet with qualified experts
- File claims on your behalf
- Negotiate a fair settlement
- If necessary, try your case in court
Steve Bergeron will pursue your case with both diligence and compassion. He will educate your family on the law and your rights, and fight for the compensation that you deserve. Call today for a free consultation.