Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer Richmond
There is nothing more heartbreaking or emotionally devastating than losing a family member in a preventable accident. If your family is going through this horrific tragedy, the last thing you want to think about is a complex legal issue. There is no way around it—the legal process is confusing, slow, and often frustrating. Still, legal action may be necessary to seek the financial compensation your family needs. At Emroch & Kilduff, our Richmond wrongful death attorneys handle all aspects of these types of cases. We will take care of all the legal issues involved in your claim while you focus on caring for your family and yourself.
We Handle All Types of Wrongful Death Cases
At Emroch & Kilduff, our attorneys have extensive experience handling wrongful death claims and bringing wrongful death lawsuits in Virginia. A non–exhaustive list of the types of wrongful death cases that we have handled includes:
- Auto accidents
- Drunk driving crashes
- Pedestrian collisions and bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Airplane crashes
- Gun-related accidents
- The Virginia Wrongful Death Statute
In Virginia, all wrongful death lawsuits must be brought under Section 8.01-50 of the Code of Virginia. This is Virginia’s wrongful death statute, and it will have extremely important implications for your Richmond wrongful death claim. Below, our team discusses some of the most important things you need to know about these types of cases.
How Long Do You Have to Take Legal Action?
Virginia’s wrongful death law creates a two-year statute of limitations for all wrongful death claims. In other words, you have exactly two years from the date of your loved one’s death to initiate your legal claim. If you fail to take action within that time frame, then you will lose out on your wrongful death claim rights. Please do not let that happen to you. You should get your case into the hands of a compassionate Richmond wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
Additionally, beyond the state’s statute of limitations, it is critically important that you get an attorney involved quickly, as doing so will substantially improve your chances of success in the legal process. The simple fact is that all successful legal claims must be based on strong supporting evidence. In some cases, relevant evidence begins to disappear very shortly after an accident. By getting legal help earlier, you can be sure that your attorney is taking proactive steps to gather and preserve key evidence and information.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Virginia?
Unfortunately, under Virginia law, not everyone is entitled to take legal action on behalf of their deceased loved one. Indeed, only statutory beneficiaries may file a wrongful death suit under Virginia’s legal code. In the state, statutory beneficiaries are primarily defined as:
- The surviving spouse of the departed, or
- Their children.
These parties, if they exist, have the first right to seek legal action to bring a Virginia wrongful death claim. Notably, legal stepchildren and adopted children have the same rights under the law. Of course, not everyone currently has a surviving spouse or surviving children. If such parties do not exist or if they are unwilling to take legal action, then other family members may step in and bring the case. More specifically, these family members include:
- The parents of the deceased,
- Their siblings, and
- Any other relative who was financially dependent on the deceased and living in the deceased’s household.
If there are no qualifying family members to bring a wrongful death claim, then the estate of the victim can be the party that initiates the lawsuit.
How Do You Prove Fault in a Wrongful Death Case?
From a legal perspective, wrongful death claims are similar to other personal injury claims in that the defendant can be held liable for an accident only if it can be proved that he or she was at fault. Under Virginia law, fault is based on the negligence standard. Negligence is defined as the failure to use ordinary care. Of course, that is a broad, vague definition that can be very difficult to apply to real-world circumstances.
Your Richmond wrongful death lawyer will need to conduct an in-depth review of your claim to assess the defendant’s negligence and to determine what evidence will need to be presented to prove the issue in court. It is worth mentioning that Virginia is one of the nation’s few remaining pure contributory negligence jurisdictions. This means that if a victim was found partially at fault for his or her own accident, then his or her beneficiaries may be prevented from recovering compensation. The bottom line: Wrongful death cases are extremely complicated, so it is imperative that you get legal help.
What Is the Value of My Virginia Wrongful Death Claims?
- Any direct financial losses, including funeral and burial expenses;
- Any other incidental economic losses;
- The loss of benefits, including health insurance; and
- The loss of love, companionship, and consortium.
Contact Our Office Today
If you have experienced the heartbreak of losing a loved one in an accident, you need to be able to focus on yourself, your friends, and your family. Let the compassionate Richmond wrongful death attorneys at Emroch & Kilduff focus on the legal issues involved with bringing your claim. We will fight aggressively to protect your legal rights and financial interests. For immediate assistance, please call us in Richmond today at (804) 358-1568 to set up a free review of your claim.