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Alexandria Wrongful Death Lawyer

Alexandria Wrongful Death Lawyers

Compassionate Representation for Your Family

No amount of money can compensate you for the loss of a family member. When a loved one dies due to the wrongful actions of another, the loss is compounded by anger and grief. A wrongful death lawsuit may help you to obtain justice, as well as lighten the economic and mental burdens imposed on your family in the future.

Given the stakes in a wrongful death action, these claims are zealously defended by insurance companies. Insurers often try to avoid paying your family and being held responsible for their negligence.

If you have lost someone due to the negligence of another, contact our compassionate and skilled Alexandria wrongful death lawyers at Portner & Shure, P.A. Our award-winning attorneys have successfully represented countless families in wrongful death actions. Our team navigates this process on your behalf with the utmost respect, thoughtfulness, and skill. We focus on alleviating the stress of a lawsuit, and obtaining the maximum recovery.

Tell us your story. Connect with one of our Alexandria wrongful death lawyers at (410) 995-1515.

Wrongful Death Cases in Alexandria

Although nothing can take away the pain of losing a loved one, a wrongful death case against the negligent party may help ease your family’s burdens. Under Virginia’s Wrongful Death Statute, Virginia Code § 8.01-50, a wrongful death action is permissible when the deceased person would have been entitled to bring a personal injury claim had they lived, but they died as a result of their injuries before filing such an action.

It is critical to note that under Virginia Code § 8.01-244, an action for wrongful death must be commenced by the “personal representative” of the deceased person within two years after the death of the injured person.

Not everyone can bring an action for wrongful death in Virginia, or recover as beneficiaries. Virginia recognizes the following classes of individuals as having the right to recover for the loss of a loved one:

  • A surviving husband or wife;
  • A child of the deceased;
  • The parents of the deceased;
  • The brothers and sisters of the deceased; and
  • A family member that lived in the same household of the deceased that qualifies as a dependent.

The beneficiary will find that any defendant or insurance company will look to close the claim for everyone listed above at the same time. In the immediate aftermath of the loss of a loved one, this can add unneeded and unwanted stress to an already difficult situation.

The Virginia wrongful death statute intends to compensate family members for the loss they have suffered from the death of the victim.

Incidents of Wrongful Death

Tragic wrongful deaths occur in a variety of instances, for example:

  • Car accidents involving negligent drivers: Innocent people are killed when other drivers on the road text, drive drunk, or are otherwise negligent.
  • Construction accidents: Busy construction sites provide ample room for injuries to occur, and the presence of heavy machinery makes these sites extremely dangerous.
  • Medical malpractice deaths: Far too many people are harmed by the very medical providers that should help them when a doctor fails to act in accordance with the appropriate standard of care.
  • Dangerous and defective products: Big Pharma produces defective medical devices, defective medicines, and other defective products without adequately ensuring these products are safe for public consumption.
  • Slip and fall accidents resulting in death: When a property owner fails to adequately monitor their property, injured victims can pay the price by slipping and falling.
  • Dog attack incidents: Dog owners must always control their dogs, even if they are not outwardly aggressive.
  • Motorcycle accidents: Motorcyclists are simply more vulnerable to other drivers on the road, and drivers tend to overlook motorcycles when checking blind spots.
  • Nursing home neglect and nursing home lack of oversight: Elders in nursing homes are extremely vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
  • Boating accidents: Maritime actions are covered in the Virginia wrongful death statute. Maritime law generally applies to wrongful death cases that occurred on the water when the alleged negligence occurred on “navigable waters” and the wrong bears a significant relationship to traditional maritime activity and has a potentially disruptive impact on maritime commerce.

An Alexandria wrongful death lawyer with both federal and Virginia state law experience proves dramatically helpful in wrongful death cases. The award-winning Alexandria attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. understand the nuances of federal and state jurisdiction, and how to best advocate on behalf of your family to obtain the justice your loved one deserves.

Damages Available in Virginia Wrongful Death Cases

The beneficiaries of a wrongful death victim may seek damages that “seem fair and just.”

This includes damages for the following:

  • Compensation for the reasonably expected loss of:
    • Income of the decedent
    • Services, protection, care, and assistance provided by the decedent
  • Sorrow, mental anguish, and solace (society, companionship, comfort, etc.)
  • Expenses for the care, treatment, and hospitalization of the decedent due to the incident
  • Funeral expenses
  • Punitive damages (in limited cases) wherein willful or wanton conduct occurred. Willful or wanton conduct in Virginia is defined as such recklessness as evinces a conscious disregard for the safety of others.

To adequately support a wrongful death case, expert testimony may be necessary. This is because wrongful death cases incorporate a degree of speculation as to the loss of future income. Experts like an economist are typically necessary to determine the amount of lost future income. We are closely familiar with such experts in Alexandria and throughout Virginia.

What You Must Prove in a Wrongful Death Case

Wrongful death cases require that the plaintiff provides proof that the defendant’s negligence caused the victim’s death. This may sound simple, however, it is not.

Aggressive insurance companies put immense resources and time into defeating wrongful death claims. These defense lawyers have spent their careers minimizing wrongful death claims and know the arguments that are most successful.

For example, insurance companies try to defeat wrongful death cases by arguing:

  • The decedent was contributorily negligent. The affirmative defense of contributory negligence argues that the victim’s own negligent actions contributed to their death. For example, the Defense may argue that the decedent failed to look both ways before crossing the street, and this caused the accident.
  • The decedent assumed the risk. In arguing the decedent assumed the risk, the defense contends the victim undertook an action that they knew was dangerous, but did so, and thus should be held responsible for their injuries.

In many wrongful death actions, as with other serious injury cases, the insurance companies look to avoid taking responsibility for the injuries that their clients have caused. In order to preserve the evidence that may be necessary to ultimately prove the case, in many cases, it is insufficient to simply wait for the conclusions of the police.

In addition to gathering and preserving evidence, it may be necessary to obtain experts in the fields of accident reconstruction and highway safety engineering to prove who is at fault in a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or tractor-trailer accident; and in the field of medical malpractice it is a mandatory requirement that an expert medical witness be consulted before any legal action is initiated.

Sometimes insurance companies go so far as to obtain their own accident reconstructionists to buttress their claim and to scare the plaintiff into accepting a settlement. Insurance companies work tirelessly to shift the blame to the decedent. In wrongful death cases, this is particularly unfair because the deceased cannot provide testimony on their own behalf. Insurance companies use the decedent’s death to their advantage.

Our Virginia wrongful death attorneys are familiar with these tactics. These arguments have come up in two recent wrongful death cases in NoVa. Although past results are no guarantee of future success, our skilled Alexandria attorneys were able to overcome these arguments and obtain substantial settlements on behalf of the decedent’s family members, including a recent settlement of $2.15 million. We know how to stand up for our clients and to support them through this difficult time.

Skilled Alexandria Wrongful Death Lawyers Protecting Your Family

Going up against an insurance company, amid this period of loss, is a burden you do not have to face alone. Allow the wrongful death lawyers at Portner & Shure, P.A. to make this time easier. Our Alexandria wrongful death attorneys are award-winning and ready to take on those responsible for the death of your loved one.

Dial (410) 995-1515 or contact us online to request a no-cost consultation.


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