Vienna, Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney
Honor the Name of Your Loved One
The death of a loved one is a devastating and life-altering event. This loss is made even worse by the knowledge that their passing was preventable but for another person’s act of negligence. While the life a loved one is irreplaceable, a wrongful death claim can ease the financial burden of this loss and help surviving family members find some closure.
Wrongful death claims are often relentlessly defended by insurance companies who do not want to pay more than a minimal amount if anything at all. To give your family the strength to fight an insurance company without adding stress onto your shoulders, call (703) 291-3263 and connect with Portner & Shure, P.A. in Vienna. Our wrongful death lawyers are here to provide reliable legal representation that remembers your emotions and treats you with respect as your case progresses.
How Wrongful death Cases Work in Virginia
Under the Virginia Wrongful Death Statute, the family members or dependents of a wrongful death victim are permitted to bring a legal claim against the person or entity that caused the victim’s death.
Virginia law defines family members or dependents as surviving:
- Spouse and children or grandchildren of the victim.
- Parents and siblings of the victim, or any relative who shares the victim’s household and is a dependent of the victim.
- Family members entitled to inherit the victim’s estate according to Virginia’s intestacy laws.
The personal representative of the victim’s estate brings forth the lawsuit, which can name any of the above as claimants or plaintiffs. The personal representative is an individual who is appointed by the victim’s will or by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Incidents Often Named in Wrongful Death Claims
Absent an intentional act, almost any act of negligence can result in an individual’s death.
Common events that result in wrongful deaths include:
- Automobile collisions
- Slip and falls
- Medical malpractice
- Dog attacks
- Industrial accidents
- Motorcycle collisions
- Nursing home neglect
Damages That Could Be Available in a Claim
Virginia law allows the family members and dependents of a wrongful death victim to claim a variety of “fair and just” damages.
In many wrongful death claims, damages will include:
- Sorrow, mental anguish, and solace damages that are meant to compensate for the loss of the victim’s companionship, comfort, guidance, and advice.
- Funeral and burial costs up to a cap.
- Expenses for medical care and treatments related to the victim’s fatal injuries.
- Reasonably expected loss of the victim’s assistance, protection, services, and income.
Claiming damages for loss of income is complicated as it requires a degree of speculation. To accurately calculate and claim these damages, expert witness testimony by an economist is usually required. Virginia law also allows a claim for punitive damages, which are meant to punish the negligent party for egregious wrongdoing. To claim punitive damages, the negligent party’s actions must have been willful, wanton, or reckless to the point that it would benefit everyone to punish them and deter similar actions from being carried out by anyone in the future.
Litigation & Defenses You Should Know
To win a wrongful death case, the plaintiffs will need to show that the defendant was responsible or liable for the deceased party’s passing. Proving irrefutable evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is easier said than done, though. Insurance companies have spent years refining their defense strategies.
Your wrongful death claim could be met with a defense that argues:
- Contributory negligence: Argues the victim acted out of negligence that significantly contributed to their death.
- Assumption of risk: Argues the victim knowingly took an action that carried a high risk of death.
Insurance companies frequently raise these defenses, but they do not always back them with ample evidence. Instead, they try to blame the deceased individual and hope no one can provide an accurate testimony as to what happened. Our Vienna wrongful death attorneys are aware of these tactics, know where to find weak points in the arguments, and go on the offensive for our clients.
Make Us Your First & Only Choice for Representation
Fighting an insurance company after losing a loved one is not something anyone wants to do. Take that burden and lift it by allowing us to be there for you. Our Vienna wrongful death lawyers are ready and willing to enter a legal battle in your name and that of your lost loved one.
Dial (703) 291-3263 or contact us online to request a no-cost consultation.
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