If your loved one was killed because of someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing, you may want to consult with a Charlottesville, Virginia wrongful death lawyer from MartinWren, P.C. We may help you bring a lawsuit against the person who caused your family member’s death. Our lawyers are willing to trial and fight hard to protect their clients’ rights.
What Is “Wrongful Death”?
Wrongful death refers to an incident where a person’s death is caused by another person’s negligence or wrongdoing. This can happen from a number of circumstances, such as a car accident, medical malpractice, or criminal behavior. The victim’s surviving family members then have the right to bring a lawsuit against the defendant with the assistance of a wrongful death lawyer in Charlottesville VA.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
In order to win a wrongful death lawsuit, your Charlottesville VA wrongful death lawyer must prove the following elements existed:
- Duty of Care: The person who caused your family member’s death must have owed him or her a duty of care. For example, if your loved one was killed in a car accident, the liable party had a responsibility to drive safely and obey the rules of the road.
- Breach of Duty of Care: In a wrongful death case, you also have to prove that the defendant breached the duty of care he or she owed to your deceased family member. Failing to drive carefully may be a breach of duty of care.
- Causation: The last part in proving a wrongful death claim is showing that the breach of duty of care was a direct cause of death. If the defendant was speeding and this directly caused a fatal accident, this may justify a wrongful death case. If the accident wasn’t directly caused by the other driver’s speed, the driver likely wouldn’t be held liable.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Charlottesville Wrongful Death Lawyer?
If you plan to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, it may be in your best interest to hire legal representation. Here are a couple of benefits of hiring a Charlottesville VA wrongful death lawyer:
- Handle Communication With Insurance Company: After you file a wrongful death claim, an insurance adjuster may want to talk to you about your case. Unfortunately, some insurance adjusters are known for offering low settlement amounts to save money for their company. A lawyer may advocate for you in this circumstance.
- Meet Deadlines: There are a few deadlines in wrongful death lawsuits and it is very important to meet them. A Charlottesville VA wrongful death lawyer may help you meet these deadlines so that you do not miss out on obtaining compensation.
No amount of money can possibly make up for the loss of a human life — at MartinWren, P.C., we understand this. We also know, however, that a wrongful death civil suit may help families cope with the loss of a loved one and gain peace of mind.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
An inevitable part of life is that we will lose family members and other loved ones due to illness, old age, or in an accidental death. But when that death is caused by the negligence of another party, the loss can feel even more devastating. Added to a family’s grief is the unexpected financial burdens they suddenly are dealing with, especially if the victim was the primary source of income for the family. There are often medical expenses that were incurred trying to save the victim’s life and funeral and burial expenses, which can run into the thousands of dollars.
When a victim dies because of another person’s actions, their survivors can sue that party for financial damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. The following is a brief overview of how these legal actions work. For more detailed information, contact MartinWren, P.C. to meet with a Charlottesville VA wrongful death lawyer.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?
As a Charlottesville VA wrongful death lawyer can explain, a wrongful death occurs when the death of a victim occurs because of the actions or behavior of another party. If the action of that party had not followed through with the action, then the victim would not have died. There are many causes of wrongful death, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability
- Workplace accidents
The family of the victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit to not only pursue damages for the economic losses the victim’s death has caused, but also for noneconomic damages. The emotional losses a victim’s death leaves on his or her family are also overwhelming. A spouse who no longer has a partner to parent and share life with. Children who no longer have the love, guidance, and support of their parent. These are some of the losses that survivors can pursue in a wrongful death lawsuit. A Charlottesville VA wrongful death lawyer can determine what losses apply in your situation.
Each state has its own laws regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In most states, spouses and children can file. If the victim was not married or had no children, then their parents, siblings, and grandparents (in that order) can file.
Some states require a wrongful death lawsuit be filed only by a personal representative or executor of the victim’s estate. This is the person who is in charge of any debts the victim had and distributing the victim’s assets to the beneficiaries of the estate. In many cases, the victim has chosen their spouse or adult child to be their representative. If the victim did not have anyone named as a representative, the court will appoint one.
No matter who it is that is filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the action must be taken within a certain period of time, legally referred to as the statute of limitations. Each state has its own laws regarding what this time limit is, typically two to three years from the date of the victim’s death. Failure to file on time eliminates the opportunity to ever pursue a wrongful death case against the party responsible for the victim’s death. A Charlottesville VA wrongful death lawyer will be able to determine what the date is in your case.
For more information about wrongful death lawsuits, or to schedule a free consultation with a Charlottesville VA wrongful death lawyer, contact MartinWren, P.C.