Wrongful Death Lawyer Harrisonburg VA
What types of damages can be claimed in a wrongful death settlement?
If a loved one has suffered a fatal injury in an accident, you might be wondering if it’s time to contact a wrongful death lawyer Harrisonburg, VA has to offer. When an individual dies in an accident caused by another party, the survivors often want to know if it’s possible to collect financial damages. While no amount of money could possibly compensate for the loss of human life, a financial settlement may help the survivors pay outstanding bills and begin to recover from their grief.
It may be difficult for surviving family members to consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit, as any experienced wrongful death lawyer Harrisonburg, VA can provide might attest. However, a financial settlement can be incredibly valuable and beneficial during this strained time. There are several types of damages that might be recoverable with the assistance of a local Harrisonburg, VA wrongful death lawyer.
Medical Bills and Funeral Costs
Some surviving families are left with hundreds of thousands of unpaid medical bills after their loved one has passed. For this reason, it may be very important — and very helpful — for families to contact a wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA as soon as they decide to file a wrongful death claim. These types of economic damages are usually fairly straightforward in terms of calculating what would be reasonable compensation.
Lost Wages, Lost Insurance, and Lost Inheritance
Those who were financially dependent on the deceased individual might suffer greatly from the loss of income and other benefits. Even if the survivors are not immediate family members, it might still be possible for individuals to file a wrongful death claim and obtain a settlement if they were financial dependents.
Economic damages that cover financial losses typically account for costs in the past as well as predicted costs in the future. An experienced wrongful death lawyer Harrisonburg, VA trusts can help claimants determine a reasonable estimate of financial losses that would likely occur in the future.
Non-economic losses, in many cases, may account for a large part of a wrongful death settlement. There are many different types of damages pertaining to the emotional loss of a loved one that someone may be able to claim. A spouse might claim damages for pain, grief, and the loss of companionship. If the deceased had a child, the family might claim a loss of guidance, support, and protection on behalf of the child.
Additionally, some wrongful death settlements include damages that are punitive or intended to punish. Wrongful death lawsuits are handled in civil court and the defendant, even when found guilty, is not given a criminal court punishment such as incarceration. Instead, additional money might be added to the settlement as a punitive measure. Some people see this as validation for their suffering; it’s a way of showing that the pain of the survivors is very real and cannot be taken lightly.
The Preponderance of Evidence in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When a person passes away because someone else was reckless, it can wreak emotional devastation on the surviving family. It can be agonizing for the family of the deceased loved one to process the fact that a person they cherish would still be alive if it weren’t for another’s negligence or thoughtlessness. An attorney at MartinWren, P.C. understands the sensitive nature of wrongful death lawsuits and can help the surviving family take legal action against the party responsible. The most important element of wrongful death cases is bringing forward evidence that shows how the defendant had at least partially caused the person’s passing.
Common Wrongful Death Lawsuits
There are a number of ways that a wrongful death accident may unfold. In modern society, risks of some kind can present themselves as we go about our daily life. However, if another person causes such an accident to occur, this may be grounds for a lawsuit to be filed by the surviving family. Some of the most common wrongful death lawsuits include car accidents, medical malpractice, product defects, occupational hazards, criminal actions, supervised activities (field trips, daycare, adult care), and nursing home mistreatment.
Preponderance of Evidence
A wrongful death lawsuit is considered a civil case, in which the burden of proof is much lower. Unlike criminal cases where the plaintiff must show how the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a wrongful death lawsuit can be won based on the preponderance of evidence. In other words, the surviving family has to bring forward evidence that is convincing and likely to be true.
Pursuing Civil Action
Once the surviving family is ready, they can consult with a wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA for information on how to pursue civil action against the offending individual or organization. In general, the steps involved in a wrongful death lawsuit include creating a strategy, investigating claims, talking with experts, gathering witness statements, and performing research. It is possible to resolve the lawsuit through mediation and settlement. But, if an agreement cannot be made then the case moves forward to trial.
Quality Over Quantity
It is more important for the surviving family to gather quality evidence over quantity. The proof brought forward is likely to be scrutinized for credibility by the defense, so it is imperative that surviving family members obtain representation from an experienced wrongful death lawyer Harrisonburg, VA. The reputation and knowledge of the Harrisonburg, VA wrongful death lawyer you hire can make a huge difference in whether you receive the monetary award you deserve in honor of your loved one.
If you are currently grieving over the loss of your loved one due to wrongful death, we encourage you to meet with a wrongful death lawyer Harrisonburg, VA as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that there may be a statute of limitations for how long the surviving family has to file a claim. Contact MartinWren, P.C. right away so we can ensure that the person or organization faces the consequences of their actions.
Consider Calling us to See How We Can Help
When you are considering going forward with a wrongful death claim, you may wish to ask your Harrisonburg, Virginia wrongful death lawyer a few questions before you get started. Naturally, if you have never brought a claim forward, you may want to get more familiar with terms and understand more about what can happen during a claim. How do you know if you have the evidence necessary to file a wrongful death claim? Who can you make the claim against? We are here to walk you through the details of a wrongful death claim and represent you and your loved ones when someone you love has been injured to the point that they have died. Please call our office to schedule your appointment with our wrongful death lawyer Harrisonburg residents trust.
4 Commonly Asked Questions About Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If your loved one was killed due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Filing a wrongful death claim is not easy, but when carelessness causes the death of a loved one, it is often necessary. You deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering, and by choosing to work with a wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA, you are taking a step in the right direction. Of course, you probably still have questions about filing your suit. If you are in the process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the following list of questions and answers may be helpful.
1. Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
If the negligence or carelessness of another party resulted in the death of your loved one, you may be able to file a claim. Situations are not always cut and dry, but if you believe negligence may have played a role in the death of a loved one, you may want to contact a wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA. At Martin Wren, P.C. Attorneys at Law, we can help you determine if you have grounds for such a claim.
2. Should I Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA?
In most cases, the answer to the question is “yes.” You don’t want to pursue your claim alone, especially if you don’t have a strong understanding of the legal system. An attorney can provide you unparalleled advice and support during proceedings, and help you make the right decisions along the way. Here at Martin Wren, P.C. Attorneys at Law, we have extensive experience helping individuals successfully file wrongful death claims and we will strive to help you.
3. Am I Entitled to Compensation?
Depending on the nature of your claim, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering, especially if your loved one was a financial contributor to your household. The court will determine how much your case is worth based on a variety of financial factors. It will also take the character of your loved one into consideration, as well as how much they would have earned in the future. You may even be entitled to “non-economic” damages also.
4. What Are Non-Economic Damages?
Non-economic damages are damages awarded to a plaintiff that cannot be easily calculated. Non-economic damages may be awarded for emotional pain and grief, loss of consortium, and a loss of emotional support. The court may also decide to award damages solely to punish the defendant for their actions.
How do I know if I have a wrongful death claim?
This is one of the first questions many of our clients ask and we want to help clear it up for you. When someone else was acting in a way that was negligent or reckless and they caused your loved one to become so injured that they died from their injuries, this is likely a wrongful death. For example, if someone was negligent and injured your loved one and they had lived and chosen to file a personal injury lawsuit, this is usually when you would be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It is usually in the hands of you or other loved ones to file on behalf of the deceased.
Who makes the decision regarding where damages go?
Typically, you and the next-of-kin may come to an agreement regarding how the damages are divided. However, your wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA knows that if you are unable to come to any kind of agreement, a court can make a decision.
Does each state have its own law on wrongful death or are they all the same?
Like almost any law, you will find that each state will vary on how they deal with wrongful death lawsuits. For example, some states will allow the next-of-kin to recover punitive damages in a wrongful death suit while others will not. It is important to speak with your Harrisonburg, Virginia wrongful death lawyer to discuss the certain laws in Virginia.
If you have any questions about wrongful death lawsuits and would like to pursue one with our wrongful death lawyer Harrisonburg, Virginia has come to rely on, please call our office.
Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Virginia
It’s not easy for surviving family members to think about legal matters after a tragedy, but having a wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA help you get compensation for the loss of a husband, wife, mother, father or another loved one is both fair and important. The more you understand about wrongful death lawsuits, the better prepared you are to make sure your family is cared for. At Martin Wren, P.C. Attorneys at Law, we’re honored to assist you in this way.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when a person dies as the result of someone’s negligent actions or carelessness. The victim would have been able to pursue a personal injury claim but passed away, so it’s up to surviving family members to file a lawsuit with the help of a wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA. Often wrongful death cases involve some type of fatal accident, such as a car accident caused by a drunk driver.
What Are Common Causes of Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death always involves negligence, such as a surgeon who operates while under the effects of alcohol. Sadly, there are many situations that can lead to wrongful death:
- Medical malpractice
- Automobile, truck and motorcycle accidents
- Commercial vehicle accidents
- Violent crimes
- Workplace accidents and hazardous conditions
- Accidents at a place of business
- Defective products
- Construction accidents
It’s important to discuss your case with wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA to know what steps to take.
What Is Needed To Prove Wrongful Death?
Put simply, your wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA needs to gather significant evidence. This can include medical records, police reports, security camera footage and many documents. Wrongful death lawsuits have to prove several things: that the person was grossly negligent, caused your loved one’s death and caused your family financial or other harm.
How Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Work?
At Martin Wren, P.C. Attorneys at Law, the first thing we do is sit down with you to express our condolences and understand the circumstances of your loved one’s death. It’s important for a wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA to have all the facts to build a solid case.
Sometimes, it’s possible to resolve the case with a settlement from the responsible party. Other times, it’s necessary to go to court. Whatever avenue you choose, we handle as much as possible on your behalf, including gathering documents and evidence, negotiating with insurers and representing you in court.
Speak With a Wrongful Death Lawyer Harrisonburg, VA Can Provide
At MartinWren, P.C., our lawyers know just how devastating it can be to lose a loved one in an accident. It can be just as frustrating and disheartening to find out that the entire incident could have been mitigated or prevented entirely.
If you believe that your loved one was the victim of a wrongful death accident, our law firm may be able to help you and your family collect the compensation that you deserve. To set up a free case evaluation with a wrongful death lawyer Harrisonburg, VA residents trust, contact Martin Wren, P.C. today by calling our local office at (434) 326-5466.
Dollars and Sense of Wrongful Death Damages
What Kinds of Wrongful Death Damages Are There?
There are two general categories of wrongful damages: survivor damages and estate damages.
Survivor damages are granted to loved ones of the decedent — the person who died. Some examples of survivor damages include:
- Loss of companionship and protection — the effect of the loss on the survivors
- Loss of support and services — contributions through money, property and household tasks
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of parental companionship — only for children under 25 years old
- Medical or funeral expenses a survivor paid for
Estate damages are property and belongings left to beneficiaries in a will. Some examples of estate damages include:
- Loss of net accumulation — future losses from paid work, investments or other sources of income
- Lost earnings — money the decedent would have earned between the time of injury and the date of death
A wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg VA, from Martin Wren, P.C. Attorneys at Law can help you determine what kind of damages to seek in your wrongful death claim.
Are Wrongful Death Benefits Taxable?
Generally speaking, wrongful death benefits are not taxable. The IRS considers them to be in the personal injury category, where compensatory damages are not taxable. There are a few circumstances where a portion of the damages may be taxable. One such circumstance is if you received punitive damages — damages designed to punish the person who caused your loved one’s death. Punitive damages are taxable. Your Martin Wren, P.C. Attorneys at Law wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg VA, can help you determine the taxability of your damages.
Can Wrongful Death Benefits Be Garnished?
It depends on the state you’re living in. For example, in Virginia, the answer is yes, wrongful death benefits can be garnished for such things as child support, healthcare charges and lawyer fees. Other states may have different laws. If you’re concerned about your wrongful death benefits being garnished, speak with your wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg VA, about the issue.
How Are Wrongful Death Benefits Divided Among Family Members?
Typically, wrongful death benefits are divided using the laws governing intestate succession, i.e. the laws that go into effect if the decedent dies without a will. Intestate laws vary from state to state, dividing the proceeds between the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, siblings or nieces and nephews. Talk to your wrongful death lawyer in Harrisonburg VA, at Martin Wren, P.C. Attorneys at Law to learn more about how benefits may be divided.