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FAIRFAX WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYERS

The Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes wrongful death, when that death is caused by the negligent act(s) of a third party, through action, or inaction. This means that someone did something that they should not have which resulted in someone's death, or otherwise failed to do something a reasonable person would have.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent acts of a third party, then you may be entitled to compensation to help you get justice for the loss that you and your whole family have suffered. Contact an experienced Fairfax Wrongful Death Attorney who will help you and your family to fight for what you deserve, and to hold the negligent parties accountable.

What you need to prove

A wrongful death action needs to be based on a claim for negligence. Negligence includes not only mere mistakes, but also carelessness, or even recklessness. It can also extend to times when a duty is owed, such as the duty of hotel operator to a guest, or a bus company to a passenger.

In order to make this claim, and to prove negligence, we have to build evidence in the case. Anything can be evidence, depending on the facts of an incident. Some common examples of evidence include camera footage, pictures, accident reconstructions, witness testimony, and the like.

Some of the most common wrongful death claims arise out of the following:

Who can recover in a wrongful death action?

Virginia law sets very specific standards of who the eligible beneficiaries are, in the event of a wrongful death claim. In order, they are:

  1. Spouse of the deceased

  2. Children of the deceased

  3. Grandchildren of the decedent, if there are no children or spouse

  4. Parents and then siblings of the deceased

  5. Any other relative who was primarily or mostly dependent upon the deceased for financial and material support

When a wrongful death claim is going to be pursued, and an estate has to be created, but a unique one that is specifically crafted to pursue the claim itself. This is done with the probate court, and that Court will issue a document called a Certificate of Qualification (as Administrator), which authorizes someone to represent the interests of the estate. Usually this is a family member, but other times, it can be another attorney, or responsible adult.

What a Fairfax wrongful death claim consists of

When a wrongful death claim is filed, there are certain elements that make up the totality of the wrongful death claim itself. These damages, called compensatory damages, are for the decedent's lost wages, the family's loss of companionship and good offices, medical bills related to the last injury or illness, and funeral expenses.

Punitive damages can only be awarded under certain circumstances that are recognized under the law. These are usually awarded in drunk driving cases, because the Virginia drunk driving statute expressly authorizes and award a few of the damages if the drunk driver had a blood alcohol content that was twice the legal limit.

How does a court value a wrongful death?

Asking someone how much a person's life is worth, is not an easy question to answer. But Virginia courts do have a framework by which they operate, in an attempt to do exactly that. The courts calculate many different factors that contribute to the total award. They consider
the age of the decedent, life expectancy, potential lost wages and earning capacity, wellness and physical condition, and financial status at the time of death

The Virginia Code has a life table, or listing of the expected ages that a person will reach statistical. Now of course, the courts recognize that this is a bright line test that is not true in every circumstance. However, it is the legislature's template, and it is used by all courts in the commonwealth.

There is a problem with the above computation, when the tragic death of a loved involves a child for an elder. And elderly person is usually retired, so the courts have some difficulty recognizing the financial contributions, or future earning capacity of a person who is no longer a primary wage earner. As for the child, the courts have broad latitude and determining what that child would have done. An experienced wrongful death lawyer will utilize evidence to showcase the decedent's relationship his or her family, through testimony.

If a wrongful death case goes to trial, the determination of the ultimate award rests with the jury.

Contact a dedicated Fairfax Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing your loved one, unexpectedly, in a horrific or tragic accident can never be easy. No amount of money can make up for your loss. However, we can work tirelessly to hold the negligent parties accountable, and get you some semblance of justice. Sometimes, pursuing a wrongful death action can give you some measure of closure in an otherwise incredibly difficult time. Let Blaszkow Legal offer you our support, our guidance, and our expertise. If you have lost a loved one in an accident, call us today for a free consultation - 703-879-5910


Virginia Life Table: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title8.01/chapter14/section8.01-419/

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