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Losing a loved one is never easy, and moving forward often presents significant legal challenges that have to be it handled. This does nothing but add to the stress and difficulty that you as a family are going through while you are trying to grieve. If you have lost that loved one due to a preventable accident, and someone else's negligence, your grief can only be compounded.

Going through the stages of grief is not going to be easy, and you need to focus as much attention as you can on you and your family's well-being. But you still have the right to hold the negligent person or companies that caused your loved one's death responsible. You can help get your family the compensation that you deserve for the loss of your loved one.

If you and your family have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence, contact a Prince William County wrongful death attorney today who can help explore your options, and begin working hard to help you fight for justice.

What is a Virginia wrongful death claim?

A wrongful death claim in Virginia is when you seek to hold another person, multiple people, or companies accountable and responsible for negligent actions that directly led to your loved one's death. In order to do that however, you have to prove negligence. Within the scope of a wrongful death claim, you need to make sure that your claim is resting on a foundation of facts. To build that foundation, we have to prove:

  1. The defendant owed your loved one a duty of care

  2. The defendant breached that duty, and acted in a negligent manner, meaning that they failed to do something that they should have, or they in fact did something, but did it wrong. Negligence can be both through action, and inaction (sometimes call an omission)

  3. The defendant's negligence was the proximate cause of your loved one's death.

Each of these foundational steps is known as an element. Generally, these basic principles of a wrongful death action are very similar to the basis needed for all other personal injury actions in Prince William County. In order to make sure you have all of these elements, contact an experienced wrongful death attorney right away.

When to contact a Prince William Wrongful Death Attorney

Contacting a Prince William wrongful death lawyer is extremely important, as soon as possible after your loved one has died. There are deadlines which have to be met, such as the statute of limitations. But more pressing, usually, than the statute of limitations, is the preservation and production of evidence. The longer you wait to speak to a lawyer, the harder that lawyer's job is going to be investigating the case. As soon as your loved one died, the at-fault parties' insurance companies and defense lawyers got to work right away, trying to prove that their clients were blameless. We have to work just as hard to prove that their clients were, in fact, negligent.

A plaintiff in a wrongful death action, even if that plaintiff is the family of the decedent, has the burden of proof. We cannot merely allege that something happened, we have to prove it. We do this through the development of evidence, such as camera footage, witness interviews, and a thorough, in-depth investigation.

The process of filing a wrongful death claim in Virginia

One of the first things that has to be done when investigating and pursuing a wrongful death action is the creation of an estate. An estate allows the attorney to begin investigating, and obtaining documentation that he could not, otherwise. For example, medical records are protected by the federal HIPAA laws, as well as other state statutes. The creation of an estate allows the attorney to get the medical records that will be necessary.

The administrator of the estate, sometimes called the personal representative, will initiate the action on behalf of the beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are set forth under Virginia Code 8.01-53. These beneficiaries include:

  • the decedent's spouse

  • the decedent's children

  • the decedent's grandchildren, parents, siblings,

  • (potentially) other dependents

Sometimes it is easier to name a retired attorney or independent person as the administrator of the estate, rather than a family member. This is sometimes done to side-step any difficulties or animus between family members over how the case is handled. This allows the family to focus more on their grief and recovery, rather than having to deal with some of these specifics, and the other responsibilities of being named an administrator.

The statute of limitations in Prince William County Wrongful Death Claims

Virginia law treats wrongful death claims the same as other personal injury actions, in that there is a two-year statute of limitations to file any lawsuit. However, instead of being calculated from the date of the tort (civil wrong), the statute of limitations in Virginia wrongful death cases, begins to run on the date of the decedent's death.

Bear in mind that you cannot wait until the last minute, or the end of this two-year period, to seek out an experienced Prince William wrongful death lawyer. You need to contact Blaszkow Legal right away because the longer you wait, the harder you make it for us to fight for you and your family's interests.

Common causes of Wrongful Death

Negligence is unfortunately common in Prince William County, all of Virginia, and throughout the United States. Oftentimes, this negligence leads to physical injury, and occasionally death. Here are some of the more common causes that lead to wrongful death claims:

  • Motor vehicle accidents. Car accidents are a leading cause of death among Virginia motorists. A wrongful death claim can help to hold the actual driver accountable

  • Truck accidents. Truck accidents in Virginia cause far more roadway deaths than car accidents, because trucks are so much larger and carrying that much more inertia. Their accidents are usually that much more severe. Additionally, because Trucking is often a multi-company enterprise, there are multiple negligent parties

  • Premises liability incidents, such a slip and falls. Many people do not think that slip and falls can lead to wrongful death claims. That is not the case, because they do. Slipping and falling, in stairs for example, can cause a person to strike the jagged edge of the steps and can sever the spine in multiple places. This can often lead to paralysis, and sometimes death.

  • Other premises liability incidents. There are other kinds of premises liability incidents, such as electrocutions and drownings. These claims can arise from negligence safety measures, and negligent maintenance incidents

Have you lost a loved one due to someone's negligence?

Contact Blaszkow Legal today!

Two businessmen meeting on a park benchUnderstanding Damages in a Virginia Wrongful Death Claim

If a wrongful death claim is asserted, then Virginia law recognizes certain damages that can be claimed. These damages relate to the beneficiaries' loss of their loved one, and include:

  • Emotional losses, such as loss of society and good offices (guidance), advice, companionship, and comfort

  • Monetary loss, such as support through wages earned by the decedent, as well as services, protection, and more

  • Funeral expenses

  • Medical expenses relating to the "last illness," or treatment that attempted to save the decedent

Damages are ultimately determined by a Court, unless settlement is reached beforehand.

Areas we Serve

Blaszkow Legal has experience handling wrongful death cases throughout Prince William County, and all of Northern Virginia. Our clients have come from:

  • Manassas

  • Woodbridge

  • Triangle

  • Bristow

  • Gainesville

  • Dumfries

  • Quantico

  • Nokesville

  • Haymarket

Contact a Prince William County Wrongful Death Lawyer

Attorney Joseph Blaszkow and his team have significant experience in asserting wrongful death claims on behalf of Prince William County families. From truck accidents to pedestrian accidents, we have fought for grieving families to hold negligent people and companies responsible for actions that have had deadly consequences. Don't let at-fault insurance companies brow beat you, or insult your loved ones - Get Justice with Joe and call Blaszkow Legal today: 703-879-5910

Get Justice with Joe!

Call Joseph Blaszkow and his team at Blaszkow Legal, PLLC to help you fight for the compensation you and your family deserve. 703-879-5910

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