Common Questions About Personal Injury, Family Law, and Criminal Defense in Virginia
Do you have questions about how Virginia laws apply to your situation or what you can do to reach your legal goals after an accident, arrest, or divorce? Our experienced attorneys in Fairfax answer some of the most frequently asked questions from clients here. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, or if you need more information about your rights, reach out to us today at 877-652-1553.
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Do I need a Virginia lawyer for my loved one’s wrongful death case?
Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one can be incredibly difficult, especially if their life was taken by another person’s negligence. You may feel heartbroken while still being expected to meet unforeseen responsibilities and expenses. Instead of focusing on your family, you might be forced to deal with funeral fees and burial costs.
While no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a relative, a wrongful death claim could help ease your family’s financial burden.
Deciding If a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Is Right for You
If you have recently lost a loved one due to the negligence of someone else, you may be reluctant to file a wrongful death lawsuit, even if you are in desperate need of financial relief. However, a wrongful death lawsuit is about much more than money.
Reasons to File a Wrongful Death Claim
- Hold a wrongdoer accountable for this misconduct. Wrongful death cases do not always lead to criminal convictions. By filing a lawsuit, you could hold a negligent individual, business, or other entity accountable in civil court, establishing that their misconduct caused an unimaginable tragedy.
- Prevent similar tragedies. A wrongful death settlement might help make your community a better, safer place. Your attorney could help you negotiate a policy-oriented agreement, asking that a business, police department, or city change its operating procedures to prevent further deaths.
- Ease your family’s financial suffering. People often hesitate to file wrongful death lawsuits because they fear any legal action will be interpreted as a crass money-grab. However, you should not have to pay for a funeral, a casket, and other burial-related costs because of someone else’s negligence.
The Benefits of Working With a Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney
Virginia law strives to provide everyone with equal access to its civil courts. You do not need a lawyer to initiate an insurance claim, file a wrongful death lawsuit, or appeal a judgment.
However, representing yourself has many risks. You might already be overwhelmed with grief and unable to give your case the attention it deserves. Even if you believe you have the time and energy to pursue a claim, you could be stonewalled by an uncooperative insurance company more intent on preserving its profit margins than compensating for a client’s misconduct.
How an Attorney Can Help
- By protecting your family’s rights. Wrongful death cases can be very complex, with insurance negotiations and award judgments all subject to local, state, and federal laws. If you are not intimately acquainted with Virginia’s legal expectations for claims, your case could be dismissed on a technicality, preventing you from pursuing justice for your loved one.
- By speaking to insurers. If you file a wrongful death claim, you may be forced to contend with a business or city’s insurer. Insurance companies aren’t interested in making things right and want to save their shareholders money. Instead of negotiating with you, an insurer might simply make you a low-ball offer, hoping you’ll accept it quickly. A Virginia wrongful death attorney could protect your family’s rights by standing up to the insurance company and forcing them to take your claim seriously.
- By assessing your damages. You may be entitled to damages beyond funeral fees and burial expenses, including lost income, loss of companionship, and emotional pain and suffering. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi regularly work with experts who could help investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death and assess the broader value of your claim.
- By giving you peace of mind. Hiring a Virginia wrongful death lawyer spares you the emotional and financial burden of speaking to insurance adjusters, responding to paperwork requests, and going to court.
Contact Us Today
If you want to file a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit, Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC could help you and your family get the compensation you need and the justice you deserve. Please send us a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.
Can I trust a VA insurance company after the wrongful death of my family member?
The loss of a loved one is always traumatic, especially if they died due to another person’s negligence. While you’re dealing with overwhelming grief, your family might be left with expensive medical bills and funeral costs. Under normal circumstances, you might expect the at-fault driver’s car insurance company to reimburse your financial losses. However, securing a fair settlement can be challenging even if you believe you have an open-and-shut case.
How Adjusters Try to Devalue and Deny Claims
If you lost a loved one in a Virginia car accident, the insurance adjuster might have a lot of genuine sympathy for your situation. But while they may feel sorry that their client’s wrongdoing cost an innocent life, their loyalty is to the insurance company—not you or your family. Insurance companies are most concerned about their bottom line, and they do not turn a profit if they pay every deserving family a fair settlement.
Insurance adjusters are not just investigators—they are trained negotiators who will do everything in their power to devalue or deny your claim, even when you are clearly entitled to compensation.
How Adjusters Try to Deny Claims
- Asking you trick questions when your mind and emotions are clouded by grief
- Asking you to make a recorded statement they will use against you
- Requesting your loved one’s medical history, so they can attribute incurred medical expenses to a pre-existing condition
Since speaking to an insurance adjuster is always risky, you should never agree to provide a recorded statement or sign a medical release form without first speaking to a qualified Virginia wrongful death attorney.
Never Rush to Accept a ‘Fair’ Settlement
If you have a clear-cut case, an adjuster might tell you the insurance company has all the evidence it needs and is willing to offer you a settlement. However, you should never accept an adjuster’s offer without first speaking to a Virginia wrongful death attorney. The other driver’s insurer might pay you enough money to reimburse your loved one’s medical costs or funeral expenses, but they likely will not account for other expenses.
Expenses the Insurance Company Will Ignore
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of companionship
- Long-term therapy
- Other injuries associated with an accident
How a Virginia Attorney Can Help Your Family Get Justice
People are sometimes reluctant to negotiate better settlements after a wrongful death because they do not want to profit off the loss of a loved one. But a wrongful death claim is about much more than money.
Other Reasons to File a Wrongful Death Claim
- Hold the at-fault motorist accountable for their wrongdoing, regardless of whether they face criminal charges
- Convince a negligent business, such as a semi-truck company, to change their policies, ensuring that nobody else has to suffer a similar loss
- Receive reimbursement for money you never expected to spend on a funeral
- Attain a sense of closure after successfully concluding legal proceedings
If You Lose a Loved One, You Need Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi
Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC believes that nobody should be forced to pay the price for another person’s negligence. Our highly skilled and experienced team of attorneys can help you get the compensation you need to recover after an unexpected and tragic loss. However, you need to act fast. While Virginia law does not cap the damages available in a wrongful death claim, it does have a strict statute of limitations that could prevent you from getting justice if you wait too long to take action. You stand your best chance at recovery by speaking to a lawyer as soon as possible.
You do not have to wait for the insurance company to offer you a fair deal after suffering the loss of a loved one. Send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC a message online, or call us at 1-877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Virginia?
If another person’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, you could be entitled to financial compensation under Virginia state law. While many people are reluctant to file a wrongful death lawsuit, any compensation you obtain could be used to cover your relative’s funeral costs, burial expenses, and unpaid medical bills. However, Virginia has a strict statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. If you wait too long to file, your case could be automatically dismissed by a court, forcing your family to bear both the financial and emotional burden of someone else’s terrible mistake.
The Virginia Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a special law that restricts how long a person or entity can wait to take a specific legal action. Every state has these statutes, and Virginia has them for both civil and criminal cases, including wrongful death claims. In Virginia, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is usually two years from the date of death.
If you wait more than two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the court will likely dismiss your case. Even if a judge is willing to hear it, the negligent party’s attorney will point out that you filed past the statute of limitations, making you ineligible to recover damages.
Exceptions to Virginia’s Statute of Limitations
Virginia courts rarely grant exceptions to the statute of limitations in wrongful death claims. However, you may be able to obtain an extension under exceptional circumstances. A judge could waive or extend the statute of limitations if:
- A family did not discover the death for days, weeks, or months. If so, they will have two years from the date of discovery of death to file a claim.
- A surviving child was under 18 at the time of their parent’s death. Once the surviving child turns 18, they have an additional two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, even if the statute of limitations has already passed.
If a case is highly unusual, a judge might allow for another type of exception. However, the vast majority of claims are subject to Virginia’s two-year statute of limitations.
Making Sure You Don’t Miss the Cutoff
Unless you have an exceptional case, you must file your wrongful death claim within the state’s two-year statute of limitations, and it’s important to file as soon as possible. Waiting too long could still jeopardize your claim. This is because:
- Critical evidence could get lost, go missing, or get destroyed.
- Law enforcement reports might get misplaced.
- Eyewitnesses’ memories may fade.
- A defendant could move out of state or re-title their assets to shield themselves from legal action.
Get the Right Help in Your Wrongful Death Claim
Proving wrongful death can be difficult, even when you have a seemingly open-and-shut claim. The court will still require that you demonstrate, with compelling evidence:
- That you have legal standing to file a wrongful death claim
- Why the at-fault party had a legal duty to protect your loved one
- How the at-fault party’s negligence cost your relative their life
- How the at-fault party’s negligence caused you to suffer or sustain significant financial, emotional, or physical damages that are recoverable in court
While you are collecting evidence to support your claim, you will also be responsible for meeting other court deadlines and filing rules. If the at-fault party has an attorney, they could bury you in paperwork requests or make the process unnecessarily complicated.
When you lose a loved to another person’s negligence, you deserve your best chance at recovery. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC have years of experience fighting for the rights of our Virginia clients. We know what insurance companies, judges, and juries need to award damages for wrongful death. We have helped our clients recover millions of dollars in damages—money they and their families can use to pay off unforeseen costs and build back their lives. Please send us a message online to find out how we could help you.
Can I afford a wrongful death lawyer?
The sudden, unexpected loss of a loved one is always devastating. While you struggle to overcome grief and adapt to life without a valued family member, you may be faced with expensive medical bills and funeral costs. If your loved one was a breadwinner, you may also be staring down a mortgage or childrearing costs you never thought you would have to face alone.
When you lose a loved one to another person’s negligence, you could be eligible to compensation through a wrongful death claim. However, you might not be sure you can afford the services of an experienced Virginia attorney.
Affording a Wrongful Death Attorney
If you believe hiring a lawyer is too expensive, you are not alone. Many people who consider filing wrongful death lawsuits usually want an attorney but are afraid it’ll cost too much.
However, KFFJ Law operates on what’s called a “contingency basis.” When you work with our firm, we will never ask you to pay the costs of representation up front. While you might be asked to help with some incidental legal fees, we will not bill you for our services until you get a fair settlement.
Once you win your case, we take a percentage-based contingency fee from your settlement.
If we can’t get you the settlement you deserve, you pay us nothing.
Possible Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
Filing a wrongful death claim can be a difficult decision. Many people worry that others will see a lawsuit as a way to make money from a loved one’s death. However, the costs of an unexpected death in the family can add up very quickly. Few people budget to lose a spouse, child, sibling, or parent to an accident. You might be responsible for expenses such as:
- Medical costs prior to your loved one’s death
- End-of-life care
- Funeral services
- Burial costs
Often, the costs of losing a loved one go far beyond the expenses of medical care and a funeral. If the deceased person was part of your household, the loss of their income could move you toward financial ruin. A wrongful death lawsuit can help secure damages to repay funeral and burial expenses and replace the deceased person’s income.
How an Attorney Can Help You Get Justice
Unlike some other states, Virginia does not cap damages in wrongful death lawsuits. However, recovering the money you need to begin reassembling your life can be very difficult without legal assistance.
If you lost a loved one in a car accident, for instance, you might think the at-fault motorist’s insurance will cover your losses. However, you may not be able to cover the totality of your damages through an insurance settlement. Even if the insurance carrier is willing to entertain your claim, they may be reluctant to provide fair compensation, hoping some combination of grief and financial stress will make you cave to a bad-faith offer.
A Virginia wrongful death attorney can help you stand up to an unfair insurance company, a reckless motorist, or a negligent business. We will investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death, collecting the evidence needed to prove the other party’s fault. We will also conduct an overview of your financial losses—past, present, and future—to calculate a fair claim for damages.
If the insurance company, individual, or business is not willing to negotiate a fair settlement, we can and will take them to court.
Contact Us Today
When you work with KFFJ Law, we take your loss as our responsibility, and our hardworking staff of legal professionals will do everything in their power to ensure you get the financial recovery you need to begin putting your life back together.
You do not need to let money pose a barrier to justice. Send us a message online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
Can I be reimbursed for the paid time off I used after being injured in a car accident?
Any car accident can be costly, especially if your injuries require that you take time off work to recover. Depending on your employer’s policies, you may have had to use your sick days or vacation time to protect your position while your body was still healing—effectively robbing you of a later vacation and taking away free time you worked hard to earn.
If you were hurt in accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages, including the paid time off (PTO) you had to use during your recovery.
Claiming PTO After an Accident
When you’re hurt in an accident by a negligent driver, you can usually file a personal injury claim to recover damages from the liable party or their insurance company. If you had to use your PTO after an accident, you may wonder if you can get back that time you were likely saving for a more pleasant occasion.
While a Virginia car crash lawyer cannot help you get back your vacation days—only your employer has the power to restore them—we can help you get compensated for the PTO you should have been able to use for your own personal reasons.
You may be eligible for compensation for lost PTO if you used it for:
- Your hospital recovery
- Going to follow-up doctor appointments
- Speaking to an insurance company or adjuster
- Meeting your Virginia car accident attorney
How to Document Your PTO
Your PTO has its own value, often based on how much money you earn. Usually, one day of PTO is worth as much as one day’s labor. So if you make $150 per day, then one day of PTO is worth $150.
However, PTO has additional value: it’s time that most employees spend by themselves or with their families.
Virginia’s courts recognize exhausted PTO as a form of damage and will let you file a claim for recovery—provided you have documentation of your loss.
Most of the time, your employer can help you get the documentation you need. You should ask for a form or statement which:
- Is printed on company letterhead
- Lists your name, title, and salary
- Details how much time you missed or how much PTO you had to use
How an Attorney Can Help
You should never have to bear the financial burden of another person’s negligence. Not only do you deserve compensation for your missing PTO, you should also be compensated for the money you’ve already spent on hospital bills and the money you’ll need for physical rehabilitation and follow-up appointments. A Virginia car crash lawyer will help you evaluate the sum of your damages, which may include:
- Exhausted PTO
- Car repairs
- Medical bills
- Physical rehabilitation
- Continued care
- Crutches, wheelchair ramps, other medical accessories
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
Virginia, unlike other states, does not have a cap on damages in car accident cases. So, your attorney will fight to get you all the financial assistance you need. In certain cases, you may even be able to request punitive damages—a special sort of financial penalty levied on people, entities, or organizations which were exceptionally negligent in causing your accident.
Once you have decided to file a claim for damages, a lawyer will act as your advocate: collecting evidence needed to bolster your case, negotiating with the insurance company, and taking anyone who refuses to be fair to court.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Virginia car accident, send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi a message online today. Your initial consultation with us is free, and we handle our personal injury work on a contingency fee basis. That means, you pay no legal fees unless there is a financial recovery.
When is the right time to contact a car accident attorney?
When you get hurt in an accident that was not your fault, you should never have to pay for damages. However, getting fair compensation can be challenging. If you try to handle the claim on your own, the insurance company may be reluctant to offer you a fair deal; however, an attorney can help maximize your claim, especially if you act fast.
The Right Time to Contact a Car Crash Lawyer
If you are recovering from a car accident and contemplating a personal injury claim, you may not know when or how to contact an experienced Virginia attorney. You might think it is best to negotiate directly with an insurance adjuster or accept a settlement that covers the costs of your immediate medical expenses.
However, lawyers know that insurance companies will rarely offer a fair settlement to people who lack legal representation. Because insurance companies are for-profit businesses, they want to pay as little money as possible to help protect their bottom line. They will do everything they can to decrease the value of your claim.
When you take quick action by calling an attorney, they will help guide you through the claims process by:
- Collecting and preserving important evidence. Even if your case seems open and shut, the insurance company will still demand evidence of your damages, photographs of the crash site, repair estimates, and hospital bills. Lawyers know what evidence to gather for settlement negotiations or for court.
- Speaking to the adjuster on your behalf. Many people do not know that speaking to an insurance adjuster can be very dangerous to their claim. Adjusters will use anything you say against you. If you have an attorney, they will help you avoid mistakes that could end up hurting your claim.
- Advocating on your behalf. Insurance companies do not like it when claimants get legal help because they know lawyers are well aware of their tricks and won’t give in low-ball settlements. When you have an attorney, you have an advantage: someone who knows the insurance industry and is willing to do whatever it takes to get you the compensation you deserve.
Since evidence can disappear and adjusters can be smooth talkers, you should always contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you call quickly enough, an attorney may be able to dispatch investigators to the scene of the accident. In some cases, a legal team can reach a crash site before police or other emergency services. The sooner you reach out, the better your chances are of a fair settlement.
The Importance of Acting Fast
You should never wait too long to file a personal injury claim. The insurance company will be working hard to de-value your case, and you must file within a certain timeframe.
Virginia, like every other state, has a statute of limitation for how long someone has to file an injury claim, civil action, or lawsuit. In Virginia, most people have two years from the date of injury in a car accident to take action.
Once the statute of limitations has passed, not even the best lawyer can help. If your case is not automatically dismissed by the courts, the insurance company will tell the judge that your complaint was filed too late, and it will be immediately dismissed.
Contact Us Today
The law firm of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi has years of experience handling Virginia car accident claims. We know that a crash can be expensive, which is why we never charge you anything up front. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid if you do.
Send us a message online to schedule your free consultation today.
When should I contact a personal injury attorney?
Even when you’re involved in a minor fender bender, the experience can be overwhelming, especially if you were injured or given a major repair bill for your vehicle. You may not be sure if insurance will help you pay for the damages. While you may have already considered taking legal action against the at-fault driver, you might still be unsure if a lawyer’s intervention would really make a difference. You may also wonder whether it is simply too soon to call an attorney, especially if you are waiting for the insurance company to write a check or offer a settlement.
If you were injured in a car accident, obtaining legal representation is essential for making a fair recovery. A Virginia car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.
It’s Never Too Soon to Call an Attorney
If ever you’re involved in an automobile accident, a personal injury attorney should be the first person you call. This is especially true if:
- The crash resulted in significant physical injury or death
- You aren’t sure who was at fault
- The police report is inaccurate
- You aren’t sure about your insurance coverages
- Your insurance company offers an insufficient settlement
- The other motorist’s insurance company will not take responsibility for your medical bills
Your personal injury attorney will immediately initiate an investigation into the accident, its causes, and your potential compensation. If you call immediately after the crash, they may even be able to dispatch a quick-response team to the site. This team will begin collecting evidence, helping to ensure that no one—not the other motorist nor an insurer—can dispute the facts.
Even if your personal injury attorney does not believe you should file a claim, they will still provide critical advice to minimize your liability and expedite your financial recovery.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait Too Long
While it is never too soon to call a personal injury attorney, it can be too late. If you want to file a personal injury claim in Virginia, you are expected to do so within a particular timeframe. This timeframe is called the “statute of limitations.” Every state, and even the federal government, has its own statute of limitations.
In Virginia, the statute of limitations for filing a car crash claim or lawsuit is usually two years from the date of the accident or resultant injury. Although there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations—if, for instance, a victim does not discover an injury until later—the court will not usually offer extensions. This is why it is very important that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
How an Attorney Can Help
A Virginia personal injury attorney can assist you in many ways. They can help:
- Deal with the insurance company. While you may think your insurer is on your side, adjusters and other agents want to save their employer as much money as possible—even if it means paying out less than you deserve. Your attorney will negotiate with the insurer for the best settlement and take them to court, if necessary. Statistically, you are more likely to receive a larger settlement if you retain legal counsel.
- Instruct you on collecting necessary documents. An attorney can explain which medical and other documents to collect and save that could be critical to your case.
- Reduce uncertainty. An attorney can reduce any anxiety and uncertainty you may have about your claim/case and its outcome. Since your attorney will be invested in the results of your case, they will dedicate immense resources to investigating your accident, calculating your damages, and fighting for your maximum compensation.
Your attorney’s end goal is your recovery. That means, your lawyer will do everything possible to ensure you do not have to pay anything out of pocket for an accident that was not your fault.
Contact Us Today
If you were injured in a car accident, it is never too soon to contact a Virginia car crash attorney. Send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi a message online today, and schedule your initial consultation.
How long does it take to get a car accident settlement check?
If you have been injured in a Virginia car accident that was not your fault, you know you shouldn’t be responsible for paying for costly car repairs, medical expenses, and physical rehabilitation. So, you may wonder when you can expect your settlement check from the insurance company. While you may be fortunate to receive a payment check within a matter of months, the other driver’s insurer will be in no hurry to negotiate a settlement. In fact, they may be inclined to delay negotiations as long as possible. To accelerate the receipt of your check and possibly increase your compensation, you need a personal injury attorney working for you.
Reaching a Settlement After Your Accident
After being involved in a Virginia car crash, you should immediately call a personal injury attorney. They will begin collecting evidence related to the accident and working to establish the other driver’s negligence. They will then begin the settlement process which consists of several steps, including:
- Filing a claim. Your attorney will cross-check the negligent driver’s insurance policy and then notify their carrier that you have decided to file a claim.
- Starting an investigation. Once the initial claim has been filed, your attorney will continue the investigation. They may requisition police reports and medical documents, as well as interview eyewitnesses. The investigation will also incorporate evidence of your damages such as medical expenses and lost income.
- Calculating your damages. Your attorney will not begin settlement negotiations until he knows the maximum amount you may recover. Often, this amount is not immediately obvious. While you may have a car repair estimate, a period of time with lost wages, and medical bills, you may require damages for future expenses, too. Your doctor may recommend corrective surgery, tell you take more time off work, or suggest extensive physical rehabilitation.
- Sending a demand letter. After your attorney is confident they’ve collected all the necessary evidence and calculated your damages, they will send a demand letter to the at-fault motorist’s insurance company.
- Initiating negotiations. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will almost certainly offer a lower settlement than what you deserve. Your attorney wants what is best for you, not the insurer, and will negotiate for a higher award.
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate or pay a higher settlement, your attorney may decide the best course of action is to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Often, the biggest obstacle to receiving an expedient settlement is the negotiations stage of a claim. Depending on the circumstances of your claim, you may have a check in-hand as early as three months. However, complicated cases often take longer to settle and could take years to fully resolve.
Claims can take longer to settle if they involve:
- Insufficient evidence
- Wrongful death
- Multiple defendants
- Improper or poorly-calculated claims of damages
- An uncertain medical recovery timeframe
- Catastrophic injuries
But once you, your attorney, and the insurance company agree on a settlement, you will rarely have to wait a month beyond the conclusion of a successful negation to see a check. Sometimes, it may come within a week.
Getting Started With Your Settlement
When you are physically injured, emotionally devastated, and in desperate need of assistance, you cannot afford to wait for the insurance company to take its time addressing your claim. The first step to getting paid is simple: contact a personal injury attorney immediately after your accident. Even if you are certain that the other driver was at fault, insurance companies are businesses that want to protect their profits. They may deny your claim on frivolous grounds, claim you caused the accident, or offer less money than you deserve and an amount that can’t possibly pay for your accident-related medical expenses.
Contact Us Today
The sooner you file a claim and initiate negotiations, the sooner you can get paid and start on the road to recovery. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi can help you get the settlement you deserve. If you or a loved suffered injuries in a Virginia car accident, send us a message online to schedule your initial consultation.
Why should I file a wrongful death claim?
Losing a loved one is never easy. Often, it can be harder to overcome grief when a relative’s life was taken by another person’s negligence. You may have lost a wage-earning spouse or have to pay for a funeral that should have happened years in the future. No matter the circumstances, you may consider filing a wrongful death claim.
While taking another person to court is a profoundly personal decision, an attorney may be able to help you recover monetary losses to ensure your family’s financial stability. In some cases, a wrongful death lawsuit can be a powerful force for change, with the potential to punish negligent parties and force reckless corporations to adopt safer policies.
Reasons to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are many reasons people are motivated to file a wrongful death claim; however, the most common are:
- To recover damages. When someone files a wrongful death lawsuit, they are typically not looking to capitalize on their loss for financial gain. However, the death of a loved one can be financially devastating. Monetary compensation can help provide important financial support and security for the family. This is especially critical if the deceased was the primary wage earner.
- To hold the negligent person accountable. Depending on the circumstances, a person whose negligence takes another person’s life may not face criminal charges. Filing a wrongful death claim can hold the negligent party accountable. Even though the person will not go to jail, they may be made to make monetary restitution to the family.
- To deter future acts of negligence. A wrongful death lawsuit can serve as a powerful agent for change. Critical settlements and/or court verdicts can occur, and word can spread through media coverage. This news can influence the behavior of others who might re-think their own behavior and act more carefully in the future, thus saving lives.
- To get closure. For people who suffer the death of a loved one, a successful wrongful death lawsuit can provide a sense of closure and justice for the one they lost.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Virginia
Not everyone can bring a wrongful death claim in Virginia. Only a “statutory beneficiary” is allowed to file. This means, only those family members or dependents who can recover in a wrongful death claim can lawfully file. Section 8.01-53 of the Virginia Code prioritizes these family members in the following specific order:
- The surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren of the deceased
- The parents, brothers, or sisters of the deceased, or any relative who was primarily dependent on the deceased
- A surviving family member who can inherit the deceased’s estate
There is also has a deadline for when wrongful death claims can be filed. Virginia law requires that wrongful death claims be filed within two years of the deceased person’s death. If a claim is not filed within those two years, the statute of limitations will prohibit the case from being heard by the court.
The Process of Filing a Complaint
If someone has standing to file a wrongful death claim and potentially benefit from its outcome, they and their attorney can bring a complaint before the court.
Before getting started, the family’s attorney will likely conduct an investigation into the fatal accident. Because you’ll need to prove that the at-fault party was negligent or responsible for the death of your loved one, your attorney will gather and evaluate evidence as it relates to your case.
Once the grounds for a case have been firmly established, your attorney will draft the complaint paperwork and determine the appropriate county in which to file the lawsuit. This is typically the county where your loved one lived, and the case must be brought to a court that has jurisdiction over the case.
Your lawyer will then serve formal notice of the complaint to any business or person that will be named as a defendant in the case. After they respond, the case will move forward.
You Don’t Have to Fight Alone
Filing a wrongful death claim does not have to be stressful. While initiating a complaint means filing a lot of paperwork and sending out notices, you do not have to do any of this yourself. An experienced Virginia wrongful death lawyer can help guide you through the process, saving you time, money, and stress. KFFJ Law has years of experience helping Virginians get justice for their loved ones, even when it seems out of reach.
You should contact an attorney if you have lost a loved one in a:
- Car accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Semi-truck accident
- Bus or train accident
- Boating accident
- Drunk driving accident
- Distracted driving accident
- Multiple-car accident
- Catastrophic injury accident
- Fatal injury accident
Contact Us Today
If you have lost a loved one to another person’s negligence, you do not have to go through it alone. KFFJ Law’s team of experienced attorneys knows and understands Virginia personal injury and wrongful death laws. We know what courts and insurers want to see, and we know how to get it. Send us a message online, or call us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Why do I need a car accident lawyer if the crash wasn’t my fault?
If you are injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may not feel you need to hire an attorney. But before you file a personal injury claim on your own and negotiate directly with the liable person’s insurance company, it’s important to understand that insurance companies operate as a business. Their ultimate goal is to pay out as little money as possible for every claim. They do not have your best interests at heart but rather their bottom line, and they’ll use many types of underhanded tactics to make sure they reduce the amount you receive.
It can be tempting for accident victims to accept the very first offer an insurance company makes, but in most cases, this will never be the amount you deserve. Working with an attorney who is experienced with car accident settlements means victims will usually recover more in damages.
What You Can Recover After a Car Accident
If you’re injured by a negligent driver, working with an experienced attorney can help ensure that you receive all the compensation you are entitled to. It’s possible to receive damages for the following:
- Medical expenses for the treatment you’re receiving and care you might need in the future
- Lost wages if you were unable to work during your recovery
- Lost potential income if you suffered a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering for the mental, physical, and psychological pain you experienced
Call Us After a Car Accident
At Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, we work with personal injury clients on a contingency basis, so you can hire us without paying anything up front. We only collect fees when you are awarded damages. Our initial review of your case is completely free, and we are happy to come to the hospital or to your home to meet with you. Protect your rights, and call us today.