Fairfax Wrongful Death Actions: FAQs

It is always difficult dealing with the loss of a loved one. Wrongful death cases can be confusing and leave your frustrated in a time where all you want is answers. A Fairfax wrongful death lawyer can help you through your heartache and assist you in getting the answers that you’re entitled to. The following are common questions that many people ask while searching for answers to their wrongful death case.

What is the Statute of Limitations in a Fairfax County Wrongful Death Action?

The statute of limitations is governed by the wrongful death statute. In the Code of Virginia it is typically two years from the date of loss. There are limited exceptions that may extend that Statute of Limitations, but typically it is two years.

How do Wrongful Death Procedures in Fairfax Differ from Other States?

In Fairfax, wrongful death actions are handled strictly by the Virginia Wrongful Death Act, Virginia Code Section 8.01 – 52. This may vary significantly from how wrongful death actions are handled in the District of Columbia or Maryland or other states. There is not a large difference in how these actions are handled in Fairfax County versus other neighboring counties within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

How is the Absence of a Will or Trust Handled?

Typically how to deal with the estate of the deceased is not an issue for someone’s Fairfax wrongful death attorney. That would be dealt with by a trusts and estates attorney.

How are Fairfax Wrongful Death Cases Usually Settled?

A case can be settled in or out of court in Fairfax County. Whether or not a case is settled out of court or proceeds to a trial before a judge or a jury depends solely on the merits and specifics of each case. While the percentage of civil cases which result in a trial verdict versus civil cases filed is quite low, it is not uncommon for a wrongful death case to go to trial. Of course the outcome depends on the issues presented and the merits of the case.

What are the Costs and Benefits of Trial by Judge and Trial by Jury?

That varies on a case-by-case basis. Some cases may have stronger legal defenses and may even go to trial. Some legal defenses such as contributory negligence may be presented in a Fairfax wrongful death case that may lead the case to trial. Other cases may have coverage issues regarding who is responsible and to what extent they are responsible. These are just some of the issues which may cause the case to go to trial.

The benefit of settlement is that the beneficiary can have some control over the outcome of the case. Typically a settlement would result in a positive outcome, so that is a known factor. Trial is the unknown. There is potential for a very good but unknown outcome, and that potentially can also be better than a settlement. Also, the outcome may result in a defense verdict by which the beneficiaries receive no compensation.