Herndon Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a loved one because another person acted in a reckless or careless way can be a uniquely heartbreaking and infuriating experience. In the weeks, months, and even years after this kind of tragedy, you and your family members may go through various financial, emotional, and personal hardships that could substantially interfere with your livelihood and future prospects—and knowing that proper care could have made it all avoidable is frustrating beyond comparison.

Pursuing financial restitution for a wrongful death may understandably feel like an insufficient way to make up for a loss like this, but as a compassionate personal injury attorney could explain, it might also be key to protecting you and other surviving loved ones from further pain down the road. By working with a Herndon wrongful death lawyer, you could enforce your legal right to recovery without placing too much additional stress on yourself, allowing you to focus on grieving and looking out for your family.

When Is It Possible to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Code of Virginia §8.01-50 uses a lot of complicated and confusing legal jargon to establish what is actually a fairly straightforward concept: if someone loses their life due to someone else’s negligence, the cause of action the deceased person would have had against the negligent party “survives” their death. The same principle applies if the negligent party is the one who passes away as a result of their actions—their liability for damages they caused through their negligence would still persist, albeit through their estate rather than through them personally.

Accordingly, possible grounds for a wrongful death case are just as varied as those that could lead to a traditional personal injury claim, so long as they involve someone violating a duty of care and directly causing an accident—in this case, an ultimately fatal one—through that breach of duty. A Herndon wrongful death attorney could answer questions about potential recovery options and offer further clarification during a private meeting.

Special Rules for Wrongful Death Litigation

VA Code §8.01-50(C) establishes that only the “personal representative” of a fatal accident victim’s estate has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in their name. This personal representative is usually someone designated as such in the deceased person’s will, but a court can alternatively assign someone to this role if no such instructions exist.

As per VA Code §8.01-52, recoverable damages through a successful wrongful death claim should include but are not strictly limited to:

  • Mental and emotional anguish caused by loss of companionship, comfort, and/or guidance
  • Loss of future financial support, household service, protection, and/or personal care from the decedent
  • Medical expenses for the decedent’s care prior to their death
  • Funeral and burial/cremation expenses
  • Punitive damages, if the defendant(s) displayed “willful or wanton conduct”

As a wrongful death lawyer in Herndon could affirm, the personal representative may recover for these losses on behalf of qualifying beneficiaries, which—according to VA Code §8.01-53—include the decedent’s spouse and children/grandchildren, their parents or siblings, any dependent cohabitating family members, and any person entitled to inheritance through intestacy laws, in that priority order.

A Herndon Wrongful Death Attorney Could Help

There is no pain quite likely prematurely losing a family member, especially under circumstances that could have been preventable with reasonable care. While no amount of money is enough to replace the value of a life cut short, fair financial recovery through a wrongful death claim could help ensure you and your family do not have to bear the long-term impacts of someone else’s negligence yourselves.

An experienced Herndon wrongful death lawyer could stand by your side throughout any litigation or settlement negotiations you would like to undertake. Call today for a consultation.