McLean Wrongful Death Lawyer

There is very little else in the world worse than learning a family member has suddenly lost their life through an unexpected accident, especially when that accident could have been prevented with proper care from everyone involved. In this unfathomable situation, pursuing civil litigation against the party responsible for your loved one’s death may understandably be far from the front of your mind.

That being said, establishing legal accountability for this kind of incident with a personal injury attorney’s assistance could be key to preserving your family’s financial security and future prospects. A compassionate McLean wrongful death lawyer could explain all your rights and options in a private setting and help you seek whatever legal action you wish to pursue efficiently and effectively.

Legal Rules for Wrongful Death Litigation

While wrongful death cases are technically a subtype of personal injury litigation like car crash claims and medical negligence claims are, they work very differently in practice primarily for practical reasons. First and foremost, since a person who loses their life in an accident cannot bring forward a lawsuit on their own, Code of Virginia §8.01-50 establishes that a cause of civil action may be maintained against a purportedly liable party regardless of whether the prospective plaintiff or the prospective defendant is deceased, so long as a claim would have been possible had both parties survived.

Importantly, state law also sets rules for who within a decedent’s surviving family has legal standing to pursue litigation for wrongful death. According to VA Code §8.01-53, the right to file falls first to the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and/or grandchildren in that order of priority. If none of those individuals survive to pursue a claim, the right to file passes to the decedent’s surviving parent(s), sibling(s), and/or cohabitating dependent relatives.

Finally, if a deceased individual has no surviving family members in the aforementioned categories eligible to pursue wrongful death litigation, any surviving relative entitled to inheritance via state intestacy laws also has standing to file this kind of claim. A McLean wrongful death attorney could explain all these rules in more detail during a confidential consultation.

What Damages Could Surviving Family Member Recover for?

As per VA Code §8.01-52, a civil court ruling in the plaintiff’s favor in a wrongful death claim has the jurisdiction to award whatever damages it deems “fair and just.” However, this statute also lists five specific categories of losses that courts should take into consideration when awarding wrongful death compensation, which are as follows:

  • Mental and emotional anguish, including losses of companionship, solace, comfort, and guidance
  • Reasonable estimates for lost future financial support from the decedent, as well as lost household services and assistance
  • Reasonable funeral expenses
  • Costs of medical treatment incurred by surviving family members on behalf of the decedent prior to their death
  • Punitive damages, in the event that the defendant(s) engaged in “willful or wanton conduct” and/or displayed knowing disregard for human life

Working with a wrongful death lawyer in McLean can be crucial to naming and valuating all recoverable damages within and beyond these categories, as well as demanding maximum compensation for each one of them.

Seek Help from a McLean Wrongful Death Attorney

Any fatal accident leaves unfillable holes in the lives of everyone who knew the deceased individual, especially their close family members. While financial compensation cannot in any way replace the true value of your loved one’s life, it could do a lot to ensure that the financial and personal consequences associated with your loss do not continue to impact your family for years to come.

A dedicated McLean wrongful death lawyer could provide the guidance and support you may need to effectively enforce your right to recovery. Call today to discuss your options.