Newport News Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a family member, whether it is due to an automobile accident, workplace injury, dangerous product, or any other cause, is the most difficult situation that any family can experience. This is especially true if the death could have been avoided through the exercise of ordinary care. Too many innocent victims have lost their lives due to the carelessness, recklessness, or negligence of another.  If you live in Newport News and you have lost a loved one under any of these circumstances, an experienced and compassionate Newport News wrongful death lawyer can help you fight to secure compensation for the harms and losses that you have suffered and to move forward as you begin to heal from your personal tragedy.

What is Wrongful Death in Newport News?

Newport News is the fifth most populous city in Virginia with around 183,412 residents, according to 2013 estimates. It’s part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan region and sits at the southeastern end of the peninsula.  Due to its rich shipping and military history, many residents are employed by Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding and the joint U.S. Air Force-U.S. Army installations at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. The primary connector road is Interstate Highway 64, which serves motorists traveling to and from work, home, and various other destinations daily. All of these factors speak to the strength of the independent city, but also provide opportunities in which accidents, including fatal accidents, can occur.

In wrongful death actions, a statutory beneficiary (often a spouse or child) claims that the decedent’s death was caused by another party’s negligent, careless, reckless, or wrongful act.  Wrongful death actions often arise out of negligent acts, and the wrongful death beneficiary need not prove any intent to cause the fatal injury. A Newport News wrongful death lawyer If another party is negligent or strictly liable for this untimely tragedy, family members and dependents who have suffered emotional and monetary damages as a result of this accidental death may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.

Newport News Wrongful Death Lawyers File These Claims

According to Virginia law, a civil suit for wrongful death must “be brought by and in the name of the personal representative of such deceased person.” Virginia Code Section 8.01-50. The personal representative must be duly qualified in Virginia, meaning that they must be a legal resident, and be appointed by the appropriate circuit court in Virginia by an order naming such person as the personal representative of the decedent, in order to have standing to bring a wrongful death action.  Generally, wrongful death claims are governed by a two-year statute of limitations. See Va. Code Section 8.01-244.  What this means is that in almost all cases, any wrongful death suit must be filed within two years from the date of the decedent’s death.

Beneficiaries who are allowed to recover damages in a wrongful death suit in Virginia include surviving spouses children, first and foremost, See Va. Code Section 8.01-53. If the decedent did not have a spouse or any children, then parents, siblings, and other dependent relatives may be allowed to bring a lawsuit.

Wrongful Death Damages

There are generally three types of damages available to wrongful death beneficiaries in a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit: pecuniary (economic) damages, non-pecuniary (non-economic) damages, and punitive damages.

Pecuniary damages are financial or losses, such as bills and expenses, and may include:

  • Loss of income, services, protection, care, and assistance;
  • Expenses for care, treatment, and hospitalization of decedent;
  • Reasonable funeral expenses.

Non-economic damagesmay include damages for sorrow, mental anguish, and solace, including:

  • Loss of society;
  • Loss of companionship;
  • Loss of comfort;
  • Loss of guidance, kindly offices, and advice of decedent;

Punitive damages may be appropriate if the family member’s wrongful death was caused by the defendant’s willful or wanton conduct or such recklessness as evinces a conscious disregard for the safety of others. Situations in which the defendant expressed willful intent or blatant disregard for the welfare of others are especially traumatic for family members attempting to seek damages, and may provide for punitive damages to send a message to the defendant that such conduct will not be tolerated in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Contact an Experienced Newport News Wrongful Death Lawyer

Successfully proving wrongful death cases requires the help of a Newport News wrongful death attorney with a depth of investigative experience and a wealth of legal knowledge to guide grieving family members. There are many different issues and aspects involved in a Virginia wrongful death claim, making it difficult for people to navigate the legal system on their own. Proving that a defendant’s actions or omissions caused the decedent’s death and accurately assessing damages owed by the defendant are essential to a grieving family’s recovery and can provide economic support and emotional closure in tragic wrongful death cases.

The collective knowledge, compassion, and dedication to our clients demonstrated by the Newport News wrongful death lawyers at Price Benowitz LLP, Virginia, can help you in your fight for justice on behalf of your loved one. We can help you begin the healing process while also working to hold the at-fault parties accountable for their negligent behavior. We have attorneys who are well versed in Virginia law, and who have worked in the Newport News region and understand the methods of the local courts and the best strategies to employ when pursuing personal injury in this area. That local connection should never be under-estimated.