How a Lawyer Approaches Wrongful Death Actions in PWC

The rules that govern wrongful death cases are solely created by statutes in Virginia, including the details of how to file, where to file, and what kinds of evidence must be presented. In Prince William County, wrongful death cases are often defended very vigorously by insurance companies and defense attorneys. They often hire firms that deal very narrowly in wrongful death defense, and therefore, it is important, as the plaintiff, to have an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side who has previously handled many similar cases and knows how to approach them.

The stakes are high in wrongful death cases. The cases are lengthier than other personal injury cases. The damages are typically more significant, and an attorney who does not know how to handle these actions could end up significantly hurting your case, causing a smaller ultimate recovery. It is important, therefore, to have someone on your side who is comfortable and competent in this very important and complex area of law.

The Value of Compassion in Wrongful Death Cases

Because Prince William County wrongful death cases can be complicated, explaining what is happening and working together with the family or loved ones of the decedent can be difficult. The approach a lawyer takes must walk the line between being forceful to get their message across and helping beneficiaries and family members to understand the intricacies in a wrongful death case. The most important thing for an attorney to understand is that at the core of wrongful death cases, the individuals working with the attorney have lost a loved one. Thus, the attorney must balance the need to be aggressive with consideration of the family’s grieving process, which requires understanding that everyone approaches grief differently.

Issues That Family Members Cope With

Family member typically will be dealing with grief when a love one has died. Beyond that, funeral expenses are something individuals do not typically plan for. It is not uncommon for funerals to cost upwards of $10,000 in Virginia. Importantly, funeral expenses are one of the specific damages that are permitted within the Virginia wrongful death statute. An experienced attorney will ensure that these reasonable funeral expenses are included in the damages calculations.

Families who have suffered a loss will certainly want to make sure that they are working with an experienced wrongful death attorney who also may coordinate with an estate attorney to discuss how to take the next step with the family. Settling affairs, such as helping with a will, is typically not something that a wrongful death attorney will get involved in.

A compassionate lawyer can work with clients so that they understand the process that lies ahead and what the family can expect at every step, rather than simply working only on the wrongful death part of the case.

Compensation in a Prince William County Wrongful Death Case

Typically, someone initiating a wrongful death suit will be asked to sign a retainer agreement, also known as representation agreement, in both a personal injury action as well as in a wrongful death case. Like in personal injury actions, wrongful death cases are typically handled with a contingency fee agreement. Contingency fee agreements mean that no fee is paid until a contingent event occurs: a recovery on behalf of the deceased party. Once recovery occurs, then the attorney is entitled to take a portion of the fee, the expenses or cost of the litigation are paid, and the remainder of the award is allocated to the client or the representatives/executor of the estates.