Wrongful Death Attorney in Virginia Beach
The loss of a loved one can devastate a family. It’s even worse when someone’s carelessness is to blame. If you need to pursue a wrongful death action, we can help.
In Virginia, wrongful death is a death caused by the negligence of another. Based in Virginia Beach, Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. has handled many wrongful death cases over the years.
With over 30 years of experience, we know how important it can be to pursue a wrongful death claim. Families throughout the Tidewater area turn to us during difficult times when they need compassionate and experienced lawyers to represent them. When a loved one dies from their injuries, we will fight to protect you and your family. That’s who we are.
Our clients know that we will work for them and their families. We’ll provide the hard work and resources they need, and they know we’ll support them. We care about our clients and work to deliver the highest quality results. We’re proud of the work we’ve done for families throughout the area, and we want to put our resources and experience to work for you.
When building a wrongful death claim, it’s our goal to provide our clients with what they need: compassion, service, and compensation for the death of their loved one. Whether it’s investigating an accident, negotiating a settlement, or taking a wrongful death claim to court, we’ll work with strength and integrity for you and your family.
Contact Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. for a free consultation. We represent clients in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Chesapeake, and beyond.
What Is a Virginia Beach Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim involves a situation where someone has died as a result of injuries, usually from an accident. A wrongful death stems from the negligence or intentional wrongful act of another. These are civil cases that aim to compensate you for the emotional and financial harm inflicted on you and your family.
Wrongful death claims can stem from:
- Traffic Accidents. At-fault drivers in fatal car crashes may be held liable in wrongful death claims. Driving under the influence and distracted driving too often cause fatal accidents. A wrongful death claim may help you and your family recover the resources that can help you rebuild. Bicycle accidents, truck accidents, car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and electric scooter accidents can all often lead to death.
- Defective Products. A poorly designed or manufactured product can cause serious injury and even death. A tool can injure or kill its user, faulty wiring can start fires, and the safety products we rely on can fail just when we need them most.
- Medical Malpractice. Doctors and nurses are humans and they can make mistakes. Hospitals may be also responsible if their policies and procedures don’t protect their patients. We expect medical professionals to heal, not to harm, but sometimes this isn’t the case.
- Occupational Hazards. Risk is a part of many jobs but those risks can be managed with the correct equipment and safety procedures. Businesses can fail to protect their workers and those around them.
- Premises Liability. Failures in maintenance and neglect of hazards can lead to terrible outcomes. A slip and fall case can result in more than just bruises or a broken arm, or a family dog could bite a guest. Sometimes serious injuries can cost us loved ones and change the course of a family forever.
These and many other causes of wrongful death can rob us of those we love. If you lost a close relative due to the negligent or reckless actions of another party, we can help. We’ll work with you to understand the facts of your case and the best way to move forward.
Our Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help File your Claim
It seems like a simple question but the answer can be complex. The state of Virginia has very specific rules on who may bring a wrongful death claim. Typically, a spouse and the children of the deceased can file a claim, but there are many cases where the deceased leaves behind other relatives.
The people who may bring a claim are known as “statutory beneficiaries” and are outlined in the Code of Virginia. The law gives these groups different priorities in who is allowed to file a claim. These groups include:
- The surviving spouse, surviving children, and surviving grandchildren.
- The deceased person’s parents and siblings.
- If the deceased leaves a spouse and parents, but no children or grandchildren, then the spouse and parents can bring a claim.
- Those who would inherit from the deceased under Virginia’s laws.
Before you get started with the process of filing a wrongful death claim, it’s important to know if you or another relative of the deceased has the right to file a claim. This complexity can be challenging when a family is grieving and trying to put the pieces back together. If it’s time to start a wrongful death claim, contact us and we can help.
Compensation Available Through a Virginia Beach Wrongful Death Claim
The loss of a loved one is a difficult and tragic time. The law of Virginia recognizes that and allows for several types of damages under a wrongful death claim. None of these damages will bring your loved one back, but they can help you and your family rebuild as best you can. In a wrongful death claim, the following types of damages may be recovered:
- Sorrow, mental anguish, and solace. When a family loses a loved one, they’re losing the companionship and love of that person. The advice, care, and intimacy of that person are now gone from their lives. The loss of a loved one can be a heartbreaking experience and these damages attempt to compensate for the emotional damage that results.
- Compensation for reasonably expected lost income and services. This includes the lost income of the deceased and the services and cares that the deceased provided. Sometimes the deceased is the primary earner in the family and these damages will help fill the financial gap left behind. Sometimes the deceased is a caretaker who helps the family in many ways. Taking care of parents or children, nurturing others, providing education, guiding family members when they’re in need – these are all important functions that may now be missing from a family. These damages are intended to compensate for such losses.
- Expenses for the care, treatment, and hospitalization of the deceased prior to death. In wrongful death cases, the deceased may have required intensive medical care before they passed away. The estate is left holding the bills, and they can be significant. It’s hard enough to deal with the loss of a loved one, and it can be overwhelming when the financial burden of medical bills is added. The damages are intended to compensate the estate for the medical bills left behind.
- Funeral expenses. When a family loses a loved one, they will often have to pay for a funeral. A funeral can cost a significant amount of money. These expenses add more strain to an already painful situation. These damages can help remove the financial bills that the estate and family have to bear.
- Punitive damages may be available in rare cases. Punitive damages exist to punish a wrongdoer for willful or wanton conduct, or recklessness that shows they disregarded the safety of others. Whether these damages are available in a particular case will depend on the facts.
A wrongful death claim may include other damages. If it is time to pursue a wrongful death claim, contact our lawyers and we can help you understand your options.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Virginia Beach?
In general, a representative must file a wrongful death claim within two years of death. If the claim is not filed within this period, it may not be heard and the opportunity to obtain compensation for the wrongful death may be lost. If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim, it is critical to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
If you are considering a wrongful death claim, don’t wait to act. A lawyer will move quickly to protect and preserve your claim. A lawyer will know who to talk to and how to get the documents and reports that you claim will need. The more time that your lawyer has to protect and prepare your claim, the stronger it will be.
How Our Wrongful Death Lawyer in Virginia Beach Can Help Your Family
Wrongful death claims must be investigated. We can help. There are many questions that need to be answered in a wrongful death claim. How did the injury and death occur? Where did it happen? Who was responsible? Was anyone else involved? Any wrongful death claim must answer these questions and many others. It takes time to answer these questions and to build a claim. A lawyer can work with experts, interview witnesses, and handle the documents that the claim needs to succeed.
Documentation and filing can be overwhelming. We can help. A wrongful death action may pull in video footage, expert analysis, insurance policies, medical bills, and many other documents. When a loved one has died, it can be painful to revisit the injury that led to their death, but a lawyer can serve as an intermediary. A lawyer may also be needed if the other side resists the investigation. A lawyer knows what your claim needs. There is no need for you to relive the pain of wrongful death, and there’s no need for you to deal with the pain of organizing documents related to your loved one’s death. Our team of experienced lawyers have handled many wrongful death claims, and we know how to protect you and your loved one’s estate. Let us deal with the legal matters while you and your family focus on grieving.
Negotiations with a responsible party or an insurance company can be complex and difficult. We can help. In wrongful death claims, the other side may not want to take responsibility. If they do offer a settlement, it may be too low. Vulnerable families may take the settlement because they have lost their primary earner or they have lost a caretaker. They may feel that the insurance company is trustworthy or that they can’t get any more compensation. However, the truth is that a lawyer can help. A lawyer understands that insurers are working for their bottom line. They’re not looking out for you. Our lawyers have years of experience negotiating and handling wrongful death claims. We know how to create your claim, negotiate it, and pursue the compensation that you and your family deserve.
We know how to fight for you in court. Wrongful death trials can be painful for family members. They require a careful examination of the accident and they’ll require a strong record that documents the details of the claim. If the people responsible for your loved one’s death won’t settle, you may have to go to court to get the compensation that you need. Our lawyers are prepared to fight for you in court if that’s what it takes.
Contact our Wrongful Death Attorney in Virginia Beach Now
Grief, anger, and sorrow can all be overwhelming when you lose a loved one. When you’ve suffered the sudden loss of a close relative, it takes time to heal. A wrongful death claim can provide you with the compensation you need to rebuild your lives. Focus on yourself and your family. Leave the claim to us.
The attorneys at Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. have represented clients in wrongful death claims for over 30 years. We are compassionate and experienced lawyers who have built our reputation by representing our clients with strength, integrity, and understanding. We work on a contingency fee, meaning we no do get paid if your case is not settled. If you have lost a loved one in an accident, we’ll work to get you the compensation and the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.