When the unthinkable happens and someone’s negligent conduct causes a death, they need to be held accountable. They must pay for their careless action. Call us. We can help.
Yvonne T. Griffin – Personal Injury Attorney
“I have never seen a lawyer work so hard for her client. I wall always go to her, she covers all of the bases.”
“She has been there from day two and throughout the process. Always empathetic, knowledgeable of your feelings and possible outcomes. It was a pleasure to have her following my case and I always felt ‘taken care of’!”
[The results obtained under one set of circumstances cannot be a predictor of future results.]
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1. What is the difference between murder/manslaughter and wrongful death?
Criminal cases are brought on behalf of the citizens of Virginia or the United States and prosecuted in criminal courts. A wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the victim’s family in civil court. It is possible for a defendant to be found not guilty of a murder/manslaughter but to still be found guilty of wrongful death and ordered to pay damages. (O.J. Simpson is an example.)
The burden of proof in criminal and civil cases is different. In criminal cases, the standard is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the defendant is presumed innocent. In civil cases, the standard of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence, which essentially means more likely than not, or proof of more than 50%.
2. What types of wrongful death damages may be awarded in a personal injury case?
Wrongful death damages can include:
3. Who can sue for wrongful death?
The person who has qualified as administrator of the estate of the deceased person is the only person allowed to file for wrongful death. Generally speaking, if no will exists naming an administrator, an heir may qualify as administrator within the first thirty days after the deceased person’s death.
If no such person qualifies during that thirty day period, anyone may become administrator provided he satisfies the Clerk of Court that he is suitable and competent to perform the duties.
Application to become the administrator should be made in the circuit court clerk’s office in the city or county where the decedent legally resided at the time of his/her death.
4. How long do I have to file a wrongful death suit?
Generally speaking, the statute of limitations in Virginia for wrongful death is two years from the date of the death. Certain conditions or events may change the length of the statute of limitations, so you should contact an attorney about your particular case.
5. What is your fee structure for personal injury cases?
We handle wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. We do not get paid a legal fee until you receive a settlement or jury verdict award.
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We have three offices conveniently located in Charlottesville, Palmyra (Across from Food Lion), and Harrisonburg, Virginia.
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