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Wrongful Death Cases

Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyers Help You Obtain Legal Relief

Reputable attorneys serving Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge region

The most tragic accidents are those that cause the untimely death of a loved one. Suddenly, a cherished member of your family is gone, and your life will never be the same. At Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C., we understand the devastation caused by a wrongful death. From offices in Charlottesville and three other locations, we help grieving families find closure by holding wrongdoers accountable. Whether the death occurred due to negligence, recklessness or deliberate intent, we are prepared to press your case aggressively to deliver the justice your loved one deserves. While we realize that no amount of money can ever erase the pain of your loss, a damage award can provide some measure of relief and help you move on with your life. We provide the sensitive counsel and professional representation you need to get through this trying time.

What constitutes wrongful death in Virginia?

Wrongful death occurs when one person’s act or omission directly causes another person’s death. These cases are civil actions to recover damages from liable parties, rather than criminal prosecutions. Most wrongful death cases cite negligence on the part of a defendant, such as careless driving that caused a fatal car crash or medical malpractice that resulted in the death of a patient. However, family members can file a wrongful death claim against a person accused of criminal conduct in a separate proceeding. Because wrongful death is a civil action, the standard of proof necessary to win a verdict is the preponderance of the evidence, rather than guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This means a plaintiff can win a wrongful death lawsuit by proving the defendant was more likely than not responsible for the fatality.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Virginia?

Someone designated as the personal representative of a decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of themselves and/or those who are entitled to recover damages. Virginia has a three-tiered hierarchy to determine who can collect compensation:

  • Surviving spouse and children or grandchildren
  • If none of the above, the surviving parents and siblings, as well as any relative who is a member of the household and was a dependent of the deceased
  • If none of the above, any family member who is entitled to inherit from the decedent’s estate under Virginia’s intestacy laws

The Virginia statute of limitations generally allows two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.

Damages allowed in a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit

Plaintiffs in a Virginia wrongful death action are suing for their own losses, as well as the economic losses suffered by the decedent’s estate. These losses include:

  • Sorrow and mental anguish at the loss of the loved one
  • Loss of income or projected future income
  • Loss of the decedent’s care, comfort, guidance, protection, companionship, society, services, advice and kindly offices
  • Medical expenses related to the fatal illness or injury
  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Punitive damages if the negligence was willful or wanton

As your legal representatives, our personal injury attorneys strive to recover the maximum amount possible through settlement or court verdict.

Contact an Albemarle County wrongful death lawyer today for a free consultation

Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C. represents Virginia clients in wrongful death litigation throughout the Commonwealth. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 434-973-7474 or contact us online. We have four offices conveniently located in Charlottesville, Palmyra, Harrisonburg and Staunton.

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