We are very sorry about the death of your loved one. Please don’t wait too late and let the evidence disappear. Contact us today for a FREE 90 minute consultation.
When the unthinkable happens and someone’s negligent or intentional conduct causes a death, Yvonne Griffin, our wrongful death attorney at Tucker Griffin Barnes helps hold the responsible party accountable. Over the last 20 years, our Charlottesville, VA, firm has handled countless wrongful death actions in a sensitive, yet professional manner. Yvonne Griffin applies the rigorous standards she uses in pursuing all personal injury claims to our wrongful death cases. She also understands the complexities of wrongful death statutes and how best to investigate and litigate claims for families who have lost loved ones due to someone else’s carelessness.
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%.
What types of wrongful death damages may be awarded?
Wrongful death damages can include:
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/she 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.
How long do I have to file 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.
What is your fee structure?
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. We offer a FREE 90-minute consultation.
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