When a loved one dies as the result of an accident or other situation that could have been prevented, a Charlottesville wrongful death lawyer may be able to help. A personal injury lawyer could investigate to find out whether someone’s failure to fulfill his or her duty caused the untimely death. If so, family members may be entitled to receive substantial compensation.

What Is the Time Limit to File a Fatal Accident Claim?

It is best to avoid excessive delay before talking to a wrongful death lawyer in Charlottesville. Suits must be prepared and filed within two years or the right to pursue a claim may be lost permanently.

The two-year deadline is set by the state statute of limitations. If the lawsuit involves wrongdoing by the government, the time limit could be substantially shorter.

When Is a Death Considered Wrongful?

The definition of wrongful death is set forth in Va. Code Ann. §8.01-50. Under the statute, a wrongful death claim arises whenever a death is caused by a negligent act.

In effect, a wrongful death lawsuit is a personal injury claim filed on behalf of deceased persons since they are not able to file the claim themselves. A wrongful death lawyer in Charlottesville could work to show how and why someone should be held liable for the death.

In most wrongful death cases, it is not a deliberate act of wrongdoing but neglect that causes the harm. Negligence occurs when someone owes a duty to another, he or she fails to fulfill that obligation, and someone suffers a loss as a result. A claim for negligence holds individuals accountable for harm they cause due to irresponsible behavior.

Wrongful Death Can Result From Many Causes

A wrongful death action may stem from a wide variety of incidents. A Charlottesville wrongful death attorney could help someone recover damages for an untimely death caused by circumstances such as:

To be able to assist and estate make a recovery in a wrongful death claim, the death needs to be the result of negligence, recklessness, or deliberate wrongdoing of another.

Parties Who May Recover Wrongful Death Compensation

State law requires wrongful death claims to be brought by the deceased person’s personal representative. However, that person may not necessarily receive all or any of the compensation from the suit.

Under Va. Code Ann. §8.01-53, damages in a wrongful death claim are distributed to the deceased person’s spouse and children (or grandchildren if a child is also deceased). If parents of the deceased person regularly received essential support or services from their deceased child, they also may be entitled to a share of compensation from the claim. If there are no family members that meet this definition, then compensation would be awarded to siblings, parents, or any other relatives depending on the deceased person for primary support.

Work with a Dedicated Charlottesville Wrongful Death Attorney

A wrongful death claim is not, as some may think, a vehicle to profit from tragedy. Instead, the wrongful death law tries to shift some of the burden from the shoulders of the innocent family to the person responsible for causing their loss. Compensation may provide for many future needs.

If you are suffering the loss of a loved one that could have been prevented, talk to a Charlottesville wrongful death lawyer. An experienced legal advocate at the Warren Law Firm could help you seek justice for your family.