Richmond, VA Wrongful Death Lawyer

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Experienced Lawyers Ready to Represent You

The loss of a loved one due to another’s negligence is perhaps the worst pain anyone could ever experience. If this has happened to you, you need experienced wrongful death attorneys who can protect your rights.

You may be asking yourself who is going to pay your loved one’s medical bills. How will the family be able to pay for the funeral costs? Did they have a will? When a single parent dies unexpectedly, who gets custody of the children? There are so many questions you may have where there are no clear answers.

Epperly & Follis, P.C. has the expertise and experience to pursue legal action against the responsible party(s). We have been representing clients throughout Virginia and the Richmond metro region for decades.

How Is It Defined?

cemetary plot of someone who died of a wrongful deathIn legal terms, wrongful death refers to a fatality that occurs because of the negligence or misdeeds of another person, corporation or entity. Part of the “personal injury” tort family, wrongful death holds an individual, group or corporation (defendant) accountable for causing injury to another person (plaintiff). The primary goal of a personal injury tort is to provide relief (damages) to the plaintiff and to deter the defendant from inflicting further harm to others.

Many fatalities may fall under the umbrella of wrongful death:

  • Workplace accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Automobile accidents
  • Dangerous products
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pharmaceutical liability
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Brain injuries
  • Premises liability

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Virginia

State laws vary as to who may pursue a wrongful death claim. Generally, it is the immediate family members who can file, including:

  • Spouse
  • Parents
  • Children
  • Brother or Sisters
  • Other family members of the same household
  • Family members who received support from the deceased party

What Damages Can Be Recovered In a Lawsuit

Woman in mourning of wrongful death victim in richmond vaThere are various damages which are considered in these types of cases:

  • Earnings the deceased would have provided to the family if they lived
  • Loss of protection, care, services, and assistance provided by the deceased
  • Medical and funeral expenses
  • Estate administration expenses
  • Survivors emotional pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

While you cannot bring back a loved one, monetary damages help provide security to the family during the painful grieving process.

Proving Negligence

Typically, wrongful death suits involve vehicular accidents (aviation, automobile, ATV, motorcycle, or railroad), defective products, medical malpractice, pharmaceutical liability, and a number of other situations. The common element in most tort actions is negligence, which is characterized by inattention, thoughtlessness, inadvertence, and mistakes. Negligence must be proven in wrongful death cases and the Epperly & Follis, P.C law firm is skilled in helping clients prove that the four critical components of negligence exist in their claim:

  • The defendant had a duty to the deceased;
  • The defendant failed in that duty (breach of duty);
  • That the fatality was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty; and
  • That the survivors are entitled to damages as a result of the loss of their loved one

In addition to establishing negligence, the joint life expectancy of the deceased and the survivor or beneficiary must be presented (to establish the loss of future earnings) and the relationship of the survivor and deceased must also be shown. Finally, effective presentation of the non-economical or emotional loss suffered by the survivor is critical to a fair award of damages.

Why You Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer to Represent You

In the state of Virginia, you generally have two years from the date of the negligence to file a lawsuit. There are many steps involved in the process, especially when dealing with medical providers, hospitals, insurance companies, and large corporations.

It takes many months to get all of the proper paperwork and evidence gathered to ensure you have a viable case. The earlier you obtain proper legal representation, the easier it is to gather evidence and speak with experts to get all of the information you need to present your case.

Negligence must be proven in wrongful death cases and the Epperly & Follis, P.C law firm is skilled in helping clients receive the financial compensation they are entitled to.

Experienced and Understanding Representation

If you feel that you have the basis for a wrongful death suit, it is important to contact an attorney immediately. Epperly & Follis, P.C lawyers will outline the documentation required, the decisions that must be made, and will continue to guide you through the legal process.

We know the law and victims’ rights. We can help you make informed decisions, so please call the wrongful death law firm of Epperly & Follis, P.C. in Richmond, Virginia, at 1-888-703-0109 or (804) 648-6480 for your free legal consultation, or save time with our online Contact Form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will my wrongful death case last?

The vast majority of all cases, including wrongful death cases, are settled prior to trial. Some cases are settled prior to the filing of a lawsuit, while others are settled during litigation or even on the “steps of the courthouse” just before trial. A wrongful death case, if litigated to trial, could last a number of years. One who pursues a wrongful death case should understand from the outset that a quick resolution cannot be guaranteed.

What about the costs involved in pursuing a case?

The attorneys at Epperly & Follis, P.C. handle wrongful death cases and survival actions on a contingency fee arrangement. This means that the attorney will not charge an hourly rate for his or her services, but instead will be paid a percentage of the recovery in the event of a settlement or judgment.

What is the first step in pursuing a wrongful death claim?

Given that wrongful death claims and survival actions generally involve a variety of complex legal issues, the first step is to contact an attorney at Epperly & Follis, P.C. immediately. An attorney should be consulted as soon as reasonably possible because there are statutes of limitations and possibly other critical deadlines that may impact the case.

When someone dies, what is the difference between the civil and criminal cases that can be brought regarding the death?

A criminal case arises when the government seeks to punish an individual for an act that has been classified as a crime. A civil case, on the other hand, usually has to do with a dispute over the rights and duties that individuals and organizations legally owe to each other. The burden of proof is higher in a criminal case, and the penalty imposed is a criminal sanction, whereas, in a civil case, the defendant will typically have a monetary judgment entered against him/her.

What kinds of damages are recoverable in these cases?

Normally, the following are recoverable:

  • Expenses associated with the death (medical & funeral)
  • Loss of victim’s anticipated earnings
  • Loss of victim’s benefits (pension, medical coverage, etc.)
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Pain and suffering of the survivors and
  • The loss of care, protection, companionship to the survivors
What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?

It depends on whether a person dies as a result of the injuries or from unrelated causes. If a person injured in an accident subsequently dies because of those injuries, that person’s heirs may recover money through a lawsuit. If a person with a personal injury claim dies from unrelated causes, the claim survives in most cases and may be brought by the executor or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

Can someone sue for the pain and suffering of a decedent?

Yes, in addition to the wrongful death, a decedent’s family may recover damages for the pain and suffering that the decedent endured prior to death.

Can I bring a wrongful death action if the deceased never held a job?

Yes, even if the decedent never held a job, they may have contributed in some other way to the family. A good example of such a decedent is a housewife, who contributes services, guidance and nurturing to her family. These contributions are quantifiable as “pecuniary losses” in a wrongful death action.

Who may file a wrongful death case?

A surviving spouse may bring a wrongful death claim. If there is no surviving spouse, the children may bring the death claim. If there is neither a surviving spouse or surviving children, the parents of the decedent may pursue the wrongful death claim. In any case, an administrator of the estate must be appointed, and the administrator can sue on behalf of the estate.

What is a wrongful death claim?

In general terms, a wrongful death claim refers to a cause of action that may be brought by certain family members of someone who died as a result of someone else’s wrongful conduct. The wrongful act that resulted in death may have been intentional, reckless, or negligent. In cases where a dangerous product caused the death, it may not be necessary to show wrongful conduct in order to recover.

Wrongful Death Resources

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“Every family needs someone in the legal profession that can serve as a trusted advisor. Craig Follis is just that. He is bright, professional and puts his clients needs first. Craig has been there for my family and if you are looking for counsel, I can’t recommend him enough. He’s the best.”

Robin Green

Richmond, VA

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“Craig Follis is the man to get the job done. Never had a doubt in my mind that things wouldn’t work out with him on the job. He takes time and commitment in working on his cases. I’m glad I could have him to represent me. He’s the best as they come!!!”

Maxi Gray

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We know the law, we know victims’ rights, and we want to help you make informed decisions about your personal injury case. Please contact Epperly & Follis, P.C today for a free legal consultation.

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