Losing a loved one takes a massive emotional toll on the family members that are left behind. While no one should have to experience the pain of losing someone close to them, losing a loved one due to the negligent actions of another can be an extremely difficult situation to endure.
James H. Shoemaker, Jr. has practiced law at Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein (PWHD) for over two decades. He knows the emotional and financial toll that a wrongful death can have on a family, and he will fight to get you the justice and compensation that you deserve during this difficult time.
If you have lost a family member due to the negligent behavior of someone else, please contact our experienced wrongful death attorney at 757-223-4580 for a free case evaluation. James H. Shoemaker, Jr. is proud to serve clients in Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, Washington D.C, and nearby areas of Virginia.
What is Wrongful Death?
When someone dies due to the legal fault of someone else it is considered a wrongful death. In Virginia, a wrongful death is specifically defined as a death that is “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another party.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed if the circumstances of the death would have allowed the deceased individual to file a personal injury case if they had survived. In the event of their death, their family is able to pursue legal action on their behalf.
There are many potential causes of wrongful death, including:
- Automobile and motorcycle accidents
- Airline accidents
- Boating accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction accidents
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Virginia, there are laws regarding which family members or dependents can file a wrongful death claim and the order in which they may do so.
You may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Virginia if you are:
- The spouse of the deceased
- A child of the deceased
- A grandchild of the deceased
- A parent of the deceased
- A related dependent of the deceased who shared their household
- A family member who is entitled to inherit the deceased’s estate
There is a specific order in which individuals may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim under Virginia law. Spouses, children, and grandchildren have the initial right to file unless none of these relatives have survived the deceased. The right to file then falls to parents, siblings, and other dependents.
In the event that there is no surviving parent, sibling, or dependent, the individual entitled to inherit the estate under Virginia law may file. In some instances, individuals may be eligible to file a wrongful death case together. Our attorney will discuss these circumstances with you.
Regardless of who files the wrongful death lawsuit, it must be filed within the time frame established by the state’s statute of limitations. In Virginia, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of death.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Case
In Virginia, you may receive compensation for damages including but not limited to:
- Pain and suffering caused by your loss
- Loss of companionship, love, comfort, and guidance from the deceased
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages and benefits from the deceased
- Loss of future wages that the deceased would have earned for your family
The damages that are awarded can vary based on who is filing the case.
In addition to seeking compensation for the losses experienced by your family during this difficult time, you may also be able to pursue punitive damages in Virginia based on the facts of your case. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant if their behavior that led to the loss of your loved one was particularly reckless or appalling.
Why Hire Attorney James H. Shoemaker, Jr.?
Losing a loved one is unimaginably difficult. You and your family need time to grieve and to heal. When you hire an experienced wrongful death attorney like Mr. Shoemaker, you are able to focus on what truly matters while leaving the legal hurdles to a professional.
Mr. Shoemaker will fight tirelessly on behalf of your family and your lost loved one. He has experience navigating the laws that govern wrongful death cases in order to pursue the justice and compensation you deserve. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Shoemaker has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of his clients through successful verdicts and settlements.
Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay an attorney fee unless you are awarded compensation.
Schedule Your Case Evaluation Today
If you have lost a loved one due to wrongful death, please schedule a free case evaluation by calling 757-223-4580. Attorney James H. Shoemaker, Jr. proudly represents clients in Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, Washington D.C, and nearby areas of Virginia.