The death of a loved one is devastating. Never is this more true than when that death is sudden and unexpected, especially when the loved one is a child or in the prime of his or her life. The loss turns a family upside down and the ramifications continue long after the emotional pain begins to ease, which can be months or years after the event. As the family knows, the grief and sense of loss never goes away completely.
When you lose a loved one due to the incompetence or intentionally harmful actions of another person, it is considered a wrongful death case in Virginia and West Virginia. This means the deceased’s loved ones are entitled to compensation for their loss. There is a limited period of time in which loved ones have to act in a wrongful death case. Generally, families are compensated for their emotional losses connected with their grief, as well as expenses incurred as the result of the death (medical costs, funeral expenses, lost income, etc.). Families can also seek punitive damages when the negligence was willful or wanton, as in the case of a drunk driver.
What Should You Do If You Lose a Loved One?
The most important thing you can do when you lose a loved one is protect yourself and your surviving family members. As you move through the healing process and begin to reassemble your life after an unexpected loss, you will likely face many concerns.
We understand how difficult it is to face such a major life change and cope with so many practical matters while you heal emotionally. WilliamsFord has worked with families throughout Virginia and West Virginia and is dedicated to handling the difficult legal aspects of a wrongful death case while you put the pieces back together for your family. We will be the shield between you and the insurance company.
Some Types of Wrongful Death Cases:
- Accidents Caused by Negligent Highway Drivers and Tractor-Trailers
There are few places where we face more danger than on our highways. Nationwide, about 5000 people are killed each year in wrecks involving tractor-trailers. Car crashes are bad enough, but to be in hit by a tractor-trailer increases the risk of a fatality or death rather than just a bad injury.
- Crashes Caused by Drunk Drivers
In 2018, 278 people were killed in alcohol related crashes in Virginia, a number that has risen since we last posted the statistic in 2012. Despite the dangers and the availability of Uber rides, people continue to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. The law entitles victims of drunk driving to recover punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages in hopes of deterring driving while drinking as well as sending out a message to the community that we do not tolerate drinking and driving. In West Virginia, claims can also be made against the bars that negligently sell or serve alcohol to drunk drivers. This called “dram shop” litigation.
- Medical Malpractice
We trust our doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical caregivers with our lives. Unfortunately, their oversights and mistakes sometimes cause the death of a patient. When a person dies as the result of a medical mistake, the surviving loved ones are entitled to compensation. If your loved one died as a result of medication, treatment, surgical procedures, or after-care, we can help you determine if there was medical negligence and if you deserve compensation. Because these cases require an opinion by a medical expert, the cost to find out if you do have a case can be prohibitive. Additionally, we attempt to help you make an estimate of the costs of litigation as not all cases are economically feasible.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Brain injuries are one of the most common causes of death. If your loved one experienced a traumatic brain injury that resulted in coma or death, it could be a case of wrongful death. We have handled cases of fractured skulls and/or hematomas from skateboard injuries, car crashes, falls, and other traumas to the head. Many times these unfortunate people have died from their injuries. Contact us and we can help you with questions regarding the causation of a loved one’s death.
- Unsafe Premises
Property owners owe a duty to keep their property safe and free of hidden dangers. When a property owner fails to repair dangerous conditions, or doesn’t provide proper security, or fails to take adequate action to make the property safe for entrants, injury or death can result. When the injury or death is foreseeable, the property owner can be held responsible for the harm.
We Battle the Insurance Company, So You Don’t Need to Worry
Losing a loved one is not only emotionally painful; it can also have financial ramifications for survivors. Unfortunately, insurance companies treat wrongful death cases no differently than any other case. Their goal is to protect their bottom line by any means possible. They do this by offering a quick settlement while a family is still in mourning or they drag their feet until a family is desperate for money and willing to settle for less than full and fair compensation for the terrible loss they have experienced.
WilliamsFord has experience shielding the injured. We are prepared to fight for the compensation you deserve if you have lost a loved one. We understand the emotional pain you are experiencing and we know the last thing you want to do is deal with or fight with an insurance company. We handle the burden of practical, legal issues while you focus on grieving, healing and protecting your family.
If you have lost a loved one as the result of another person’s negligence, contact WilliamsFord. We can discuss the specifics of your case and offer you options for moving forward with your life after this painful experience. And remember, we handle cases in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.