Fairfax Wrongful Death Attorneys

Losing a loved one is always tragic, but knowing your family member died because of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions only adds to your sorrow and sense of injustice.

If someone caused an accident that killed your loved one in Fairfax, you likely qualify for compensation, but you will need an experienced Fairfax wrongful death attorney for help.

The Fairfax wrongful death attorneys at Right Path Law Group have handled many wrongful death claims for clients in Fairfax and throughout Northern Virginia. Contact us today for a free consultation about your claim and learn of your options for holding the at-fault party accountable and getting the compensation you need and the justice you feel you deserve.

Why Choose Right Path Law Group to Handle Your Fairfax Wrongful Death Claim?

Right Path Law Group , personal injury lawyers

For more than 15 years, our law firm has served injured clients and surviving family members of those killed because of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness.

Our firm’s founder and principal attorney, Pierre Prialé, established our practice on the belief that everyone deserves quality, effective legal representation, and we have helped thousands of individuals and families during their most dire times of need.

Over the course of our history, we have recovered substantial settlements and verdicts for our plaintiff clients, and you can trust we will do all we can to help you obtain the fair and full compensation you need to cover your losses and recover from your terrible and senseless tragedy.

Our Fairfax personal injury lawyers have received numerous five-star reviews and powerful testimonials from our satisfied clients, and we have received national recognition as among the top trial lawyers in our region.

We have the skills, knowledge, and resources to handle your claim—no matter how complex—and we will be right there beside you each step of the way to fight for your rights and interests and increase your chances of getting the maximum compensation possible.

The best part is that our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t have to pay anything upfront for us to represent you, and we will only accept a fee if we obtain compensation on your behalf.

Contact us as soon as possible for a no-cost case evaluation and advice regarding your rights and options.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim in Virginia?

wrongful death is a cause for civil action against individuals or entities that knowingly or negligently caused the death of someone. To have a valid claim, surviving family members must show the responsible party’s (the defendant’s) actions caused the individual’s death, and the individual would not have died were it not for the defendant’s negligence or wrongdoing.

Wrongful Death Statistics in Virginia

Pierre Prialé, Fairfax Personal Injury Lawyer

The two main causes of wrongful death in Virginia are car accidents and medical malpractice. In a recent year, 1,005 people lost their lives in Virginia traffic accidents, and 66 people died in traffic accidents in Fairfax County, according to reports from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that around 225,000 people die each year on average throughout the United States because of medical malpractice.

These numbers include 7,000 deaths from medication errors, 12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries, and 20,000 deaths from other hospital errors. Virginia reports dozens of wrongful death claims arising from medical malpractice each year. Deaths due to medical malpractice are the third-leading cause of preventable fatalities in the U.S.

What Are Some Common Incidents That Can Lead to a Wrongful Death Claim in Fairfax?

Virtually any incident that results in someone’s death due to someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions can form the basis of a wrongful death claim in Fairfax.

Some common types of accidents and incidents that can result in wrongful death claims include:

  • Car Accidents: When a person is killed in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, such as speeding, drunk driving, or running a red light, a wrongful death claim may be filed.
  • Medical Malpractice: If a healthcare provider’s negligence or medical error leads to a patient’s death, the patient’s family may file a wrongful death claim. This can include surgical errors, misdiagnosis, medication errors, or improper treatment.
  • Workplace Accidents: When a worker dies as a result of unsafe working conditions, inadequate safety measures, or employer negligence, the family may file a wrongful death claim. This can include industrial accidents, construction site accidents, or exposure to toxic substances.
    • Defective Products: If a defective product causes a fatal accident, you can hold the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer liable through a wrongful death claim. This can include faulty machinery, defective vehicles, or dangerous consumer products.
  • Premises Liability: You can hold property owners or managers responsible if inadequate maintenance or unsafe conditions on their property lead to a fatal accident—for example, slip and fall accidents or inadequate security leading to an assault.
  • Violent or Criminal Acts: If someone intentionally causes another person’s death, whether through assault, homicide, or other criminal acts, the victim’s family may file a wrongful death claim in addition to criminal charges. This can include drunk driving accidents and other unlawful actions.
  • Boating and Aviation Accidents: Wrongful death claims can also result from accidents involving boats, ships, or airplanes, especially if the accidents are caused by negligence, equipment failure, or pilot error.
  • Nursing Home Abuse: When a nursing home or long-term care facility fails to provide proper care, leading to a resident’s death, the family may pursue a wrongful death claim for neglect or abuse.
  • Construction Accidents: Fatalities on construction sites due to inadequate safety measures, equipment failure, or negligence can lead to wrongful death claims.

If you believe you have a valid wrongful death claim in Fairfax, hire an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney right away. Wrongful death claims can provide compensation to the surviving family members for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and emotional suffering resulting from the loss of their loved one.

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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Virginia?

In Virginia, the right to file a wrongful death claim is governed by state law. The Virginia Code outlines who may file a wrongful death claim and generally restricts the right to specific individuals with a close relationship to the deceased person.

Here are the primary categories of individuals who can file a wrongful death claim in Virginia: 

  • Personal Representative of the Deceased: In Virginia, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is typically the first person with the right to file a wrongful death claim. This person is often named in the deceased person’s will or appointed by the court. The personal representative files the claim on behalf of the estate and any surviving family members who are entitled to compensation.
  • Surviving Spouse and Children: If the deceased person had a surviving spouse, he or she has the right to file a wrongful death claim. If there are surviving children, they may also be eligible to bring a claim. If the deceased person had no surviving spouse or children, the claim may pass to other family members.
  • Surviving Parents: If no spouse, children, or grandchildren survived the deceased, the right to file a wrongful death claim may pass to the deceased person’s parents. However, this right is limited to situations where the deceased person provided support or services to the parents.
  • Siblings and Other Relatives: If there are no surviving spouses, children, grandchildren, or parents, the right to file a wrongful death claim may extend to other relatives, such as siblings or other close family members, who were dependent on the deceased for support or services.

In cases where someone’s wrongful actions caused the death of a fetus, the natural mother may also bring a wrongful death claim. If the mother also died, her personal representative or guardian may bring action against the defendant on behalf of her estate.

The distribution of compensation from a wrongful death claim in Virginia is subject to the specific circumstances of the case and the relationships of the surviving family members. The court will consider factors like the financial and emotional dependency of the surviving family members on the deceased person when determining how to allocate any damages awarded.

If you believe you may have a wrongful death claim in Virginia, consult an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and help you navigate the legal process. An attorney can protect your rights and pursue the appropriate legal action in your wrongful death case.

How Do I Know If I Have a Wrongful Death Claim in Fairfax?

Determining whether you have a wrongful death claim in Fairfax, Virginia, can be complex and depends on several factors.

To assess whether you have a valid wrongful death claim in Fairfax, consider these key elements:

  • Loss of a Loved One: To have a wrongful death claim, the first and most fundamental requirement is that a person close to you has died. The death must be the result of another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions.
  • Negligence or Wrongful Act: It’s crucial to establish that the death was caused by someone else’s wrongful act or negligence. This could involve a variety of situations, such as car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, defective products, or other incidents where someone else’s actions or inactions played a role in the death.
  • Legal Standing: In Virginia, only certain individuals have the legal standing to file a wrongful death claim. Typically, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate has the primary right to bring the claim. If there is no personal representative, the right may pass to the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, parents, or other close family members, depending on their specific circumstances and the nature of their relationship with the deceased.
  • Dependency and Damages: To pursue a wrongful death claim, you generally need to demonstrate that the surviving family members suffered damages as a result of the death. This can include financial losses like medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost income, as well as non-economic damages like the loss of companionship, guidance, and emotional support.
  • Evidence and Liability: Building a strong wrongful death case often requires gathering evidence, including accident reports, medical records, witness statements, and expert opinions. It’s important to establish that the responsible party’s actions or negligence directly led to the death.

Consult an Attorney

Given the complexity of wrongful death cases, consult an experienced wrongful death attorney in Fairfax. An attorney can assess the specific circumstances of your case, help you understand your rights, and guide you through the legal process.

What’s Virginia’s Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims?

In Virginia, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is generally two years from the date of the deceased person’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in court. Failing to file a wrongful death claim within the prescribed timeframe can result in the dismissal of your case, making you ineligible to seek compensation for your losses.

However, certain circumstances may change or toll (temporarily suspend) the statute of limitations. For example:

  • Discovery Rule: In some cases, the clock on the statute of limitations may not start running until the date when the cause of action is discovered or should have reasonably been discovered. This rule typically applies in situations where the wrongful act or negligence leading to the death was not immediately apparent.
  • Tolling for Minors: If the deceased person’s surviving family members include minors (children under 18 years old), the statute of limitations might be tolled until they reach the age of majority, which is 18 in Virginia.
  • Defendants’ Absence: If the person or entity responsible for the wrongful death is not present in the state or cannot be served with legal papers, the statute of limitations may be tolled until they can be properly served.
  • Filing of a Personal Representative: If a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate was not appointed within two years of the death, the statute of limitations might extend until that happens.

To ensure that you comply with the applicable statute of limitations and file your wrongful death claim within the appropriate timeframe, consult an experienced wrongful death attorney in Virginia. An attorney can provide guidance on the specific deadlines that apply to your case and help you initiate the legal process in a timely manner.

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What Types of Compensation Can I Receive from a Fairfax Wrongful Death Claim?

If you succeed in a wrongful death claim in Fairfax, Virginia, you and other eligible family members may be entitled to various types of compensation, which can help alleviate the financial and emotional burdens caused by the loss of a loved one.

The specific types of compensation you can receive may include:

  • Economic Damages:
    • Medical Expenses: You can recover reasonable medical expenses incurred for the deceased person’s treatment related to the injury or illness that led to their death.
    • Funeral and Burial Costs: You can seek compensation for the expenses associated with the deceased person’s funeral and burial or cremation.
  • Lost Income: If the deceased person was a wage earner and contributed financially to the household, you may be eligible to recover the value of the income and benefits they would have provided over their expected lifetime.
  • Loss of Services and Support: Compensation may be available for the value of the services, support, and care the deceased person provided to their family. This can include tasks like household chores, childcare, and other forms of assistance.
  • Loss of Companionship and Consortium: Family members who were dependent on the deceased person for emotional support, guidance, and companionship can seek compensation for the loss of these intangible aspects of the relationship.
  • Pain and Suffering: In some cases, the court may award damages for the deceased person’s pain and suffering experienced before their death.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases where the responsible party’s actions were particularly egregious or willful, the court may award punitive damages as a form of punishment and deterrence. However, Virginia law places limitations on punitive damages.
  • Survival Actions: In addition to wrongful death claims, Virginia law allows for survival actions. These actions are brought on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and can seek compensation for the pain, suffering, and other damages the deceased person experienced prior to their death.

The specific compensation you can receive may vary depending on the circumstances of the case, the relationships between the deceased person and surviving family members, and other factors. Additionally, Virginia has laws that govern the distribution of damages among eligible family members in wrongful death cases.

To navigate the complexities of a wrongful death claim and to determine the potential compensation available to you and your family, consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Fairfax. An attorney from Right Path Law Group can help you understand your rights, assess the value of your claim, and advocate on your behalf to pursue fair compensation.

How Can I Recover Compensation for a Wrongful Death in Fairfax?

Recovering compensation for a wrongful death in Fairfax, Virginia, typically involves a legal process that may include:

  • Consult with an Attorney: Start by consulting an experienced wrongful death attorney in Fairfax. An attorney can evaluate the merits of your case, explain your legal rights, and guide you through the process. Many attorneys offer free initial consultations.
  • Investigation: Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence, such as accident reports, medical records, witness statements, and expert opinions. This evidence will help establish liability and the damages suffered.
  • Determination of Eligible Family Members: Virginia law specifies who has the legal standing to file a wrongful death claim. Your attorney will determine which family members are eligible to bring the claim, such as a personal representative, surviving spouse, children, parents, or other close relatives.
  • Filing the Lawsuit: Your attorney will initiate the legal process by filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the appropriate Virginia court. The complaint will outline the facts of the case, the responsible party’s actions or negligence, and the damages sought.
  • Service of Process: The defendant must be properly served with legal notice of the lawsuit. This involves delivering the complaint and a summons to the defendant, notifying them of the legal action against them.
  • Defendant’s Response: The defendant will have a certain period to respond to the lawsuit, typically by filing an answer. They may also raise defenses or counterclaims.
  • Discovery: Both sides engage in the discovery process, which involves exchanging information, conducting depositions, and gathering evidence. This phase helps establish the facts of the case and may lead to settlement negotiations.
  • Settlement Negotiations: Your attorney may engage in negotiations with the defendant’s legal team to reach a settlement agreement. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial.
  • Trial: If the case goes to trial, both parties will present their evidence, witnesses, and arguments to the court. A judge or jury will then determine liability and damages.
  • Verdict and Judgment: After the trial, the judge or jury will render a verdict. If liability is established, the court will also determine the amount of compensation to be awarded to the eligible family members.
  • Distribution of Compensation: Once compensation is awarded, your attorney will work to ensure that it is distributed among the eligible family members according to Virginia law and the court’s order.
  • Appeals: In some cases, either party may choose to appeal the court’s decision if they feel judicial errors affected the outcome. Appeals can extend the legal process.

Recovering compensation for a wrongful death can be a complex and emotional process. Having a skilled wrongful death attorney on your side can help you navigate the legal system, protect your rights, and pursue the compensation you deserve. The specific steps and timeline can vary depending on the unique circumstances of your case.

Reach Out to an Experienced Fairfax Wrongful Death Attorney Today

Pierre Prialé, Fairfax personal injury attorney
Pierre Prialé, Fairfax Wrongful Death Attorney

You and your family have suffered greatly because of the untimely death of your loved one, and you deserve to receive compensation for all your losses and damages. You shouldn’t have to bear the costs of final arrangements and other expenses associated with your family member’s death, and you have every right to hold the at-fault party accountable.

When you work with Right Path Law Group, we will take an active interest in your case and thoroughly investigate the incident to collect the evidence necessary to support your claim. We are committed to helping you and your family through this difficult time and improving your odds of getting the favorable outcomes you expect and deserve.

Fill out our online contact form or call us today at (703) 637-9999 for a free consultation of your case and learn more about how we can help.