Dealing with an Unexpected and Wrongful Death

Nothing is as devastating as the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one. The hole left behind by the loss of a family member can never be filled by financial compensation, but holding the responsible parties accountable helps bring closure. Cases for wrongful death are complicated and require a great deal of thoughtful analysis. A solid case for liability must be made, often times involving use of expert testimony and presentation of voluminous evidentiary materials. The unique challenges presented by these cases are best overcome by use of seasoned attorneys who aggressively seek compensation adequate to reimburse you for your loss.

Adequate compensation includes an award of damages that is fair and fully reimburses you for the loss suffered. Common damages for wrongful death include compensation for funeral expenses, medical costs, pain and suffering and damages designed to replace the income of the deceased. To illustrate the severity of these cases, a look at the Virginia Tech shootings helps:

  • Family members of two of the slain students brought an action for wrongful death against the school, alleging officials should have known of the danger and acted more expediently to prevent deaths.
  • The Circuit Court awarded damages in the amount of $4 million for each family.
  • The school appealed, claiming it was not known nor could it have reasonably been foreseen that the shooter would take 32 lives on the school’s campus during a period of a little more than two hours on April 16, 2007.
  • The Virginia Supreme Court agreed with school officials that they could not have foreseen what eventually happened, and therefore did not have a duty to protect students against third party criminal acts.

This turnaround of the financial award was surely painful to the families involved. Thorough analysis and presentation of an airtight case helps prevent the possibility of appeal and allows for verdicts and damages awarded to remain intact. Our goal is to help ease the pain caused by the loss of your loved one by bringing the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, call a wrongful death personal injury attorney in Virginia and D.C. at Hartel, DeSantis & Howie, LLP for a free initial consultation.

By Michael A. DeSantis | Published October 27, 2014