In our personal injury practice here at Burnett & Williams, we’ve handled some of Virginia’s highest Wrongful Death claims. We get a lot of questions from clients about Wrongful Death claims and the circumstances that fit into this challenging part of our law practice. With the recent spate of shootings across our country, including an accidental gun death last month right here in in Henrico County, questions about what constitutes a Wrongful Death case are more relevant than ever. A recent in-depth look into the shooting death of an innocent bystander in a Richmond housing project in October 2016 immediately calls to mind two key elements of any wrongful death case:
- The life of the victim was unfairly ended through no fault of her own.
- It will be very difficult for her survivors to recover any meaningful compensation unless the perpetrator has personal wealth or an insurance company can be brought into the liability claim.
FAULT. At the center of every personal injury case is the question of who is at fault. If you are injured because of your own poor choices and actions, you can’t make a claim against someone else. You have to live with the consequences of your own actions. But when a person is severely injured–or even killed–because of someone else’s negligence, that is when personal injury law steps in to help, ideally protecting innocent victims from having to shoulder the full burden of someone else’s mistakes. In some of our toughest cases, typically involving catastrophic car accidents, we work to maximize compensation for victims who have long-term disabilities because of another person’s mistake. Some of the worst of these cases involve victims with paralyzing spine injuries or a traumatic brain injuries that can never fully heal. Others lose limbs or even their life.
COMPENSATION. In every serious injury case, whether it be an automobile accident, a fall, or a gun-related incident, we work to maximize the appropriate compensation from all available avenues. But sometimes there just are not enough options available to address the full weight of the injuries. When a wrongful death is caused by a car crash there is almost always at least one insurance company involved, but low policy limits can leave the victim’s family woefully short of just compensation, unless the other driver has personal wealth. Even when the at-fault driver is personally wealthy, collecting financial compensation from them can be a tedious, difficult, and perhaps even impossible task. In a commercial trucking accident, policy coverage is typically much higher, in part to protect company assets and protect against serious losses that can occur when a tractor-trailer or similar vehicle is involved in an accident. When a client of ours was crippled in a commercial trucking accident, we were able to achieve a settlement of over 5 million dollars to help him adjust to the needs of his new life, including an inability to work, a specialized wheelchair van, and regular in-home care.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident or other incident that resulted in what you believe is a wrongful death or a serious injury, please contact us here at Burnett & Williams and we will help you find the best path forward for you and your family, so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.