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Wrongful Death Cases

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The $5.9 Million Wrongful Death Settlement for Eric Garner’s Family

When Eric Garner died a year ago after being wrestled to the ground during an arrest by New York City police officers, many observers of a cell phone video of the incident felt that he had died because the police mishandled the situation. Last week, the city settled out of court with Eric Garner’s family for a $5.9 million “wrongful death” payment. While the city didn’t explicitly admit to guilt as part of the settlement, over the past year, the Chief of Police and the Mayor of New York have said that mistakes were made and that the entire force has been retrained as a result of what happened during Mr. Garner’s arrest.

When someone is killed as a result of the misconduct or negligent actions of another person, their survivors can be entitled to receive compensation for their untimely death. The person who caused the injury that resulted in death can be held liable for the damages, or another person or organization if they were acting as an agent of another entity (in this case the City of New York). Under Virginia Law, “the juries or court” for wrongful death cases “may award such damages as to it may seem fair and just,” typically determined by considering:

1. Sorrow, mental anguish, and solace which may include society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice of the decedent;

2. Compensation for reasonably expected loss of (i) income of the decedent and (ii) services, protection, care and assistance provided by the decedent;

3. Expenses for the care, treatment and hospitalization of the decedent incident to the injury resulting in death;

4. Reasonable funeral expenses; and

5. Punitive damages may be recovered for willful or wanton conduct, or such recklessness as evinces a conscious disregard for the safety of others.

At Burnett & Williams we have helped many families over the years seek justice in wrongful death cases, including a multi-million dollar court decision that established a new record in the Commonwealth. These cases can never fully compensate loved ones for their loss, but they can help provide a sense of justice and the means to proceed with a new life.

If you have questions about whether you might be eligible for compensation because of a serious injury that was caused by another person, contact our expert lawyers in Richmond, Reston, Leesburg, Midlothian, Winchester, or Hopewell for a confidential, no-fee consultation. Toll free: 800-969-1650.