Wrongful Death

An Experienced Attorney Helping You Recover from the Financial Loss and Emotional Loss from a Loved One’s Death

The death of a loved one is a very difficult time for any family. When death comes suddenly or unexpectedly, it becomes even more difficult for the family to cope with the loss. When a car crash or medical negligence causes the death, it can unravel even the strongest families. At the Krasnow Law Firm, we are aware of the problems that result from the death of a loved one and never lose sight of the difficulties created for family members. Through the years we’ve helped many families of Roanoke, Blacksburg, Christiansburg and other towns and cities of Southwest Virginia, Virginia and West Virginia recover fair compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one.

Wrongful Death and Personal Injury: the Legal Distinctions

Wrongful death cases are very similar to personal injury cases whether caused by a motor vehicle crash or medical malpractice, in the way they are handled, but the elements of damages that may be recovered are different. When someone has been injured, the damages are based upon what happened to that injured person. But, if that person were to die from those injuries (a wrongful death claim) the damages are based upon the impact, both emotional and financial, of the death upon the surviving family. Therefore, wrongful death claims are made for the benefit of the family of the person who was killed. Depending upon the circumstances, the persons entitled to share in the recovery from a wrongful death claim can include the spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters and even more distant relatives as well as any relatives who were financially dependent upon the person who was killed.

What You Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim

The damages that can be recovered in most wrongful death cases include:

  • Grief
  • Emotional Distress
  • Solace - the loss of comfort, care and companionship
  • Financial Loss
  • Medical & Funeral Bills

The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one can cause tremendous emotional distress that can sometimes causes a severe emotional or psychological injury. When this occurs, we encourage our clients to get whatever help they need, from pastors, ministers, grief therapy groups or mental health professionals. Whenever appropriate, we will retain the proper experts to document the injury and, if necessary, testify at trial to explain to the jury about the impact of this loss upon the surviving family members.

Generally, financial loss continues over the remainder of the decedent’s anticipated work life and sometimes the deceased person’s expected life span. For these cases, we hire economic experts to establish the true value of the economic loss, including the effects of raises, promotions, inflation, fringe benefits and even retirement. In negotiating settlements of wrongful death claims, we often discuss with our clients whether or not to use some of the settlement funds to purchase special types of insurance policies called annuities. Annuities guarantee long term payments to the surviving spouse or can be used to fund a child’s or even a grandchild's education.

While our firm’s efforts cannot bring back a loved one, we promise to do every thing in our power to see that the family is compensated to the fullest extent permitted by law. In such moments of grief and loss, and especially in cases when the loved one’s death could have been easily avoided, our clients deserve nothing less than that.


Library for Wrongful Death:

  • Kalafut v. Gruver (1990)   
    Dismissal of an action for a child's wrongful death against a tort-feasor whose negligence occurred when the decedent was in the mother's womb is reversed in a case where the child was born alive but died shortly thereafter because of injuries proximately caused by the defendant.
  • Hall v. Hall (1990)   
    In a wrongful death case, because an unbiased jury under proper instructions found that the evidence preponderated in the plaintiff's favor, there was no legal justification for a retrial on the issue of liability. The trial court erred in setting aside a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff and the jury verdict is reinstated as it relates to the issue of liability, and the case is remanded for a new trial limited to the issue of damages.
  • Stump V. Doe (1990)   
    The driver of a large station wagon was towing a 22-foot camping trailer on an interstate highway when a tractor-trailer overtook and passed him and he lost control of the vehicles. The station wagon and trailer overturned in the median strip, killing the driver's young daughter who was one of the passengers in the station wagon.

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The Krasnow Law Firm
301 W. Campbell Avenue
Roanoke, VA 24016
Phone: 800-345-3425
Fax: 540-982-7680
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