Wrongful Death Lawyer Virginia Beach

Wrongful Death Claims

Losing a loved one is one of the most devastating experiences a person can go through. When that loss is caused by negligence of another party, the pain is exacerbated, leaving grieving families to deal with anger, unanswered questions, and financial struggles.

At Preston, Wilson & Crandley, PLC, we cannot undo the pain caused by the loss of a family member, but we have the experience necessary to get our clients the compensation they deserve.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims allow certain family members to seek compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost future income, sorrow, and more when a loved one is killed due to the negligence of another person.

Although no amount of money can ever make up for the untimely loss of a loved one, it can help ease the financial burden on families who are already emotionally devastated.

Wrongful Death Cases Caused by Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of wrongful death claims, and at Preston, Wilson & Crandley, PLC, our attorneys have decades of experience in handling motor vehicle accident cases of all kinds. The negligent actions of impaired, distracted, reckless, and/or careless drivers put everyone else on the road at risk, and when their behavior causes a collision that takes an innocent life, families may have the right to seek compensation.

Some examples of negligent actions that can give rise to a wrongful death claim include:

  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving like texting, eating, or talking on the phone
  • Reckless driving, including excessive speeding, erratic lane changes, ignoring traffic signals, and other reckless behaviors
  • Fatigued driving, which can impair drivers similarly to drunk driving and leads to an inability to react in time to danger
  • Failure to properly maintain vehicles, inspect them, and repair defects like faulty brakes

Wrongful Death Law in Virginia

Who Has the Right to Bring a Claim?

In Virginia, claims for wrongful death are brought by and in the name of the personal representative of the estate of the deceased person, not in the name of the deceased person and not in the name of the deceased person’s estate.  When a person dies as a result of a car accident, a wrongful death claim can be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate against the person or persons responsible for the accident that resulted in the death of the decedent.  Any amount awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit or any settlement of a wrongful death claim is paid to the statutorily prescribed beneficiaries.

According to the Virginia Code, there are classes of beneficiaries in wrongful death actions, and amounts recovered in wrongful death actions are distributed to the beneficiaries as follows:

  • The surviving spouse, children of the deceased, and children of any deceased child of the deceased.
  • If there be none such, then to the parents, brothers, and sisters of the deceased, and to any other relative who is primarily dependent on the decedent for support or services and is also a member of the same household as the decedent.
  • If the decedent has left both surviving spouse and parent or parents, but no child or grandchild, the award shall be distributed to the surviving spouse and such parent or parents.
  • If there are survivors under (1) or (3), the award shall be distributed to those beneficiaries and to any other relative who is primarily dependent on the decedent for support or services and is also a member of the same household as the decedent.
  • If no survivors exist under (1), (2), (3), or (4), the award shall be distributed in the course of descents as provided for in Virginia Code 64.2-200.

However, no parent whose parental rights and responsibilities have been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction or pursuant to a permanent entrustment agreement with a child welfare agency shall be eligible as a beneficiary. Under Virginia law, a relative is any person related to the decedent by blood, marriage, or adoption and also includes a stepchild of the decedent.

What Can a Beneficiary Seek Compensation for?

Beneficiaries in a wrongful death claims can seek compensation for the following:

  • Any sorrow, mental anguish, and loss of solace suffered by the beneficiaries. Solace may include society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices, and advice of the decedent.
  • Any reasonably expected loss in income of the decedent suffered by the beneficiaries
  • Any reasonably expected loss of services, protection, care, and assistance which the descendent provided to the beneficiaries.
  • Any expenses for the care, treatment, and hospitalization of the decedent incident to the injury resulting in his or her death.
  • Reasonable funeral expenses.

If the conduct of the person responsible for the accident evidenced a conscious disregard for the safety of others, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the wrongdoer for his or her conduct and to prevent others from acting in a similar way.

Why Choose Preston, Wilson & Crandley, PLC?

If you are looking for a wrongful death lawyer, you want someone you can trust. At our personal injury law firm, we have served clients in Virginia Beach and throughout Hampton Roads since 1955 and have a proven track record of success. We understand how overwhelming it can be to deal with the aftermath of a family member’s death, and we are here to help you every step of the way. We will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact Preston, Wilson & Crandley, PLC today to schedule a consultation to get started.

How It Works

Step 1: Initial Consultation

Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced wrongful lawyers. We will review your case, answer any questions you may have, give our initial impressions of your case, and get the process started toward fair compensation.

Step 2: Build a Case

After the initial consultation, we will start building your case. This includes gathering evidence by interviewing witnesses; taking photographs; obtaining copies of medical records, medical bills, and funeral bills; calculating lost income from the decedent; and obtaining copies of any relevant videos of the accident and/or accident scene.

Step 3: Negotiate a Settlement

Before filing a lawsuit, we will attempt to settle with the other driver’s insurance company. We try to settle because it saves the client time, money, and aggravation, but we are ready to file a lawsuit and take the case to trial if necessary to get our client the compensation he or she deserves.

Step 4: File a Lawsuit and Go to Trial

While settlement is often preferred, our lawyers have years of personal injury litigation experience.

We will file a lawsuit if the insurance company is unwilling to pay the compensation our client deserves, and we will take the case to trial if necessary.

We are experienced trial attorneys who will fight for you. Contact us today to get started.

We Do Not Get Paid Unless You Get Compensation

We understand that wrongful death claims can be expensive, and you may be hesitant to hire a lawyer due to concerns about legal fees and costs, but do not let that discourage you.

We handle wrongful death cases on a contingent fee, meaning we only get paid if we recover compensation for you.

What Our Clients Are Saying

Contact Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Virginia Beach, VA

If your loved one has died as a result of an accident in Virginia Beach, VA, call us today. Our experienced wrongful death lawyers will be there for you. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation.


“Throughout the case, John always kept us up to date by letter or phone. He told us exactly where we were and what could and could not be done. He doesn’t build it up. John is a top-notch personal injury lawyer who I have recommended to friends and would recommend to anyone needing a great lawyer.”

“I needed a lawyer for a personal injury case. After I did a lot of internet research, my wife’s lawyer suggested John Crandley Jr. from Preston, Wilson & Crandley. I read through their website and liked their style, so I called John.John’s best two qualities are that he’s direct and knows his craft inside out.”

“The law firm of Preston, Wilson & Crandley handled my case very well. Very professional. I’m very pleased with their service. Anytime I needed to reach them, they were either there for me or called me back immediately. Anytime I needed to know something, they explained it to me very thoroughly, very detailed so that I had a better understanding of it.”

 “I was very pleased with the way Preston, Wilson & Crandley handled my case. Their services were excellent from beginning to end — answering all of my questions, helping me through concern and stress, and handling my case correctly. I would absolutely use them again if needed.”