Wrongful Death


The Tragedy of Preventable Accidental Death

Ten year old Johnny was fatally injured in a Fairfax, Virginia wrongful death car crash. Unfortunately, the trauma surgeons at Fairfax Hospital could not save him.

The unexpected, accidental wrongful death of a loved one is every family’s worst nightmare. It is a tragedy that will change your life forever. Everything important has been taken away from you. Unfortunately, no one can bring your loved one back. But we can hold the wrongdoer accountable by bringing a wrongful death claim against him.

Virginia Wrongful Death Claims

Virginia law gives family members the right to hold the wrongdoer accountable for causing the preventable, accidental, death of a loved one. The law requires that the family prove that the wrongdoer was negligent (careless). A family member is usually appointed personal representative (administrator) who is authorized by Virginia law to bring the claim. The personal representative is, in effect, the trustee for the family members. At the conclusion of the case, the net settlement, or judgment, is distributed to family members who are designated “statutory beneficiaries.” The eligible beneficiaries are determined by Virginia statute (Virginia Code §8.01-53) - not by provisions of a will.

The Wrongful Death Recovery

Virginia law allows the “statutory beneficiaries” to recover for their individual losses, including:

  • sorrow (grief)
  • mental anguish
  • solace - loss of companionship, guidance, advice, and comfort
  • financial losses - past as well as future
  • loss of assistance, services, protection and care
  • medical and funeral expenses

Punitive Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Paul, a father of three young children, was killed by a drunk driver in a tragic Alexandria, Virginia wrongful death car accident on I-395 near the Duke Street exit. The drunk driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.24, three times the legal limit.

If the wrongdoer’s conduct went beyond simple negligence and was “willful and wanton,” the law allows the family to recover punitive damages against the wrongdoer. To prove punitive damages, the beneficiaries must show that the wrongdoer acted consciously in reckless disregard for the victim’s safety, knowing injury or death to another would probably result. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer and to set an example to deter future conduct. For more information about punitive damages, click “Punitive Damage Cases.” For more information about punitive damages against drunk drivers, click “Drunk Driving Accidents”.

Our Role in Your Wrongful Death Claim

Although we cannot bring back a loved family member, we will work aggressively to hold the wrongdoer accountable for causing this preventable, fatal accident.

During this very difficult time in your family’s life, we are here to provide caring and compassionate guidance and legal advice. Gerald Schwartz has 30 years experience as a compassionate, but aggressive, Virginia wrongful death lawyer. We are compassionate to you and your family regarding your loss, but aggressive in holding the wrongdoer accountable.


Alexandria wrongful death lawyer Gerald Schwartz has a statewide reputation for representing people seriously injured, and families who have lost loved ones, in car, truck and motorcycle accidents, from Fairfax to Fredericksburg, Virginia and surrounding communities.

Gerald Schwartz is one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Virginia” and a past president of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.


For a free consultation with Gerald Schwartz to learn your family’s legal rights during this difficult time, please call him directly at 1-800-423-0055.