Losing someone you love is devastating and life-altering. That impact worsens when someone else’s negligence causes the death. Unexpectedly losing someone has an emotional impact and a financial one, as well. While we understand nothing could compensate for your loss, you can pursue money for the wrongful death to provide a measure of justice and to help you financially while you heal.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Virginia?
In Virginia, many people can benefit from a wrongful death claim, but only the deceased’s personal representative can bring the claim. The personal representative is usually named in the deceased’s will. However, if there is no will, the court can name a personal representative.
While the estate’s representative must bring the lawsuit, the statutory beneficiaries are the ones who will recover compensation. Statutory beneficiaries include:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving parents
- Surviving siblings
- Any relatives who shared a household with the deceased upon their death
- Any surviving family member who could inherit the deceased’s estate under intestacy law
Recoverable Damages in Wrongful Death Claims in Virginia
We understand that no compensation can make up for your loss, but recovering money from the negligent party can improve your financial circumstances. The compensation you receive will depend on the specifics of your case but may include the following:
- Medical expenses: You can recover medical expenses incurred by the deceased before their death. These expenses may include hospital stays, surgery, and medication related to the injuries sustained that caused your loved one to pass away.
- Funeral and burial expenses: Planning a funeral and burying someone can be expensive, and you should not have to bear those expenses. As a result, the personal representative can recover these expenses and pay the funeral home before the rest of the compensation is distributed to the statutory beneficiaries.
- Value of lost wages: You can recover the income that your loved one would have earned if they hadn’t passed away, including any wages they lost because of the injury prior to their death.
- Value of lost benefits: You can also recover the value of benefits provided by the deceased. For example, if you and your family were on their health insurance, you can recover the value of those benefits.
- Sorrow and anguish: Losing someone is a traumatic event that can leave you emotionally devastated. While no money can help you emotionally recover, if the decedent had filed a personal injury claim prior to their death, you can seek money for your sorrow and mental anguish through a survivor claim.
- Loss of care, companionship, guidance, and comfort: You can recover the value of services and companionship that your loved one would have provided if they hadn’t died. This can include childcare, household work, companionship, and safety.
- Pain and suffering: If your loved one experienced any pain and suffering, you are entitled to pursue compensation for their pain in the wrongful death claim.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
Under Virginia law, a personal representative must bring a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the deceased’s death. Failing to file within the two-year window may bar you from recovering compensation through the court system.
As a result, you should file a wrongful death claim as soon as possible after the deceased’s death to preserve your legal rights.
Contact the Wrongful Death Attorneys of Whitestone Young, PC
At Whitestone Young, PC, we understand the emotional and financial consequences of losing someone. We also know that no amount of money can compensate for your loss, you still deserve as much justice as possible.
Using our knowledge and years of experience practicing personal injury law, we can pursue the compensation you deserve. To discuss your options with a compassionate attorney, contact us at 703-591-0200.