It is hard enough for loved ones to experience the death of their family member. When a loved one dies because of the negligence or recklessness of another person, the grief can be especially painful. Virginia allows family members of the deceased to bring civil lawsuits to recover for losses resulting from a loved one’s untimely death at the hands of another person. Common causes of wrongful death are car accidents, motorcycle accidents, property owner’s negligence, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice, although this list is certainly not exhaustive
What Do I Need to Prove to Succeed in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Code of Virginia Section 8.01-50 specifically addresses the requirements for pursuing a wrongful death claim in Virginia. The statute lays out the rules for how and when a plaintiff can bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
The act states that the following must have taken place for the plaintiff to successfully pursue a wrongful death action:
- A person died because of the wrongful act, neglect or default of another person or corporation;
- If the deceased had not died, they would have been able to bring a personal injury lawsuit caused by another’s negligence; and
- The resulting death would not have happened but for the wrongful act or negligence of another party.
The deceased person’s family members can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. To be sure, Virginia law states that only the following people may bring a wrongful death action:
- The deceased person’s spouse, children or grandchildren;
- The deceased person’s parents; and
- Other relatives who were entitled by Virginia law to inherit money or possessions from the deceased person.
It is important to note that Virginia has a statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits. As such, if the plaintiff does not file a lawsuit within two years of their loved one’s wrongful death, they forever relinquish their rights to pursue compensation.
What Damages Can a Court Award Me in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Virginia’s wrongful death statute specifies that successful wrongful death plaintiffs may recover damages for reasonable funeral costs, medical fees and hospital bills of the deceased person and the deceased person’s lost earnings. Plaintiffs may also recover compensation for the pain and suffering that resulted from their loved one’s death.
The calculation of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit is a complex process. Many times, financial experts or economists are needed to accurately figure out the amount of loss the family of the deceased person has experienced. Virginia does not have a statutorily imposed cap on the amount of money awarded in wrongful death settlements unless the defendant is a Virginia sheriff or deputy.
Contact Us Today for Help
Every wrongful death case presents significant challenges, which is why you need a skilled attorney to pursue your interests. Our personal injury attorneys have years of experience aggressively representing Fairfax, Virginia wrongful death clients. Call or contact Whitestone Young, P.C. today for professional guidance regarding your case.