After a family member passes because of the negligence of another, you want justice. Additionally, while the criminal justice system may not offer it to you, you can likely file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits get you civil justice through compensation. This compensation is for you and your family’s losses that you suffered because of the loss of your family member.
Who can file?
In Virginia, a wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action that can be filed by the executor of a deceased person’s estate when the death was caused by the negligence or wrongful act of another party. A wrongful death lawsuit can only be filed if the deceased person could have brought a personal injury lawsuit against the same party if they had survived their injury. This means that the party responsible for the death must have breached a duty of care owed to the deceased person and caused their death by their negligent or wrongful conduct.
Some examples of situations that may give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit in Virginia are car accidents, medical malpractice and defective products. However, workplace accidents, premises liability injuries and intentional acts of violence also qualify.
Virginia wrongful death lawsuits
A wrongful death lawsuit in Virginia must be filed within two years of the date of death, unless an exception applies. The lawsuit must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, who is usually appointed by the court. The personal representative acts on behalf of the surviving family members and beneficiaries, who are entitled to receive a share of any damages awarded in the lawsuit.
Compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit is called damages, and you can sue for a variety of damages, like mental anguish and solace. Damages can also be sought for loss of income, services, protection, care and assistance. This is in addition to the expenses for medical treatment, hospitalization and the funeral. And, punitive damages are available in cases of willful or wanton conduct.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Virginia is a complex and sensitive legal matter that can require the guidance and representation of an experienced attorney. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you have rights and options.