Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Virginia?
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Virginia legislation authorizes “wrongful death” actions whenever the “wrongful act, neglect or default of any person or corporation” causes the death of an innocent victim.
The reality is that wrongful deaths often occur without notice and are always preventable, making these tragic circumstances some of the worst possible ways to lose someone you love.
At Wind Law, LLC our Richmond wrongful death attorney knows that the last thing grieving Virginia family members should have to do after losing a loved one to negligence is fight with an insurance company about what their life was worth. This is why we are here. Our compassionate personal injury lawyer in Richmond will take the lead in your wrongful death claim, pursuing the liable party’s insurance provider for your family’s complete compensation needs while you take the time to grieve.
Which Family Members are Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Virginia?
By law, only surviving family members who are statutory beneficiaries in Virginia can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
These beneficiaries include, in order of their rights to file a claim:
The surviving spouse.
Any children or grandchildren of the deceased.
Surviving parents, siblings, or any relatives who share the deceased’s household.
Another surviving family member who is entitled to inherit the deceased’s estate under Virginia intestacy laws.
Although the statutory beneficiaries are the ones who will recover compensation in a wrongful death action, Virginia law requires that the personal representative of the estate bring the lawsuit.
The personal representative is often named in the will or is appointed by a judge if a will does not exist.
We understand that no amount of money will bring back your spouse, parent, or grandparent, but we do believe that filing a wrongful death claim serves more than a financial purpose. It also allows our law firm to hold the liable party accountable for your incredible loss and potentially — based on the circumstances of their untimely death — change policies, procedures, and legal statutes to keep this tragedy from happening to another Virginia family.
What Type of Evidence is Required to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Virginia?
Virginia law requires more than an accusation that a wrongful death occurred. The eligible family member(s) seeking a claim must provide supporting evidence and documentation to prove their loved one lost their life because of the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.
That includes proving two critical factors:
If the deceased would have been entitled to bring a personal injury claim caused by another’s negligence if they had not lost their life.
The resulting death would not have happened but for another party’s wrongful act or negligence.
Proving these critical elements requires investigating the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death, which may be hard to conduct independently. This is why we are here. Our law office has extensive experience representing family members in wrongful death claims and can assess your case during a free consultation to provide the legal insight you need to understand if your case qualifies to move forward.
What Type of Financial Compensation Can Eligible Family Members Pursue During a Virginia Wrongful Death Claim?
Each Virginia wrongful death case is unique, which means calculating the damages each family can pursue will be based on the facts, evidence, and damages associated with their case.
Typical forms of compensation our Richmond wrongful death attorney may pursue include:
Expenses for the decedent’s care, treatment, and hospitalization related to the injury that resulted in their death.
Reasonable funeral expenses.
Loss of income of the decedent.
Loss of services, protection, care, and assistance the decedent provided.
Sorrow, mental anguish, and solace.
Although rare, in some cases, the family may be eligible to pursue punitive damages to account for willful, wanton, or reckless conduct that “evinces a conscious disregard for the safety of others.”
Contact Our Dedicated Richmond Wrongful Death Attorney
Contact our dedicated Richmond wrongful death attorney today if you have lost a loved one to negligence in Virginia. We want to hear your story to ensure your voice is heard and work diligently to ensure you are treated fairly and get justice in your case.
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