Wrongful death is a civil claim that may be filed when a person’s death was caused by another’s wrongful acts or negligence. The claim is filed by the survivors of the person or by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. If the suit is successful, the court will order the wrongdoer to pay money damages to the deceased person’s survivors. If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, speak to a Virginia wrongful death attorney to find out what your legal options may be.
When Can You Bring a Claim?
A wrongful death suit may be brought whether or not there is also a criminal case. But the person’s death must have been the result of the negligence or wrongful actions of another. That negligence or act must have been a substantial factor or probable cause in the person’s death.
Who May File?
In Virginia, only certain people may file a wrongful death suit, including:
- A surviving spouse
- A domestic partner
- Any surviving children or other descendants
- Any other relative who is primarily dependent on the decedent for support or services, and is also a member of the same household as the victim
Damages in wrongful death claims are different from regular personal injury damages since the suit is not brought by the deceased person. Instead, it is brought by those who suffered as a result of the person’s death or to compensate the estate for losses caused by the death. Damages pertaining to the estate may include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical and hospital bills relating to the fatal injury
- Lost income
- Loss of training and guidance
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of love, emotional support, affection, attention, etc.
Statute of Limitations
Under Virginia law, wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the death. Beyond that time, the parties lose the right to file.
The death of a loved one is difficult enough to bear without knowing that another’s actions caused that death. Though money damages cannot undo the wrong, an attorney can help you
Speak with a Skilled and Compassionate Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Families who have lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another person should consider contacting a Virginia wrongful death attorney to discuss what legal recourse they may have for their pain and loss. Our legal team will work diligently to get your family the financial justice you deserve. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp also offers a free wrongful death guide for families who have lost a loved one in an accident. The guide covers topics such as the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim, what types of damages can be pursued, and who can be appointed as a personal representative.