My husband planned on filing a personal injury lawsuit after he was severely injured by a negligent surgeon in Virginia (VA), but he soon died as a result of his injuries. How will filing a wrongful death suit change the damages that may be recovered? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

In addition to the lost income that your husband would have earned had the injury not occurred and the expenses for his care, treatment and hospitalization that would be recoverable in a personal injury action, filing a wrongful death lawsuit allows you seek compensation for reasonable funeral expenses and reasonably expected loss of services, protection, care and assistance. The negligent surgeon could also be held responsible for paying damages to compenste you for sorrow, mental anguish and solace, which includes loss of companionship, comfort and guidance from your husband. If the negligence was severe enough, punitive damages may also be awarded.