Wrongful Death
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The questions on this page were answered by our team of Virginia Beach & Norfolk personal injury attorneys. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.

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  • How can I calculate a just amount of compensation for my pain and suffering in a wrongful death claim?

    No amount of money will make up for the loss of a loved one, but your wrongful death attorney can help you to calculate a fair and reasonable sum for your pain and suffering. 

  • Do I have a right to noneconomic damages in a wrongful death case?

    Yes. Noneconomic damages may also be referred to as pain and suffering. However, note that in a wrongful death case, the deceased's pain and suffering does not factor directly into a settlement, but the family member's suffering and pain is a major factor. 

  • What damages can be recovered in a wrongful death claim?

    The specific damages that can be recovered depending upon the circumstances of the victim’s death, however, in general, family can pursue compensation for funeral expenses, loss of the victim’s income, and noneconomic losses such as loss of the victim’s companionship, care, guidance, assistance, affection, and protection.

    The victim’s family may also file a survival action in order to recover certain economic losses the victim’s estate suffered, including medical expenses, loss of income, and any other losses the victim may have been able to recover in a personal injury lawsuit had they recovered.

  • Who can file a wrongful death claim?

    Under Virginia law, survivors must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the victim’s death. Legally, survivors are considered the following (in order of who has the legal claim):

    • The surviving spouse and children of the victim
    • The surviving parents of the victim. If the parents are not alive, then the siblings of the victim may file.
    • Any relative who was financially dependent on the victim
    • Any relative who is entitled to inherit from the victim’s estate based on the intestacy laws of Virginia.

  • What is a wrongful death claim?

    Virginia law allows family members to pursue compensation if their loved one’s death was the result of the negligent or reckless actions of another party or parties. Examples of incidents that could justify a wrongful death claim include:

    • Defective or dangerous product
    • Fatal assault, battery, or because of other crime
    • Fatal vehicle accident cause by a driver who exhibited careless, drunk, or reckless behavior.
    • Medical malpractice
    • Nursing home abuse or negligence
    • Slip and fall or other premises liability accident on private property
    • Work-related death

  • What are some of the common problems with backyard pools that can cause injury?

    Many pool owners lack proper fencing or a pool cover. If the pool is not in use and a child falls in unsupervised, it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit. 

  • Do beneficiaries need to be named in a wrongful death lawsuit?

    Only the plaintiff and the person who died must be named in a wrongful death insurance claim or civil lawsuit.

    Technically, the person named as the plaintiff is acting in place of the deceased individual and on behalf of the estate of the man, woman or child who died. How an insurance company wrongful death settlement or jury award is divided up is determined by section 8.01-53 of the Virginia Code.


  • Can someone other than a parent file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a child?

    A mother, father or legal guardian usually acts on behalf of a deceased child when it comes to handling a wrongful death insurance claim or civil lawsuit. This situation is not absolute, however.

    By statute,, a family or the child’s estate can designate a legal executor for the purposes of filing a lawsuit. Consulting with a Virginia wrongful death attorney before taking the option of having someone other than a parent or guardian represent the child will ensure that legal challenges to the arrangement do not block recovery of compensation and damages from the person or organization that caused the death.


  • How do I know if I have a wrongful death case in Virginia?

    Negligence, recklessness or intent on the part of the person or organization that is responsible for a person’s death justifies filing a wrongful death insurance claim or civil lawsuit. You can take legal action for a wrongful death if you are authorized to act on behalf of the estate of the person who died.

    As Virginia wrongful death attorneys, my colleagues and I concentrate on cases involving negligence, such as medical errors or car crashes, and from recklessness, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

    A person authorized to act on behalf of a wrongful death victim’s estate can be a parent, brother, sister, other family member, executor or trustee.


  • What is the Virginia wrongful death statute of limitations?

    The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Virginia is within two years of the death of the injured person. (Va. Code 8.01-244). A statute of limitations is the period during which one can bring a legal claim in a court of law. For claims involving wrongful death, or death at the hands of another due to misconduct or negligence, a civil lawsuit to recover damages must be brought within 2 years after the death occurs.  If claims are not brought within their statute of limitations period they will be time barred by the court. If a loved one has passed and you believe a wrongful death claim is appropriate it is important to contact a law firm like this one that has successfully tried wrongful death cases in the past as soon as possible.