The following is the exact jury instruction used by personal injury lawyers in a Virginia Circuit Court for wrongful death lawsuits. A judge will use this instruction to explain to the jury the types of damages that are available to the family of a loved one who was killed in an accident caused by someone else's carelessness or negligence.
If you find your verdict for the plaintiff, then in determining the damages to which he is entitled, you shall include, but are not limited to, any of the following which you believe by the greater weight of the evidence were caused by the negligence of the defendant as damages suffered by the beneficiaries:
- (1) Any sorrow, mental anguish, and loss of solace suffered by the beneficiaries. Solace may include society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices, and advice of the decedent.
- (2) Any reasonably expected loss in income of the decedent suffered by the beneficiaries; and
- (3) Any reasonably expected loss of services, protection, care, and assistance which the decedent provided to the beneficiaries.
- (4) Any expense for the care treatment, and hospitalization of the decedent incident to the injury resulting in his death; and
- (5) Reasonable funeral expenses.
If you award damages under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) above, you may distribute these damages among [between] (name of spouse, children, and children of the deceased child of decedent) or (names of surviving statutory beneficiaries).
If you award damages under (4) and (5) above, you shall specifically state the amount of damages for each.
So what does this actually mean? Well, it means if enough evidence is found, a loved one has the right to pursue damages for the pain and suffering associated with losing your relative or significant other, lost income that was earned by your relative or significant other, the intangible loss to the victim's offspring, hospital expenses, and funeral expenses.
Additional Information about Wrongful Death Claims