Under Virginia law, those seeking damages in a wrongful death suit are bound by a two-year statute of limitations for seeking damages from a party or parties whose negligent, reckless, or intentional actions caused the death of the victim.
This specific time frame for hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney and bringing the case to court is self-explanatory, but grieving family members who are uncertain about the definition of a wrongful death claim may require further exploration.
Wrongful Death Synopsis
There are various scenarios that may fall under the legal definition of wrongful death. Whether it was the death of a family member due to a drunk driver, an act of murder, a work-related chemical exposure, or medical malpractice, the law permits surviving family members to move forward with a wrongful death case in order to receive compensation for their loss.
Regardless of the type of incident, the burden of proof falls upon the plaintiff who must be able to prove the following variables:
- Loss of human life
- Intent to cause harm
- Death was the result of another’s negligence or actions
- Family member(s) are experiencing financial hardship due to the loss
- Personal representative of decedent’s estate has been named
Further, it is important to understand that even though the burden of proof falls to the plaintiff, the standard of proof varies in a wrongful death suit. Often, the requirements are less stringent than in a criminal case and it is not out of the norm that a lesser charge be issued against the defendant while still assuming liability for the wrongful death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
Under Virginia law, within the specified two-year period, the following are permitted to submit a wrongful death claim.
- Surviving spouse or domestic partner
- Children or issue of deceased children.
Subdivisions of dependency and lineage may also be considered and include surviving parents or siblings, as well as any other relative who was dependent on or shared a household with the deceased.
Damages Awarded in a Wrongful Death Suit
The following damages may be awarded in a wrongful death suit
- All medical bills related to the care of the decedent before death
- All funeral and burial expenses
- Total of projected earnings if decedent remained alive
- Loss of financial support to surviving family members
- Loss of relationships with regard to surviving family members
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, Appleton, 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.
- Damages That Can Be Recovered in a Virginia Wrongful Death Case
- Who Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Action?
- Seeking Compensation for a Loved One’s Wrongful Death