Seeking Compensation for a Love One’s Wrongful Death | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Losing a loved one is always difficult, but when their death was the result of the negligence of another party, the grief families must cope with is often overwhelming, with funeral and burial arrangements and legal issues that must now be dealt with. A family member’s untimely death can also cause difficult financial burdens on the family, as well.

Virginia, like all states in the U.S., allows for a victim’s survivors to pursue damages for the losses they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death against the party or partiers who are deemed responsible. This can be done through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.

Virginia law defines wrongful death as “the death of a person . . . caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of any person or corporation, or of any ship or vessel . . .” This means that any individual or entity that acted or behaved in a way that contributed to the victim’s death – regardless if the action or behavior was unintentional or not – can be found liable for the victim’s death.




All damages that are ultimately recovered in a wrongful death claim or lawsuit are for the benefit of the victim’s survivors – spouse, children, parents, or next of kin. The claim or lawsuit can be brought forward by a family member, the executor of the victim’s estate, or a party appointed by the court.

Under Virginia law, there is a two-year statute of limitation to file a wrongful death claim. This means survivors only have two years from the day the victim died to file. There may be exceptions to that rule, depending on the circumstances of the case. A Virginia wrongful death attorney will be able to determine what the statute of limitation is in your situation.

Some of the losses that a family may be compensated for in a wrongful death claim include:

  • Expenses: Compensation for the costs of the medical treatment the victim may have received prior to their death, funeral and burial expenses
  • Emotional Anguish: Compensation for the emotional suffering, grief, and sorrow the victim’s death has caused the family to suffer
  • Loss of Support: Compensation for the loss of income, benefits, and services the victim provided and/or would have provided their family in the future
  • Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the personal losses the family will suffer without the victim’s love, companionship, and support

Contact Shapiro & Appleton 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.

Although nothing will ever make up for the death of the victim, filing a wrongful death claim can bring civil relief to a victim’s family. This is separate from any criminal charges the at-fault party may be facing.

Our law firm 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 personal representative.