To succeed in bringing a wrongful death claim in Virginia, North Carolina, or elsewhere, you have to prove the following four points:
- The death was caused, either in whole or in part, by the defendant.
- The death came about because the defendant was negligent or strictly liable for the death. This means, for example, you can't file a wrongful death suit against your loved one's doctor if your loved one died of cancer, unless the doctor did not take the normal and necessary steps that doctors take when battling a patient's cancer.
- The death affected a surviving spouse, child/children, or other dependents of the victim who would be beneficiaries from a wrongful death settlement or jury verdict. Basically, this means the death of the victim must have personally damaged an immediate family member who can collect compensation.
- The death of the victim led to monetary damages.
Get more in-depth information by downloading our legal guides focused exclusivley on the wrongful death claims process:
Laws differ from state to state, of course, so this is just a very general outline for determining whether or not your wrongful death claim has the grounds to proceed. To get an idea of the instructions provided to a jury about what types of damages they can consider awarding to a family member of a victim in a wrongful death suit, take a look at this page.
Our firm understands that, during this difficult time, you and your loved ones do not want to stress over haggling with the at-fault party's insurance provider or other entity. This is an important reason why you should consult with a wrongful death attorney - hiring an attorney allows you to take some of the burden off your shoulders so you can focus on the grieving process.
For more information, feel free to review these legal articles:
- Damages Allowed in a Virginia (VA) Wrongful Death Case
- State Sovereign Immunity in Wrongful Death Cases