The unexpected loss of a loved one is a painful and traumatic experience, especially when the death was due to the gross oversight or negligence of another person or entity. If you have suffered this type of loss, a Virginia wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you.
Wrongful Death Cases
A wrongful death claim is a legal claim filed by the heirs of someone who was killed because of someone else’s illegal or neglectful actions. Wrongful death cases in Virginia are filed in court like other personal injury matters. However, the parties to wrongful death cases can be different and the damages are calculated and collected in a different way.
Who Can File?
Virginia’s wrongful death statute states that whoever is appointed by a will or by the Commonwealth is the qualified personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. Under this statute, the legal beneficiaries of the deceased can collect in a wrongful death case. Additionally, adopted children and sometimes stepchildren are considered the deceased’s beneficiaries under the law.
However, when other family members (like parents or siblings) are financially dependent on the deceased, they may also collect wrongful death damages. In cases where the deceased has no spouse or children, their parents and siblings are the ones who collect.
In a case where there are no survivors who meet these definitions, parties who are covered by the deceased’s will or who would otherwise be eligible to inherit under Virginia estate law can bring a claim.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases are generally due to someone else being legally responsible for the death of your loved one, whether due to negligence or an intentional act. Common types of wrongful death cases have to do with:
- Medical malpractice
- Car and motorcycle accidents
- Product liability
In these cases, the loved ones may be able to collect damages that include pain and suffering, loss of companionship or consortium, reimbursement for the lost income and services of the deceased, medical bills related to the death, funeral expenses, and in cases of willful or extremely reckless conduct, punitive damages.
Attorney for Wrongful Death Cases in Virginia
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one and believe that it was a wrongful death, you should contact an attorney assist you in navigating all the legal issues. The attorney will handle all the legalities and allow your family to focus on healing. Contact Cook, Craig, and Francuzenko today to learn more.