The loss of a loved one is never easy; when their death is caused by another person’s negligence or wrongdoing, the loss can be unbearable. Virginia allows a personal representative of a deceased person to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of certain family members.
At Coletrane & Messersmith, we understand that no amount of money will ever compensate you for the unexpected loss of your loved one. We only hope to bring you a sense of justice and help ease the financial strain that can be caused by the death of a family member.
If your loved one was killed because of another person’s negligence or wrongful act, contact our office to discuss your case with a highly qualified attorney. All consultations are free and confidential.
What Is Considered a Wrongful Death in Virginia?
According to the Code of Virginia Section 8.01-50, the personal representative of a deceased person may bring a wrongful death lawsuit if the person’s death was caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another person, corporation, or party. A wrongful death lawsuit will only survive if it would have supported a claim based on personal injury had the decedent survived.
Our wrongful death lawyers understand how difficult this time can be. We are here to provide you the compassionate, dedicated representation you need. We are zealous advocates for our clients, always putting their interests first and working to get them the most significant recovery possible after the unimaginable loss of a loved one.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Virginia law only allows the personal representative of a decedent to bring a claim for damages based on wrongful death. A personal representative must be over the age of 18 and be appointed by the court. A personal representative named in a Will may be referred to as an executor, or it may also be the administrator of a decedent’s estate.
In cases where there is a fetal death caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person or corporation, the wrongful death claim may be brought by and in the name of the natural mother. Under Virginia statute, the woman carrying the child is considered the natural mother.
Who Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Not all loved ones will be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Section 8.01 -53 of the Code of Virginia specifies who may receive compensation from a wrongful death claim brought in the Commonwealth.
The following people may recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Surviving spouse;
- Children and grandchildren;
- Surviving parents and siblings;
- Any relative who shared a household with the deceased an is a dependent; and
- Any surviving family member who is entitled to inherit under Virginia law.
Damages are distributed according to the classes defined by statute. For instance, if the decedent had no surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren, the right to receive compensation would fall to the decedent’s surviving parents, siblings, or dependents. If you believe that you have a right to benefit under Virginia’s wrongful death statute, contact our office immediately.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Wrongful Death Case?
In general, you only have two (2) years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a claim based on wrongful death. There are exceptions and statutory extensions to this general rule.
It is always best to consult with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you file a claim within the statutory limits.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death Claims?
While any death caused by another person’s wrongful act, neglect, or default may give rise to a wrongful death claim. There are several common causes that may allow a bereaved family member to receive compensation.
Cases that may result in a valid wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Product liability (dangerous or defective products)
- Slip and fall accidents
- Truck accidents
If your loved one was killed because of another person’s negligence or wrongdoing, contact our office for a free wrongful death case evaluation. Our wrongful death lawyers proudly serve families throughout coastal Virginia, including Hampton and the surrounding communities.
Contact Our Office to Discuss Your Case
Call our office today at (757) 821-6949. Let us help ease the financial hardship created by the unexpected loss of a family member. We know that no amount of money can ever replace your loved one. Our legal team can help get you the money you need to cover funeral costs, loss of the decedent’s income, mental anguish, and in some cases, punitive damages.