How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
According to Virginia Code § 8.01-50, you or your lawyer must prove the following elements to have a successful claim for wrongful death:
- Death was the result of the “wrongful act, neglect, or default of [a] person or corporation.”
A lawyer can help you determine the cause of your loved one’s death and the steps you can take to receive financial compensation.
Recoverable Expenses and Financial Losses in A Wrongful Death Claim
When a loved one’s death is caused by the negligence of another person or entity, you can receive financial compensation for your loss. According to Virginia Code § 8.01-52, if you are able to prove the legally required elements of a wrongful death claim, you may receive compensation for :
- Loss of your loved one’s company and companionship
- Current and future loss of the decedent’s income
- The decedent’s injury-related medical care and treatment
- The cost of the decedent’s funeral and burial expenses
Depending on the cause of your loved one’s death, you might also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where a loved one’s death was caused by wilful and wanton negligence (or recklessness) or intentional behavior. Your lawyer can help you determine whether punitive damages apply to your case.
Know Who Qualifies to Recover Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim
The loss of a family member will affect everyone in your family, but Virginia law only allows specific family members to receive financial compensation. According to Virginia Code § 8.01-53, the deceased person’s following family members may be able to file a claim for the wrongful death of their loved one:
The law is specific about who can receive compensation and in what order it will be distributed. A lawyer in your area can help you understand how the law applies to your ability to collect the financial compensation your family is entitled to.
Collecting Wrongful Death Compensation Is Time Sensitive
The process of learning of your loved one’s death, making funeral and burial arrangements, comforting surviving family members, and navigating the grief process can take time. While you recover from the unexpected loss of a loved one, your lawyer can start the process of filing your claim for wrongful death.
Like every state, Virginia places a time limitation on filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. From the date of your loved one’s death, you generally have two years to file your claim. If you do not meet the state’s predetermined timeline, you could forfeit your ability to file a claim at all.
A lawyer in your area can ensure your case is filed on time and can make sure you are aware of any circumstances that could alter the timeline. Your lawyer can also help you use the time you have to build a comprehensive and successful claim for financial recovery.
How a Lawyer Builds a Solid Wrongful Death Claim
Building a claim for compensation means you or your lawyer must prove the legal elements of your case. You must also prove how, when, and where your loved one was injured. Taking these tasks on in the midst of family upheaval can be challenging. A lawyer can help build your wrongful death claim by:
- Reviewing police reports, incident reports, and medical records
- Calculating the cost of medical bills and lost income
- Calculating the cost of funeral and burial expenses
- Interviewing witnesses to the cause of the decedent’s injuries
A wrongful death claim is complex, and the question of how do you prove wrongful death requires evidence a lawyer can help you obtain. Do not allow the complexities of your wrongful death claim to keep you from pursuing the financial compensation your family deserves.
Contact the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, Today
If your loved one’s death was caused by another person’s actions, we will help you explore your legal and financial options. With information from inside the insurance industry and a team member who spent a career representing insurance companies, we can help you fight for the compensation to which you are entitled.
Proving a wrongful death claim with the guidance and assistance of a lawyer could lead to the financial compensation your family deserves. Contact a team member at the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC at (571) 229-1800 to get started filing your wrongful death claim today.