What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Virginia?
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The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years in Virginia, per Va. Code § 8.01-244. This law places a deadline on how long you have to file suit.
If someone else caused your loved one’s accident and your loved one passed away from their injuries, you could hold the responsible party accountable and seek damages.
What Forms of Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Case?
Losing someone in an accident can leave a family with extensive bills and other financial hardships. Wrongful death damages allow you to seek some form of recovery for these costs and losses, including:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of income and services
- Your loved one’s final medical expenses
Because your loved one’s loss can leave you suffering far more than just financial losses, you could also seek non-financial damages, such as:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- And more
We may need to seek expert testimony in order to establish the value of some of these losses. We can tell you what damages you may be able to seek based on the details of your situation.
What Qualifies As a Wrongful Death Case?
According to Virginia law, a wrongful death is any case where another person’s negligence, recklessness, or other wrongful act caused the victim’s death (per Va. Code § 8.01-50). Private individuals, business owners, and major corporations could be held liable for a wrongful death.
Because this definition is broad, you may have lost your loved one in any number of accident types, including:
- Car accidents, including motorcycle or truck accidents
- Pedestrian or bicycle accidents
- Work-related accidents
- Use of defective drugs
We can tell you more about whether or not your case meets the qualifications of a wrongful death and how you could best proceed in your case.
How do You Prove Wrongful Death?
We will have to use evidence to show that someone else’s actions or inactions directly led to your loved one’s injuries and death. Depending on the nature of the accident, this may involve using evidence from the accident itself, gathering eyewitness testimony, gathering expert testimony, and more.
If the case is especially complicated, we may need to seek out several forms of testimony from experts, such as:
- Doctors and other medical experts
- Accident reconstructionists
For instance, if you have a defective drug case against a major pharmaceutical company, we will likely make use of expert medical testimony to show a direct link between your loved one’s use of the drug and their fatal health condition.
Should I File an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit?
Typically, we will begin your case as an insurance claim. During this process, we will:
- Determine what your case may be worth
- Gather compelling evidence to prove your injuries and the liability of the other party
Then, we will place a value on your damages and take our demand to the insurance company. They may respond by agreeing on the amount we’re asking for, or we may proceed into negotiations. If we can’t reach a fair settlement through negotiations, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
All this is to say that we may advise you to file suit if necessary, but an insurance claim can result in a full, fair settlement much more quickly. For this reason, we will usually pursue that route first.
We Can Handle any Complications in a Wrongful Death Case
The insurance company might not want to agree to a fair settlement. They may make a lower offer than is reasonable or dispute that their client caused your loved one’s accident and their passing. These cases can be complicated.
You can leave all of these conversations to us. We can handle all the legal issues and communications with third parties while you focus on your family and more important matters.
How the We Can Help After You Lose a Family Member
Losing someone you love can completely upend your life. We can be there for you as you seek a financial recovery, handling your legal burdens for you and offering guidance with compassion.
Consider the ways that we could support you during your case:
- We can handle all the evidence-gathering and negotiations with the insurance company. You don’t have to relive the details of your loved one’s accident for this purpose.
- If you have concerns about how to pay bills such as medical expenses while your case progresses, we can help you think through your options.
- We can help you determine when it makes sense to file a lawsuit or pursue negotiations with an insurer.
- We will help keep your case on track to meet the statute of limitations deadline.
Call the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC Today for Free
Let us review your case for free during your confidential, no-obligation consultation. We can even get started on your case at no cost to you.
You don’t have to be alone in your case. Call us today to learn more by dialing (571) 229-1800.