Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
If the death of a family member was caused by another person’s actions, specific family members can receive compensation from a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. Those family members may include the deceased person’s surviving:
Under certain circumstances, siblings and other family members might also be eligible to bring a wrongful death claim.
Know How Financial Compensation Is Distributed
According to Virginia Code § 8.01-53, any compensation obtained from a wrongful death lawsuit generally goes first to the deceased person’s legal spouse and their children. If the deceased person’s child is also deceased, their grandchildren may be eligible to participate in a wrongful death claim.
The deceased person’s parents are eligible to be part of a wrongful death claim if they can prove the decedent regularly provided for their financial support—including food, shelter, medical care, and household support—for at least one year prior to their death.
In cases where the deceased person had no surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents, their siblings and other biological and adoptive relatives may qualify to be involved with a wrongful death claim. A lawyer in your area will help you determine your legal ability to file a claim for the loss of your loved one.
How Financial Compensation Is Assessed in a Wrongful Death Claim
Once you have determined your eligibility to bring a wrongful death claim, a lawyer will help you determine the financial value of your claim. A wrongful death claim can include economic and noneconomic recoverable damages. Economic damages are calculated based on money spent to cover expenses such as:
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
Economic damages can also include the cost of replacing income your loved one would have earned in the immediate and distant future if they had survived. Loss of income can include wages your loved one would have earned from employment and the financial value of services they would have provided for your family.
Noneconomic damages you can receive when you bring a wrongful death claim include sorrow, mental anguish, loss of company and companionship, and loss of assistance, guidance, advice, and direction from the deceased person. If the person who caused your loved one’s death was deliberate, malicious, or reckless, you might also be entitled to punitive damages.
A Lawyer Can Help Substantiate Your Wrongful Death Claim
If you believe your loved one’s death was caused by another person’s actions and entitles you to bring a wrongful death claim, the law requires you to prove certain elements of your claim. To bring a wrongful death claim, your loved one’s death must meet the following criteria:
- The deceased person’s death was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or failure to act of an individual person or of a corporation.
- Your loved one would have had the basis of a personal injury claim if they had lived.
- Your loved one’s death was a direct result of the negligent party’s action or lack of action.
If you or your lawyer can prove these criteria are relevant to the death of your loved one, you can fight for the financial compensation your family deserves.
Bring Your Wrongful Death Claim Without Delay
As soon as you suspect your loved one’s death was caused by another person’s negligent or reckless behavior, contact a local law office. It can take time for your family to make funeral and burial arrangements for your loved one. It can take a more significant period of time to navigate the grief process and come to terms with your family’s loss.
While your family concentrates on their emotional health, a lawyer can help you prove the required legal elements of your wrongful death claim. Your lawyer can also assign an appropriate value to your claim and ensure it is filed on time.
The time you have to file your claim is generally limited to only two years from the date of your loved one’s death. Avoid putting your ability to file a claim in jeopardy by discussing your potential case with a lawyer in your area as soon as possible.
Contact Our Team to Start Preparing Your Wrongful Death Claim
When your family loses one of its members due to another person’s action or failure to take a reasonable action, you deserve answers. You also deserve compensation for the contributions your loved one would have made to your family and for the emotional agony and sorrow of your loss. Contact the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC at (571) 229-1800 to find out who can bring a wrongful death claim for your unexpected loss today.