The Facts About Bringing a Wrongful Death Suit in Virginia?

May 31, 2022 | Wrongful Death

Doctor holding his equipment on operation room

Determining who has the right to sue for wrongful death in Virginia comes down to whether or not the deceased individual had a will. If the person did have a will, it will name an administrator. That administrator of the deceased person’s estate has the right to bring a wrongful death action against the negligent party.

However, when there is not a will, it’s generally the first family member who makes it to the courthouse. It can be the deceased party’s: 

  • Spouse 
  • Children
  • Sibling
  • Cousin
  • Grandchildren
  • Parents

 

But they need to go to the courthouse and be declared an administrator to bring a lawsuit against another party on behalf of the deceased party’s estate. 

What Qualifies as Wrongful Death?

Tragically, it’s not uncommon for people to die from common accidents. Perhaps they aren’t paying attention, don’t read directions, or embark on a dangerous task like electrical work that they know little about. A simple accident is not usually a cause for a wrongful death lawsuit.

However, when someone else is negligent or otherwise fails in their duty of care toward your loved one, you might have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. The key is that, had someone else been looking out for your loved one the way they should have, your loved one would not have passed away.

Here are some common scenarios that could qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit.

  • Car accidents where another driver was negligent and caused the accident
  • Work-related accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective or dangerous products (product liability)
  • Pedestrian accidents, including bicyclists
  • Truck accidents 
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents or other forms of premises liability
  • Birth injuries

 

What Damages Can You Seek in Wrongful Death Cases?

When pursuing a wrongful death case against a negligent party, there are several areas of compensation you can pursue. These include:

  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Sorrow and mental anguish
  • Loss of income, including wages and benefits that the person likely would have made during their lifetime
  • Loss of the comfort, companionship, advice, and guidance the loved one provided
  • Medical expenses from their illness or injury the negligent party caused
  • Loss of the deceased individual’s protection, assistance, or care

 

In some circumstances, you might be able to pursue punitive damages as well. This would be in the case of the negligent party being willful or wanton in their disregard for the safety and wellbeing of others, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

How Long Do Family Members Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Much like other types of personal injury lawsuits, you have two years to file a wrongful death case. The statute of limitations starts from the date of your loved one’s passing.

Failing to meet this requirement will likely keep you from being eligible for a case except in rare circumstances. An example of a circumstance where you might be able to file outside the statute of limitations would be if you weren’t aware that negligence caused the death of your loved one until later. Perhaps news comes out later about dangerous products or you discover medical malpractice when reviewing medical records or finalizing your loved one’s estate.

The best way to ensure you file your lawsuit in time is to discuss your case with a Virginia wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will immediately go to work evaluating your case and seeking evidence about what happened. Attorneys know the importance of working within the statute of limitations and filing a case quickly. 

Reach Out for Your Free Consultation

If you’re considering bringing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your loved one’s estate, schedule a free consultation with Geoff McDonald & Associates as soon as possible. We’ll protect the memory and rights of your deceased loved one and help you pursue financial restitution for their death. 

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.

FREE CONSULTATION

No Fees Unless We Win





    What Is Wrongful Death?

    Wrongful death is a term that may be applied to the death of a person due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct. Wrongful death is a type of civil case that may even be made alongside a criminal case if the death was due to criminal misconduct (like drunk...

    Who Has the Right to Sue for Wrongful Death in Virginia?

    The individual named as the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate plan or will has the right to sue for wrongful death in Virginia. But if the deceased did not have an estate plan at the time of their passing, the court can appoint an administrator to...

    Our Case Results

    $4,700,000
    Industrial Plant Accident

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Justin M. Sheldon Our client was killed in an industrial accident when an unauthorized worker was operating an overhead crane and pinned our client between…

    $1,750,000
    Rear-End Crash

    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial trauma, a dislocated hip and severe abdominal trauma when she was rear-ended at a traffic light by a tractor trailer. Suit was commenced shortly after…

    $1,250,000
    Assault of Log Truck Driver

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Geoffrey R. McDonald, Frank H. Hupfl, Justin M. Sheldon.
    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted and knocked to the ground while fueling his logging…

    $860,000
    Drunk Driving Crash

    Our client suffered neck/head trauma and a broken wrist after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was stopped at a traffic light. Upon rejection of a settlement offer of $325,000, our litigation…

    $700,000
    Rear-End Collision

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Justin M. Sheldon and Geoff R. McDonald, Richmond
    GMA’s client was injured as a result of a rear-end collision in the greater Richmond area. The crash occurred a little after…

    Client Reviews

    Cheryl and Rich were wonderful and patient with me throughout the case. All of my questions were answered. They really helped me through this tough time and made sure to let me know what was going on. I really thank Geoff…

    Troy Saxby

    My experience with GMA staff was first rate. They always represented in a professional way and made sure I had everything as far as paperwork. Kara and Theo made sure to answer all my questions, was always available and so…

    Shirley Brown

    Geoff McDonald & Associates is the team that you want on the field if you’re in need of top notch legal defense! Mr. Taj Henley demonstrated true customer service skills and his expertise made me feel comfortable throughout the…

    Julian Reeves

    Geoff McDonald & Associates: Thank you Taj Henley for all of your hard work and dedication! Very expeditious in my case and I was very satisfied with my settlement. Will recommend to all my friends and family!

    Shareema Williams

    Geoff is number one in my book and I especially appreciate the support of Mr Henley

    Ebony Conwell

    I was so pleased with the knowledge and support from Mr. Taj Henley

    Kideem Frierson

    Thank you Geoff McDonald &Associates. A special thank you to Mr. Taj Henley

    Denise Conwell

    Mr. Taj Henley displays exceptional professionalism for Geoff McDonald & Associates, along with commendable communication skills and customer service. By his work ethic and commitment to the people he serves his value to any…

    Justin Fitzgerald