What Losses Will a Successful Wrongful Death Case Cover in Virginia?

Jun 7, 2023 | Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Attorney in Virginia

Compensation in wrongful death cases can benefit the family of a deceased person who died because of injuries sustained by another person’s negligence. Your experienced personal injury attorney can explain compensation for wrongful death losses in Virginia in your case. Knowing the basics of wrongful death claims and compensation is the first step in pursuing compensation.

What Can Lead to Wrongful Death Claims?

Wrongful death claims fall under the umbrella of personal injury law. Lawsuits against a negligent defendant are civil suits where you (the plaintiff) may win monetary damages for your losses. Common causes of wrongful death lawsuits include:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Criminal acts


In cases where a crime caused the wrongful death, the defendant may face a wrongful death civil suit from the family of the deceased person while also facing criminal charges from the state. However, the burden of proof for you is much lesser in the wrongful death case than in the criminal case.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The law limits who may recover for wrongful death losses in Virginia. Only the decedent’s “statutory beneficiaries” may file a wrongful death claim, including:

  • A surviving spouse, child, or descendants
  • Surviving parents or siblings if there is no surviving spouse or descendants
  • A surviving dependent relative who lived in the same home if there is no surviving spouse, descendants, parents, or siblings
  • Any other surviving heir according to Virginia’s intestate succession laws if there are no surviving family members listed above


Types of Compensation in Wrongful Death Claims

If your family member died due to someone else’s negligence, you may pursue monetary damages from the liable party responsible for your loss. You may bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party to pursue economic damages, noneconomic damages, and possibly even punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are those that have a clear monetary value. Economic damages may include:

  • Burial expenses
  • Reasonable funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses for the decedent’s injuries that led to the wrongful death claim
  • Lost wages from the decedent’s time off of work due to their injuries
  • Lost future expected income had the decedent lived


Noneconomic Damages

Noneconomic damages cover losses that don’t have a clear monetary value but have intrinsic worth to the surviving family members. Noneconomic damages can include:

  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, comfort, society, etc.
  • Loss of household services that the decedent contributed to support
  • Loss of protection, assistance, and care


Punitive Damages

If the defendant’s actions that led to the death of your loved one were intentional, reckless, or malicious, the court may award punitive damages to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing. Virginia caps punitive damages at $350,000. However, this amount, along with economic and noneconomic damages, can greatly affect the final compensatory award.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims

To seek compensation for the untimely loss of your loved one, you must file your wrongful death claim in a timely manner. Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations beginning from the date that your loved one passes away. If you fail to file your claim in time, it’s likely that the court won’t hear your case.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Virginia

When you need help recovering compensatory damages for wrongful death losses in Virginia, contact our attorneys at Geoff McDonald & Associates. We have offices in Richmond and Virginia Beach, VA, and have proudly represented injured clients for over two decades. Call us today at (804) 888-8888 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a wrongful death attorney.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


No Fees Unless We Win

    When Should You Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney in Virginia?

    Losing a loved one is never easy, but your grief and financial difficulties are even more difficult to overcome when their death was due to another person’s negligence or intentional act. In this challenging time, consider hiring a wrongful death lawyer. They can take...

    The Facts About Bringing a Wrongful Death Suit in Virginia?

    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...

    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

    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…

    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…

    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…

    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…

    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