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The elements of a wrongful death suit

Losing a loved one is never an easy event to live through; however, because death is a part of life, individuals in Virginia and elsewhere are likely to encounter these unfortunate matters at some point. While we can understand the death of elderly and terminally ill loved ones, we are shocked and surprised by the sudden death of a family member when his or her death was caused by the negligence of a loved one.

Surviving family members experience much loss, grief and sorrow following the sudden death of a loved one. In addition to the emotional and mental harm loved ones experience, financial hardships could accumulate due to medical bills, funeral costs, loss of companionship, lost wages and other related damages. Thus, family member will want to seek compensation from a negligent party that caused the death of their loved one.

In order to hold a negligent party accountable and recover compensation, a wrongful death suit could be filed. In order for this action to be successful, four elements must be proven. First, there must be the death of a person. Next, the negligence or the intent to cause harm must have cause the death of the person. Third, the surviving family member must have experienced monetary injury as a result. Finally, a personal representative for the decedent's estate needs to be appointed.

Whether it is due to medical malpractice, motor vehicle crash, airplane accident, exposure to occupational hazards, criminal behavior or any other type of accident could give rise to a wrongful death action. Those seeking compensation through a wrongful death action could recover pecuniary losses, which are based on the age, character and condition of the decedent, his or her earning capacity, life expectancy, health, intelligence and the circumstances of decedent's life.

While no amount of money can bring back a loved one wrongfully killed, it can address the harms and losses caused by the unfortunate event. Although it can take time to cope with the loss of a family member, recovering compensation through a wrongful death suit could help offset the harms and damages suffered.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Wrongful Death Overview," accessed Oct. 20, 2017

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