Losing a loved one is a challenging life event. This is often worsened when a loved one is suddenly taken away from you because of the negligence of another party. This overwhelming experience can be difficult for family members in Virginia and elsewhere to navigate. However, there are options. In some cases the victim’s survivors may be able to file a wrongful death claim to assign accountability and pursue compensation for losses.
When filing a wrongful death action, a filer likely has many questions about the process and what rights they actually have. For example, an individual might have been severely injured before succumbing to their injuries. If that person was bringing a personal injury action prior to dying from their injuries suffered, it may be possible to pursue damages through a wrongful death action. Heirs to the deceased may bring the action if the deceased died as a result of the injuries stemming from the personal injury action. It should be noted that if a person dies from unrelated causes, the personal injury claim will likely still survive, allowing the executor of the deceased person’s estate to continue the action.
Some loved ones might seek punitive damages. However, with wrongful death actions, most states do not allow punitive damages to be recovered. With regards to the death of an unborn fetus, this varies by state as well. This is often dependent on the gestational age of the fetus and the accident involved. Because it can take time to die from fatal injuries, loved ones often question whether they can sue for pain and suffering. This can be a recoverable damage in a wrongful death suit and is based on the pain endured prior to death.
Finally, many wonder if it is possible to bring a wrongful death action for the death of a child or elderly family member. While the recoverable damages for both of these classes differ from those of a working adult, it may still be possible to file this action, depending on the circumstances.
No matter the age of the person, the loss of a loved one is always hard to process and cope with. When negligence is the cause of death, it is important for family members to consider their rights and options. Filing a wrongful death suit could help offset the losses and damages suffered by surviving family members.