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What damages can be claimed in a wrongful death suit?

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2022 | Wrongful Death

Residents of Virginia should fight back if they have lost a loved one to wrongful death. It’s important to know what damages are available in such a lawsuit.

What is considered wrongful death?

Virginia considers a wrongful death to be a death caused by neglect, recklessness or an intentional act of violence. Even if the defendant had no intention to kill anyone, if a victim died due to his or her actions, he or she could be held liable for the damages incurred as a result. Someone can file a wrongful death lawsuit in a situation in which a personal injury claim could have been initiated by the victim had he or she lived.

In wrongful death cases, a personal representative is required to file a claim for the decedent’s surviving family members. The only exception is if the death involves a fetus, in which case, the mother will have the right to file a wrongful death claim.

Who may be the beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim?

Certain family members can be named as beneficiaries in a wrongful death lawsuit. Usually, the first of those include the deceased’s surviving spouse and children. Sometimes, the victim’s grandchildren could be beneficiaries if their children are deceased. If there aren’t any surviving family members or a spouse, the beneficiaries could be the victim’s parents and siblings. It could also be a family member who was part of the individual’s household and relied on him or her for support. If none of the above family members exist, the beneficiary could be any family member.

What damages are recoverable in a wrongful death case?

When someone files a wrongful death claim, the surviving family members could recover certain damages if the lawsuit is successful. Compensation may be included for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost wages and lost earning capacity
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship and guidance
  • Loss of assistance, care and protection

Losing a loved one to wrongful death is devastating. Hold the at-fault party accountable.