WHAT MAKES A WRONGFUL DEATH CASE:
When a person dies either immediately or sometime after and injury due to injuries caused by another person—or company’s—wrongful actions, Virginia allows for recovery for family members of the deceased. Each state has laws that set out rules for the cause of action for wrongful death. Virginia Code Section 8.01-50-56 is Virginia’s Death by Wrongful Act Article. It begins with setting out who can bring the action (Executor or Administrator). Next, provision specific to medical malpractice actions. The statutes then address amount and types of damages that may be sought and recovered such as lost income, funeral and any medical expenses, sorrow, mental anguish, and solace experienced by family—damages that are different than those recoverable in a personal injury case. Section 8.01-53 identifies who can recover those damages. 8.01-55 discusses how the personal representative may settle a wrongful death claim on behalf of the beneficiaries, but that any proposed settlement requires a judge to approve the settlement and an outline of the procedure for filing the Motion and the hearing.
The types and amount of recoverable damages are very specific to the particulars of each case. Also, there are many other “pitfalls” to consider and avoid when bringing the wrongful death claim. Consideration must be given to whether to qualify a personal representative for purposes of prosecuting the wrongful death claim only, or whether to have someone qualify as administrator of the estate. Identifying the person who has the standing / capacity to bring the claim or lawsuit and qualify as personal representative and the identity of all beneficiaries is important to determine as soon as possible. When a loved one dies because of someone’s negligence, reckless, or even willful conduct, it is very important that an attorney who has significant experience and understanding of Virginia wrongful death law to understand the coverages involved and the intricacies of each step of the process from who to qualify as personal representative to obtaining the maximum recovery for the family left behind struggling to deal with loss of their loved one. For a free initial consultation, call the attorneys that can get you results! Call Slaughter & Lupton Law today!