The unexpected loss of a family member is devastating. There are so many things that you find yourself doing that you never thought you would have to do. Grieving is so difficult in and of itself, and then there are all the funeral arrangements, gathering financial documents, and attempting to put everything in order. Sometimes the thought of contacting an attorney regarding a “wrongful death” is just not something you can manage to handle right away, but with any case involving gathering evidence and facts, it is best to get started as soon as possible.
Virginia Code section 8.01-50 defines a “wrongful death” as a death “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another party. The circumstances of the death must be the kind that would have supported a personal injury action if the deceased person had lived. The statute of limitations in Virginia is two years from the date of the incident.
Under Virginia’s wrongful death law, the right to file a wrongful death claim follows a specific order. Surviving spouses, surviving children, and the surviving grandchildren have the initial right to file the claim. If there is no surviving spouse, child, or grandchild, the surviving parents, siblings, and dependents may file. If there is no surviving parent, sibling, or dependent, the right to file belongs to whoever would inherit next under Virginia’s estate law.
We are here to help you through those tough times and fight for the rights of your family.