Losing a loved one is always difficult, but it can be especially devastating when their death could have been prevented. If someone else's negligence caused your loved one’s, you may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. While no money can ever bring back a lost loved one, seeking compensation through the legal system can help survivors find some measure of justice.
What is Wrongful Death?
According to Virginia law, wrongful death is defined as:
"Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of any person…and the act, neglect, or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action, or to proceed against…and to recover damages…."
Essentially, wrongful death occurs when a personal injury results in death. Since the victim can no longer take action against the negligent party, a personal representative named in the deceased's will can take action on their behalf. If no representative is named in a will, then the court or a judge can appoint an individual.
Damages for Wrongful Death
Two categories of damages are available in wrongful death cases: compensatory damages and punitive damages. These damages would also be available in a personal injury case. However, since the would-be plaintiff passed away, the personal representative can seek them on behalf of the decedent, per Virginia law:
- Sorrow and Mental Anguish: This can include loss of companionship, consortium and comfort.
- Loss of Income: The wages and salaries which the decedent would have otherwise earned.
- Loss of Services: This can be applied if the deceased person provided some form of care or protection to a beneficiary that they now cannot receive.
- Healthcare Expenses: Damages relating to the care and treatment of the deceased following the injury that led to their death.
- Funeral Expenses
If the negligent party acted willfully, wantonly, and recklessly and without regard for the safety of others, then damages may be awarded to the beneficiaries as a means to punish the defendant.
Wrongful Death Attorneys in Virginia
The death of a loved one is always a tragedy. But when that death results from someone else's negligence, it can be even harder to bear. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else's careless actions, the wrongful death attorneys at Obenshain Law Group can help you seek justice.
To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us today at (540) 318-7360 or fill out our form online!