Losing a loved one is a tragic experience, especially if their death was preventable. When someone dies due to someone else's negligence or wrongful act, the surviving family members may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. But who can file this type of lawsuit?
The Definition of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Firstly, let us start by defining what a wrongful death lawsuit is. Simply put, it is a legal action taken by the survivors of a person who died due to misconduct or negligence by another party. This lawsuit aims to seek compensation and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The survivors of a deceased person are the ones who can file and receive compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the rules for who qualifies as a survivor may vary from state to state. In most states, the deceased's immediate family members, such as, spouses, children or grandchildren, parents, and siblings, can file and benefit from a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the deceased person did not have any immediate family members or if they were not financially dependent on the deceased, the court may appoint a representative to file the lawsuit on their behalf. This representative could be a personal representative of the deceased person's estate or a court-appointed representative.
Proving Negligence or Wrongful Act
To file a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant's negligence or wrongful act caused the death of their loved one. This can be challenging, but with the help of a skilled attorney, the plaintiff can gather evidence, expert testimony, and medical records to support their claim.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit varies by state, so contacting an attorney as soon as possible is essential to avoid missing the deadline. In Virginia the statute of limitations for most wrongful death suits is two years from the date of the death.
Compensation for Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The compensation awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit varies depending on the circumstances of the case. In Virginia the decedent's family may receive compensation for sorrow, mental anguish, solace, medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, and other damages. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the defendant for their actions.
Harrisonburg Wrongful Death Attorneys
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence, it is crucial to consult with experienced attorneys who can guide you through the legal process. At Obenshain Law Group, we specialize in serious personal injury law and have a dedicated team ready to assist you in filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact us today at (540) 318-7360 to schedule a consultation and seek the justice your family deserves.