Few things are as painful as losing a loved one to a wrongful death situation. Virginia residents who are in this circumstance should know about the laws in their state if they plan on filing a lawsuit.
What is wrongful death?
Wrongful death is caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness or deliberate act of violence. If a person dies as a result of any of these acts, the surviving family members of that person would have a legal right to file a lawsuit against them for damages. A good way to think about wrongful death claims is to consider whether the victim would have had a valid claim for personal injury if they had lived. If the answer is yes, then the person’s family typically has a legitimate reason to file a wrongful death claim.
What situations can lead to wrongful death?
There are many different scenarios that could lead to wrongful death. Car accidents and other types of motor vehicle accidents are very common. For example, if a person was driving recklessly or drag racing on a highway and ended up causing a serious crash that killed another person, it would be considered a wrongful death situation.
Some types of workplace accidents could lead to wrongful death. An act of violence, such as during the commission of a crime, that causes a person to die is another example. Even using a defective product that results in death can be considered a situation that causes wrongful death.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
In Virginia, the personal representative or executor of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the surviving family members. The lawsuit can be filed on behalf of a surviving spouse, child or parent of the deceased. If there was no one named to that role by the individual prior to their death, the court could appoint someone to serve as a personal representative.