Losing a loved one is never easy. When their death could have been prevented if it weren’t for the irresponsible or wrongful actions of another, it can be even more devastating. Fortunately, you may have the opportunity to bring them to justice for the harm they’ve inflicted on you and your family when you bring a wrongful death claim against them.
If your claim is successful, you’ll be able to recover compensation for some of the damages you’ve endured due to the death of your family member. Below, we discuss the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, which relatives will be able to file the claim, and the benefits you may be able to include in your civil lawsuit.
Filing Your Claim Within the Statute of Limitations
First and foremost, you need to make sure that your claim is filed before the statute of limitations runs out. In Virginia, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date that your family member passed away.
If you fail to file your claim in court within this two year timeframe, your case will no longer be able to be heard in a court of law, and you will be unable to hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions.
Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?
Virginia law is very strict in regards to who may file a wrongful death claim. Those who are able to file are referred to at “statutory beneficiaries” and include the family members and dependants of the decedent. But not every family member can file a claim.
The surviving spouse, children and grandchildren of the deceased will have the first opportunity to file, followed by their parents and siblings or anyone else who shared the same household and was dependant on the decedent. If none of the above apply, anyone in the family who would have inherited the deceased’s estate can pursue compensation in a wrongful death claim.
However, there are exceptions to these laws. For example, if a parent abandoned their child at any point in their childhood and upon their death, the parent attempts to file a wrongful death claim, they will not be allowed to pursue compensation for the loss of their biological child.
What You Can Expect from Your Benefits
There are any number of damages that can be included when calculating the value of your wrongful death claim. Some of these different losses could be the medical expenses the decedent incurred prior to their passing, mental anguish, lost wages and damage to potential future earnings, punitive damages, the funeral and burial expenses, the loss of companionship, guidance, and care, among other losses.
Your attorney will discuss the ways your family’s life has been impacted by the loss of your loved one in depth so that you can ensure that every single damage is accounted for.
Work with a Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you’re ready to take the leap and pursue the compensation you and your family need to pick up the pieces of your life, you can bring a wrongful death claim in Richmond, Virginia by getting help from a qualified wrongful death lawyer. Your attorney will be able to advise you after discussing the details of your case in your initial consultation.