Wrongful death lawsuits in Virginia usually result from the negligent actions of another person who assumes legal liability for the damages that they cause. Common examples of wrongful death include fatalities resulting from medical malpractice, auto accidents, and workplace accidents. Here’s what you need to know about who can bring a wrongful death suit in Virginia.
Who can bring a wrongful death suit in Virginia?
Virginia state law § 8.01-53 governs who can file wrongful death claims in the state.
Direct family members are typically the parties who file wrongful death claims. The potential eligible plaintiffs include the surviving spouse of the deceased, children of the deceased, the grandchildren of the deceased, and the parents of the deceased (if they relied on the deceased for support). If none of those exist, then other family members may qualify to receive compensation.
The law gives priority to spouses and children of the deceased
If there are a surviving spouse and/or children, they are the primary beneficiaries of wrongful death claims in Virginia. Grandchildren are only eligible to collect on a wrongful death suit if their parent (the child of the deceased) is also deceased.
In the event that there are no surviving spouses, children, or grandchildren, then other relatives like sisters, brothers, and parents who relied on the deceased are next in line.
If the deceased has none of the surviving family members listed above, then Virginia’s intestacy laws dictate who receives the damages.
You should be aware that the Virginia statute of limitations sets limits on the timeframe in which plaintiffs can file suit.
Family members of the deceased, starting with spouses and children, are first in line to bring a wrongful death suit. If none of those exist, other family members may also file a claim.