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Wrongful Death

   

A wrongful death claim is a suit that arises from the death of an individual that was caused by the conduct of another. A wrongful death suit is different from other types of personal injury claims because the actual victim (the "decedent") is not bringing suit, rather it is the family members or the decedent's estate. As such, a wrongful death claim is brought to recover damages for the injuries that the surviving family and/or estate have suffered due to the death of the victim. The damages recovered do not include damages that are personal to the decedent, since the decedent is not allowed to recover for pain and suffering, mental distress, or any other form of compensatory damages unique to him or her. The purpose of a wrongful death suit is to provide relief to family members who have been injured emotionally and financially as a result of the family member's death.

To file a wrongful death suit in Virginia, you must show that:

  • The death of a person was caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default;
  • The act, neglect or default would have entitled the injured person to file an action to recover damages had the death not occurred (Va. Code § 8.01-50(A));
  • Monetary damages have resulted from the decedent's death.

Virginia law makes a distinction between persons who can file a wrongful death suit and persons who are beneficiaries. Only certain individuals can file wrongful death claims, and those that are allowed to sue do so on behalf of others. . Under Virginia law, a claim for wrongful death must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased. Va. Code § 8.01-50(C). The personal representative can be the executor or administrator of the estate as appointed in the will of the deceased, or if no executor is named, the clerk of the court will appoint a personal representative of the deceased's beneficiaries. Va. Code § 64.1-116. Siblings and cousins of the decedent do not have the right to bring the lawsuit unless they have been named as guardian or personal representative of the decedent, and they still have no right of recovery.

In all matters involving wrongful death it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the statute of limitations. If a loved one has been a victim of wrongful death, call Bledsoe Law Office now at (276) 523-5462 or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

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Bledsoe Law Office
408 Wood Avenue
Big Stone Gap, VA, 24219


Jonesville, VA
No. 2 Church Street*
Jonesville, Virginia 24263
(276) 346-3690


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1619 Highway 11W
Bristol, Tennessee 37620
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