The loss of a loved one is always emotionally difficult, especially if their death was preventable. If your family member died as a result of someone else’s carelessness or intentional actions, a wrongful death claim could help relieve the financial pressure you’re suffering, giving you the breathing room you need to focus on your family. Below are a few things everyone in this situation should know about before pursuing compensation for their losses.
4 Things to Understand About Wrongful Death Claims
1. Which Situations Qualify?
Almost any circumstance that would have lead to a personal injury case if your family member had survived can be grounds for a wrongful death claim. Some common examples include auto accidents, deaths caused by dangerous products, and medical practice cases, as well as deaths resulting from assault and other criminal acts.
2. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In some states, only surviving spouses, parents, or children of the decedent can bring a case to court. Many others, like Virginia, require the personal representative of their estate to take action, although they may have additional provisions for family members to file if that individual doesn’t do so.
3. What Can You Sue For?
How much your claim is worth depends on several different factors, including the earning power of your loved one, their potential, and their age. The wrongful death claim should also include your actual losses, like medical expenses and burial costs. It could also include additional funds for pain and suffering and your diminished quality of life.
4. How Much Time Do You Have?
Every state has a time limit on your claim, after which you won’t be able to pursue damages at all. In most states, the statute of limitations is two years, so consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible to exercise your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
With offices in Staunton and Charlottesville, the attorneys at Ritchie Law Firm PLC are equipped to provide high-quality legal representation to survivors of accident victims throughout the state. Learn more about the specialized services online, or follow the Facebook page for more legal advice and tips. To schedule a consultation with their Staunton office, call (540) 886-6124, or call (434) 975-6124 to discuss your wrongful death claim with a lawyer in Charlottesville.