Wrongful Death Claims: Who Can File

James Knight Freeman
Fairfax and Northern Virginia DUI/DWI, Criminal & Traffic Defense Attorney

A wrongful death claim can be filed when a person dies because of the unlawful act, neglect, or fault of another person or a company. This type of claim replaces a personal injury claim the deceased could have filed had they survived. Who files a wrongful death claim

The Personal Representative Usually Files

According to Virginia law, a wrongful death claim can be brought by a personal representative of the estate of the decedent. The representative is the person who handles the deceased person’s estate. If the decedent left a will naming an executor, that person would be considered the personal representative. If there is no executor, a friend, family member, or other interested party could come forward to ask to serve in this role. If no one comes forward, the court may name an administrator.

The representative may not be a beneficiary of the estate but has a standing to sue, which means they are entitled to bring a lawsuit to recover monetary damages against the person or entity whose fault or neglect caused the death. In Virginia, individual family members cannot file a wrongful death claim. The estate representative files the lawsuit, but any financial recovery will go to the appropriate beneficiaries. 

Why Contact a Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney?

Wrongful death claims in Virginia must be filed within two years of the date of the person’s death. If the two-year deadline is not met, the statute of limitations will keep the lawsuit from being heard in court. That is why it’s important to obtain legal representation as soon as possible after your loved one’s death.

Filing a wrongful death action is a complicated process that must be handled before the statute of limitations expires. If you need to file a wrongful death claim, working with an experienced wrongful death attorney can help protect your family’s rights, make sure you don’t miss important deadlines, and help you recover maximum damages. Call us, or reach out to us via this website today to find out more.

 

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