There's Been an Accident. Which Family Member Should File a Wrongful Death Suit?
When you lose someone unexpectedly in an accident, it can feel shocking and surreal. If someone else's negligence or carelessness caused the death, you no doubt also feel angry. As you move through the complicated emotions of loss, you are most likely also dealing with numerous logistical details. It can feel strange for your mourning to be interrupted by all of the decisions, tasks, and so forth that survivors face when a loved one dies, especially when their death is unanticipated.
Which Family Member Is Entitled to File a Wrongful Death Suit?
One question that routinely surfaces in these circumstances—particularly if the deceased person did not have a will—is which family member or members are entitled to file a wrongful death suit. Unlike many states that permit immediate family or even more distant relatives to file, in Virginia, only the executor of the decedent's estate can file. The executor may be named in the deceased person's will, and could be a family member or any other trusted adult. If there is no will, or the will doesn't name an executor, the probate court will appoint an "administrator". This person does the same job as an executor. Any damages awarded in the suit will be distributed to the deceased person's family or other beneficiaries.
What Is the Difference Between Wrongful Death and Survival Claims in Virginia?
When a death is caused by a negligent act, you have a suit for wrongful death. When someone is injured by a negligent act, and subsequently dies of unrelated causes, you have a survival action.
Act Quickly, Knowing There Is a Statute of Limitations
Time is of the essence when it comes to filing wrongful death or survival lawsuits. In Virginia, the executor of the estate has only two years to make a claim. If you believe your family is entitled to damages in the death of a loved one, seek legal support as soon as you're able.
An Attorney Can Help You Determine the Appropriate Family Member to File
If you and your family believe you're entitled to damages as the result of a wrongful death, the attorneys at Ackerman & Falcon can help. Having the right legal counsel advising you can expedite the process, allowing you to put the matter behind you sooner and turn your attention toward healing and support. Our attorneys can help you navigate the process with discretion, care, and expertise.
Call Ackerman & Falcon Today for a Free Consultation
If you have any questions about filing a wrongful death suit for a family member, we will be happy to answer them. We will provide fair, direct, and unwavering expertise to ensure you and your family get what you deserve on behalf of your loved one.
Call Ackerman & Falcon today at (703) 288-1400 to learn more about how we can help.