When Your Loved One is Killed: Should You Sue for Wrongful Death?

When Your Loved One is Killed: Should You Sue for Wrongful Death?

Under certain circumstances, when a person is killed in an avoidable act, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the person or company that caused the death. If this description fits the loss of your loved one, contact a wrongful death lawyer without delay. A skilled lawyer can examine the details of your loved one’s passing and determine if you have grounds to pursue legal action.

Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Not everyone can legally file a wrongful death suit when someone is killed. Certain criteria must be met to determine eligibility. This is to protect the legal process to make sure that only the most deserving party is able to recover damages. In some cases, no one will meet the criteria to file a wrongful death suit, even if the victim was wrongfully killed. This is another reason to contact a wrongful death lawyer early in the process. Generally speaking, the following persons are often eligible to file suit against the perpetrator:

  • Legally recognized spouse of the victim.
  • Parent of a victim who was a minor.
  • Financially dependent child of an adult victim.
  • Financially dependent parent of an adult victim.
  • Financially and legally recognized dependent of an adult victim. (Very often this is a disabled person who was financially supported by the deceased.)

Wrongful Death Settlement

A wrongful death lawsuit can take years to complete. In the meantime, it can be an expensive, stressful, and frustrating process. At the conclusion of the trial, you may not get the hoped for result which would be a substantial jury award. In fact, if you lose, not only will you not get a jury award, you may have to pay for all the legal costs of the defendant. Those fees will likely be enormous, and in addition to costs incurred surrounding the death of your loved one, you may find yourself in catastrophic debt. However, if you work with a wrongful death lawyer, he or she may be able to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. The settlement process is generally much faster than a trial and the associated costs (lawyer’s fee and legal costs) are often less.

Damage Recovery

In a successful wrongful death action such as a jury award or settlement, you may be able to recover the damages associated with the loss of your loved one. Obviously, no amount of money in the world can replace your loved one. However, the financial stresses resulting from their passing can be alleviated with compensation from the person or company responsible. Damage recovery can include medical bills incurred when your loved one was treated for their injury, wages that they will not be able to contribute to the family, and your pain and suffering from the loss. Talk to a personal injury lawyer Harrisonburg VA relies on who can review your losses and determine which qualify for inclusion in your claim or lawsuit.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Martin Wren, P.C., for their insight into personal injury.