When your loved one dies unexpectedly, there may not be any criminal repercussions for the person that caused their death. Whether it’s a medical procedure gone wrong, an auto collision or some other accident due to negligence, you want to make sure that the person or people responsible are held accountable.

Assessing your relationship from a legal standpoint

According to Virginia law, even if the person who died was the closest in the world to you, you might not have any recourse unless you are a family member and eligible as a ‘statutory beneficiary.’ Here are some of the relationships that could qualify as a statutory beneficiary:

  • The spouse of the deceased person and their children. After that, it is the grandchildren who may be eligible.
  • If a person had no spouse, children or grandchildren, then the parents, siblings or dependents who lived in the person’s household may be eligible.  
  • If a person had no close family members, then the person or people determined under the Virginia intestacy laws may be able to pursue such a lawsuit.

Supporting the families of the deceased

The compensation from a wrongful death action can not make up for the loss of your loved one. What that lawsuit can do is hold the responsible parties accountable where criminal charges weren’t available or there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute. The potential compensation from such a lawsuit can go to the deceased person’s family to make sure they’re taken care of even when their loved one is gone. If your loved one was killed due to someone else’s negligence, contact a lawyer specialized in wrongful death lawsuits to explore what options you have.