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Who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit?

When a family member is killed due to the actions of another person, a wrongful death lawsuit might be a possible legal action. There is a limit, though, as to who can bring a wrongful death action against the person who caused someone's death.

A wrongful death lawsuit must be brought by the personal representative of the person who died. If the lawsuit is for a fetal death, then the action must be brought by the natural mother. If the mother died, then the action must be brought by her personal representative, guardian or estate. If the deceased is an infant who was in the care and custody of a parent, but is bound by a written agreement or court order with the other parent, the parent with custody will be the one who needs to file the lawsuit. That parent, though, can waive his or her right to file a wrongful death action to anyone else he or she chooses. If there is no one who files for administration within 30 days' time of when the infant died, then the laws regarding administration will apply.

Wrongful death lawsuits are sometimes filed in fatal motor vehicle accidents, product liability cases, fatal accidents not involving vehicles and in many other cases. In order to determine if you can file a wrongful death case for the death of your loved one, you should speak with a Virginia attorney experienced in this type of case. He or she can tell you what your legal options are and how to move forward with your claim.

Source: vacode.org, "Action for death by wrongful act; how and when to be brought," accessed March 04, 2016

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