Virginia law determines which family members can make a recovery for the loss of their loved one in a Virginia wrongful death case.

The Family Members That Can Make a Recovery for a Virginia Wrongful Death Case

It depends on what family the deceased leaves behind, to determine which family members can make a recovery from a Virginia Wrongful Death Case.  The Virginia Code sets out five classes of family members that can recovery. 

Class I: Spouse and Children

If the person that was killed has a spouse and children, then the spouse and the children are entitled to recovery under Virginia law.  If the deceased has a child that died before him but had children, then the deceased child's children make can make a recovery

Class II: Parents and Siblings and Relatives who are Primarily Dependant on the Deceased and is a Member of the Same Household

If the person that is deceased has not spouse or children, then the family member that can recover in a Virginia wrongful death case are the parents, brothers , and  sisters of the decedent.  Also included in this category is any relative who is primarily dependant on the deceased for support or services and is a member of the same household of the person that was killed.

Class III: Spouse and Parents

If the deceased leaves a spouse and no children and his parents a still alive, the spouse and the parents are entitled to be included in the distribution of a Virginia wrongful death settlement or verdict.

Class IV:  Any Relative Who is Primarily Dependant on the Deceased and is a Member of the Same Household

The Virginia Code says that if there are survivors under I, II, or III then the distribution should be made to those members plus any relative who is primarily dependant on the decedent for support or services and is a member of the same household as the person killed.  This language is a little strange because it is already used in describing Class II but now the dependant relative of the household is given the ability to recovery with members of all three Classes.

Class V:  If No Other Class Applies Then This is What Happens

If the decease person does not leave any relatives described under Classes I-IV then the award should be distributed as provided for in Virginia Code Section 64.1-1.  This code section is only consided if there is no family member in Class I-IV. 

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