Wrongful Death – Virginia
Any wrongful death action in Virginia that is settled must be approved by the Court. If suit has already been filed, then the settlement can be approved within the context of that existing lawsuit. If suit has not been filed, then a new action has to be filed to obtain Court approval. The purpose of the Court approval is to assure that the administrator has properly fulfilled the assigned function.
In those instances where there is an issue of causation in the medical malpractice context expert testimony may be required. For instance, in a misdiagnosis case the plaintiff has to prove that the decedent would have survived but for the negligence of the doctor. To prove that, it is necessary to present expert testimony that there was at least a substantial possibility that the patient would have survived. Without that testimony the claim itself does not survive.
Where a mother suffers injury due to the malpractice of a physician resulting in fetus being still-born then the claim in that instance belongs to the mother. The mother may recover for the physical injury and mental suffering associated with the still-birth.
For more information on wrongful death see the other pages on this site dealing with all aspects of wrongful death.