Tort Law

Wrongful Death Limitations

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Wrongful Death Limitations

Brien Roche

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Wrongful Death Limitations.   

2007 Harmon v. Sadjadi, 273 Va. 184, 639 S.E.2d 294.

In this medical malpractice action, a foreign personal representative not qualified in Virginia filed suit in Virginia and then nonsuited. He later qualified as the personal representative in Virginia and filed suit within one year of that date. That action was timely filed.

2003 Fowler v. Winchester Med. Ctr., 266 Va. 131, 580 S.E.2d 816.

Medical malpractice involving wrongful death wherein West Virginia administrator filed suit in Virginia without qualifying in Virginia. The West Virginia probate proceeding had been terminated and, as such, the administrator was no longer the administrator even in the state of West Virginia. The subsequent filing of suit by that administrator in Virginia was improper and was time-barred. Case properly dismissed. If the West Virginia administrator still held that position and the probate estate had not been terminated, then that improper filing of the lawsuit would have tolled statute of limitations. The fact that the administrator’s status had been terminated even in the state of West Virginia meant that there was not an identity of parties between West Virginia and the eventual administrator in the state of Virginia.

1998 Riddett v. Virginia Elec. & Power Co., 255 Va. 23, 495 S.E.2d 819.

Wrongful death action arising from death in 1987 was non-suited in January, 1995, refiled in June, 1995. Action is time barred. When original action was filed only four days of two-year limitation period remained. As such, when plaintiff non-suited she had four days to refile pursuant to tolling provisions of Va. Code § 8.01-244(B). This refiled action was therefore time barred.

1993 Jones v. R.S. Jones & Assocs., 246 Va. 3, 429 S.E.2d 875.

Law of place of injury will govern as to all matters going to basis of right of action itself, while law of forum controls all that is connected with remedy. In this wrongful death action where death occurred in State of Florida, court held that limitation period is as much part of statute creating wrongful death actions as if it was contained within that section itself, and as such limitation period will be deemed to be substantive. Therefore, two-year limitation period of Florida applies rather than one year catchall of Virginia.

1993 Wertz v. Grubbs, 245 Va. 67, 425 S.E.2d 500.

Tolling provision of Medical Malpractice Act applies to two-year limitation period contained in Wrongful Death Act.

1960 Scott v. Nance, 202 Va. 355, 117 S.E.2d 279.

Virginia Wrongful Death Act provides that if action is commenced within one year of death, and for any reason abates without determination of merits, time action is pending shall not be counted as part of one-year period.

1958 Sherley v. Lotz, 200 Va. 173, 104 S.E.2d 795.

Accident in Tennessee. Action not brought under Virginia Wrongful Death Act. General statute of limitations of Virginia controls, i.e., one year from date of injury.

1956 McDaniel v. Carolina Pulp Co., 198 Va. 612, 95 S.E.2d 201.

Filing of suit by administrator even though he is foreign administrator, tolls statute of limitations and period of pendency of that suit is excluded from statutory period, if suit is dismissed and refiled by resident administrator.

1955 Norwood v. Buffey, 196 Va. 1051, 86 S.E.2d 809.

Plaintiff administrator brought action for wrongful death within one-year period, took voluntary nonsuit after statute of limitations had expired and reinstituted his action that same day. Latter action was not barred by statute of limitations.

1946 Street v. Consumer’s Mining Corp., 185 Va. 561, 39 S.E.2d 271.

Cause of action accrues when wrong is committed, and in absence of some act of concealment by wrongdoer, mere ignorance of injured party of actionable wrong will not suspend statute. Where statute of limitations has run at time of death of injured party, then no action may be maintained. Cause of action begins to run at time of accident, not on day of death.

For more information on wrongful death see the pages on Wikipedia.

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Wrongful Death Limitations

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