Tort Law

Wrongful Death Distribution

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Wrongful Death Distribution

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 – Distribution.

2015 In re Woodley, 290 Va. 482, 777 S.E.2d 560.
In this wrongful death action trial court erred in ordering that the awards to minors be held by the clerk of the court until they reach the age of majority and thereby rejecting payment to irrevocable trust proposed by the parents to be professionally managed.

1995 Mann v. Hinton, 249 Va. 555, 457 S.E.2d 22.
Class of beneficiaries is not fixed as of date of death but as of date of verdict.

1993 Reid v. Ayscue, 246 Va. 454, 436 S.E.2d 439.
Daughter driving vehicle in which mother is passenger. Mother is killed in collision. In wrongful death action daughter is denied any recovery by jury although brother is awarded damages. In subsequent contribution action issue is raised whether negligence of daughter has been determined. Court applied doctrine of collateral estoppel which consists of: (1) identity of persons and parties; (2) identity of issue; (3) mutuality of operation of estoppel. Court held that contributory negligence had been litigated and daughter was guilty of negligence.

1993 Knodel v. Dickerman, 246 Va. 124, 431 S.E.2d 323.
In this wrongful death action, child adopted after death of decedent but before jury verdict may recover damages as statutory beneficiary under Va. Code § 8.01-53.

1983 Brown v. Brown, 226 Va. 320, 309 S.E.2d 586.
Under Virginia law, unadopted stepchildren whose origins are not of the deceased do not qualify for distribution from funds established in wrongful death case.

1982 Smith v. Givens, 223 Va. 455, 290 S.E.2d 844.
Prior to approving wrongful death settlement, court appointed guardian ad litem for reputed illegitimate child of decedent. Standard of proof of paternity in wrongful death case is preponderance of evidence.

1980 Cassady v. Martin, 220 Va. 1093, 266 S.E.2d 104.
Illegitimate child may be statutory beneficiary. There is presumption of legitimacy as to child born during wedlock. To rebut presumption, evidence must be clear and positive.

1975 Miller & Long Co. v. Frye, 215 Va. 591, 212 S.E.2d 258.
Workers’ compensation case. Evidence failed to support finding of partial dependency.

1974 Hall v. Carwile, 214 Va. 570, 202 S.E.2d 926.
Decedent was 21 years’ old and lived with parents, brothers and three-year-old son. She was sole support of son, but contributed no substantial support to parents or brothers. Dependency has been interpreted to mean total or partial dependency. There was no evidence of brothers or parents being partial dependents in this case and thus, they are entitled to no recovery.

1973 Peters v. Shortt, 214 Va. 399, 200 S.E.2d 547.
Under W.D.A., dependency may consist of partial dependency. Fact and degree of dependency are matters for determination by jury upon proper evidence.

1971 Carrol v. Sneed, 211 Va. 640, 179 S.E.2d 620.
Acknowledged illegitimate daughter of decedent is entitled to fund paid into court as compromise settlement of action for wrongful death of her father. Term “children” in statute which controls, includes illegitimate children.

1971 Edward v. Syrkes, 211 Va. 600, 179 S.E.2d 902.
Error to admit evidence of illegitimacy of decedent and half-sister, and premarital pregnancy of half-sister, when mother and half-sister are distributees of recovery. Prejudicial far beyond probative value. Evidence does not tend to show lack of affection, suffering or mental anguish.

1953 Wolfe v. Lockhart, 195 Va. 479, 78 S.E.2d 654.
Under wrongful death statute, brothers and sisters of half-blood fall within same class as parents of decedent, and may participate in damages awarded if jury or court so specifies. Moreover, instruction which mentioned no one but mother of decedent, as entitled to be considered by jury if it awarded damages, was erroneous.

1953 Glassco v. Glassco, 195 Va. 239, 77 S.E.2d 843.
Workers’ compensation claim. Husband contributed $42.50 per week to support of entire family; son contributed $10.00 per week to wife’s personal use. Finding of wife’s fifty-percent dependency on son by Industrial Commission justified.

1945 Waters v. Harrell, 183 Va. 764, 33 S.E.2d 194.
Where wrongful death action authorized partial distribution to widowed mother of decedent, fact that mother had remarried and been or divorced prior to son’s death, did not change her status of widowed mother. She should share in distribution.

1943 Withrow v. Edwards, 181 Va. 592, 25 S.E.2d 899.
Existence of surviving child was first raised after judgment. Case remanded to determine rights of distribution. Female offspring of void marriage was held entitled to proceeds of wrongful death judgment. Decedent was her father.

For more information on wrongful death see the pages on Wikipedia

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Wrongful Death Distribution

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