What kind of items will I need or my lawyer need to assist them with proving the wrongful death claim?
As stated above, the first item would be the death certificate. After that, you will need to obtain the Letters of Administration appointing you or someone else as Administrator or Personal Representative of the Estate for the purposes of the wrongful death claim.
After that, we usually want to see any tax returns of the deceased for the last few years, and any and all family photos and videos depicting the deceased. Don’t worry, we will digitize everything and will get it back to you.
The administrator will then be asked by our office to sign authorizations for us to obtain medical records as we will need to obtain a complete medical history of the deceased, not just relating to his or her death, but also for the years preceding his or her death. This is because any difficult medical issues the decedent was suffering from before death will impact his or her projected life expectancy for damage purposes. It is therefore crucial that we know as much as possible about any and all prior medical issues relating to the deceased.
In addition, if the deceased was a child, we will usually order grades and test scores and any counseling the deceased underwent while they were alive.
As discussed above, in Virginia, sorrow and mental anguish of the beneficiaries is an extremely important element of damages. Depending on the case, it is usually advisable for you and any affected beneficiary to attend grief counseling and seek psychiatric care as well.