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As a follow-up to my post of March 8, 2019, another bill of interest and benefit to citizens of Virginia is Senate Bill 1543, which makes changes to Virginia’s Wrongful Death Statute (Va. Code § 8.01-50 et seq.

By way of background, if a person is killed in Virginia due to the careless conduct of another, certain survivors of the person killed are entitled to be compensated by the responsible person. Such a claim is generally known as a Wrongful Death claim.

Senate Bill 1543 expands the first class of beneficiaries entitled to compensation under Virginia’s Wrongful Death Statute (Va. Code § 8.01-50 et seq.). Previously beneficiaries included a surviving spouse, children of the deceased, and children of any deceased child of the deceased. Now parents who regularly received support or services from their now-deceased child for necessaries such as living expenses, food, shelter, health care expenses, or in-home care or assistance within one year of the child’s death, are also included as a beneficiary.

The bill has been signed by Governor Ralph S. Northam and takes effect on July, 1, 2019 and only affects those who died on or after that date. As people are living longer and more and more baby boomers are now caring for their elderly parents or providing financial support for a parent’s care, this new law is needed and recognizes the extent of the financial loss caused by the death of a child in those circumstances. In so doing, the law rightly holds those negligent and legally responsible for the death, fully responsible for the harms their careless conduct caused.

If you have any questions concerning Virginia’s Wrongful Death law, please feel free to contact me at or by phone at 703 836-3366.

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