Section 8.01-51 means that you can’t get more than one settlement from the same injury. Say you have an injury that is settled and a payment is made. If that same injury and situation later leads to a wrongful death, you can not get more money for the wrongful death.
Section 8.01-52 lays out what you are allowed to be compensated for.
1. The sadness of the wrongful death as well as the company, companionship, fellowship, friendship, comradeship, camaraderie. Basically you get money to compensate for missing the deceased.
2. You can get money to help cover loss of income, serves, protection, care and assistance that was provided by the deceased.
3. Money for medical bills and doctor’s treatment.
4. Money to pay for the funeral, as long as it is within reason.
5. Money to penalize the person who caused the wrongful death because of deliberate reckless behavior that disregarded the safety of others.
The money you get for the wrongful death settlement shall have the judge or jury specify how much money is to be given for 3, 4 and 5 above. For example the judge or jury might say, “We are awarding $100,000 for this wrongful death, of which $10,000 is for medical bills, $1,000 is for funeral expenses, and $20,000 is to penalize the person at fault.” The money for the doctor’s bills and funeral expenses is to be given directly to the people who are owed money. You are allowed to use an expert witness to say how much money is owed under 2 above.
The court decides how the money is to be divided.
§ 8.01-51. No action when deceased has compromised claim.No action shall be maintained by the personal representative of one who, after injury, has compromised for such injury and accepted satisfaction therefor previous to his death.
(Code 1950, § 8-635; 1977, c. 617.)
§ 8.01-52. Amount of damages.The jury or the court, as the case may be, in any such action under § 8.01-50 may award such damages as to it may seem fair and just. The verdict or judgment of the court trying the case without a jury shall include, but may not be limited to, damages for the following:
1. Sorrow, mental anguish, and solace which may include society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice of the decedent;
2. Compensation for reasonably expected loss of (i) income of the decedent and (ii) services, protection, care and assistance provided by the decedent;
3. Expenses for the care, treatment and hospitalization of the decedent incident to the injury resulting in death;
4. Reasonable funeral expenses; and
5. Punitive damages may be recovered for willful or wanton conduct, or such recklessness as evinces a conscious disregard for the safety of others.
Damages recoverable under 3, 4 and 5 above shall be specifically stated by the jury or the court, as the case may be. Damages recoverable under 3 and 4 above shall be apportioned among the creditors who rendered such services, as their respective interests may appear. Competent expert testimony shall be admissible in proving damages recoverable under 2 above.
The court shall apportion the costs of the action as it shall deem proper.
(Code 1950, § 8-636.1; 1974, c. 444; 1977, cc. 460, 617; 1982, c. 441.)
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