The mother and sister of a University of Virginia senior murdered by her boyfriend have filed a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit against the boyfriend. The lawsuit indicates that the deceased’s surviving relatives are seeking $29 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.

According to witnesses for the prosecution, the young woman died as a result of brain injury focused on the brain stem, which she sustained after “wrestling” with her boyfriend. After the fight, he pushed her on the bed, and, according to his account, told her to go to sleep, then left the room. The woman likely lived 2 to 6 hours after injury before dying on May 3, 2010.

The lawsuit was filed just days before the statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits in Virginia expired. Lawyers for the family utilized documents from the criminal court case to prepare their filing, which they obtained just last week. The victim’s family apparently had not begun action on the wrongful death lawsuit until sometime after the verdict was filed in February. The tight timeline for preparing the case shows that family should have considered their legal options earlier.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or deliberate misconduct of another person, you should consider your legal options soon after your loved one’s death, even if a criminal trial is proceeding. Waiting until after a criminal verdict is reached can put your legal rights in jeopardy.

To learn whether you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit over the death of your loved one, please contact Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA today for a free case evaluation.