Who can bring a lawsuit for a wrongful death?

In Virginia, as elsewhere, a lawsuit may be filed against a person (including a company) whose negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct caused someone else to die.  These are called "wrongful death" suits.  Under Virginia law, all wrongful death cases must "be brought by and in the name of the personal representative of such deceased person."  A personal representative is a person, such as an executor, executrix, or administrator of a person's estate who is qualified by the clerk of the circuit court to represent the deceased person and his or her estate.  One of the powers of a personal representative is the power to sue.  Virginia has enacted statutes that explain who may qualify as a personal representative.  Personal representatives may be designated in a person's will.  If no will exists or if the executor named in the will fails or refuses to qualify, then the statute gives priority to others who may want to be the personal representative.  Qualifying as a personal representative is fairly easy and the people working in the clerk's offices in Virginia are very helpful in answering questions on these topics.