West Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyers
Each year in the U.S., 1.25 million people die in motor vehicle crashes and more than 250,000 people die from medical errors. Sadly, that means that many of us will lose a loved one at some point due to negligence.
If you have lost a loved one because of neglect or other wrongful conduct, the experienced and compassionate West Virginia wrongful death lawyers at West Law Firm can help. We invite you to call us for a free and confidential consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-943-9378 (WEST).
Frequently Asked Questions About West Virginia Wrongful Death Claims
Below are general answers to some of the questions we frequently get about wrongful death claims in West Virginia. Every case is different, but we hope the information provides you a good starting point for understanding your rights and options if you recently lost a loved one because of negligence.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death is defined by West Virginia Code §55-7-5 as the death of a person that is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default and such person would have had a personal injury claim against the responsible party if that person would have lived.
The primary purposes of a West Virginia wrongful death claim are 1) to provide compensation to those who lost a loved one and 2) to deter future wrongful conduct by holding the responsible party accountable. In other words, a wrongful death claim can protect others from similar tragedies, which is important to many people who have lost a loved one because of negligence.
Wrongful death claims can also help recover funds to pay for medical bills, funeral expenses, and to help make up for the lost wages and benefits previously provided by your deceased loved one.
Who is Entitled to Receive Compensation From a West Virginia Wrongful Death Claim?
West Virginia law provides that the following people may be entitled to compensation after the wrongful death of a loved one:
- The surviving spouse
- Children, including adopted children and stepchildren
- Brothers and sisters
- And any persons who were financially dependent upon the decedent at the time of his or her death
- or anyone who would otherwise be equitably entitled to share in such distribution
That said, once a settlement or verdict is reached, a West Virginia judge will hold a hearing to decide how the compensation should be fairly distributed among one or more of the people above.
Having skilled, compassionate attorneys on your side can help you recover full and fair compensation and help ensure the compensation is distributed fairly.
Compensation in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Under the West Virginia Wrongful Death Statute, family members may recover compensation for a variety of losses including but not limited to the following:
- Sorrow, mental anguish, and lost love and support of the departed, which may include society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice
- Compensation for the reasonably expected loss of income
- Compensation for loss of services, protection, care, and assistance provided by the decedent
- Expenses for the care, treatment, and hospitalization of the decedent incident to the injury resulting in death;
- Reasonable funeral expenses
The first in the list above is similar to the pain and suffering damages that are common to personal injury claims.
When Must a Wrongful Death Claim be filed?
In West Virginia, the general rule is a representative of the estate must file a wrongful death action within two years of the wrongful death. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, including exceptions that may expand the amount of time you have to file a claim.
That said, if you miss this deadline, called the statute of limitations, your legal rights related to the wrongful death of your loved one may be barred forever. That’s one of the many reasons it’s important to speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after the loss of your loved one.
What are Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases?
As mentioned above, automobile accidents are the leading cause of wrongful death in West Virginia. Work accidents are also common causes of wrongful death. Some other common types of wrongful death cases that West Law Firm helps families with include:
- Coal mining accidents
- Truck accidents
- Drunk driving crashes
- Construction accidents
- Asbestos mesothelioma claims
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Slip and falls
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Defective products
Free Consultation with a West Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one in West Virginia because of negligence or a wrongful act, we invite you to call our experienced and compassionate wrongful death attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation. Our toll-free number is 1 (877) 943-9378.