Elkins Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one can be traumatic, and when that loss happens because of someone’s carelessness, your pain could be even harder to deal with. When someone dies because of an accident, the law provides a method for compensating that loss. An Elkins wrongful death lawyer is ready to provide you with legal support after suffering this terrible misfortune.
You may trust that drivers on the road to take the proper precautions or that employers do everything to protect their workers from injury. Sadly, this is not always the case. Even medical professionals can make fatal mistakes. If you have lost someone because of the negligence of another person, our team of compassionate attorneys can advocate for you and your family to offset the losses with fair compensation.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When someone dies because of another’s negligence, courts refer to it as a wrongful death lawsuit. Under West Virginia Code §55-7-6, the estate of a deceased person may file a claim against the person or entity legally responsible for the death. The responsible party could refer to a person, company, governmental entity, or employer. A legal advisor in Elkins could help evaluate a case for damages and provide guidance when filing the claim.
Types of Lawsuits
An estate can base a wrongful death claim on negligence, product liability, or malpractice. A negligence claim would mean there was a failure to exercise reasonable care, which caused death to another individual. This is a common type of claim for personal injury lawsuits.
Product liability lawsuits refers to a claim for a death responsible by a defective product. For example, if a consumer good like a lawnmower was defective and caused a death, the surviving estate would file a product liability claim for compensation.
Medical malpractice claims refer to cases where a physician or healthcare professional fails to meet the acceptable medical standard of care, and their mistake or wrongdoing results in death. Malpractice claims can be complex because the plain fact that the doctor made a mistake may not be enough to base a claim on. An Elkins legal advisor could determine if a claim could be filed and which type of lawsuit could be brought against the responsible party.
How an Elkins Wrongful Death Lawsuit Can be Brought
The law allows the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to file the wrongful death action. If the deceased left a will, it will likely name the personal representative. If there is no will, the court can appoint a personal representative to bring the lawsuit. The estate has two years from the date of death to bring the claim, except in some medical malpractice actions.
The estate must prove liability, or who caused the death, as well as damages, which refer to financial losses suffered as a result of the incident. Often, the plaintiff’s legal representative will bring experts in to help to establish the cause of the accident or testify about the connection between the negligent act and the decedent’s death. This is not always necessary as sometimes a police investigation and report will establish liability. In the case of drunk driving, for example, a plaintiff may not need expert testimony. A skilled wrongful death legal professional can strategize with a plaintiff about the evidence necessary to support their claim.
Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
When someone dies in Elkins, there are three kinds of potential damages that could be recovered: economic, non-economic and punitive losses. Direct financial damages could include the expected loss of income, expenses for any treatment and hospitalization, and reasonable funeral expenses.
Intangible damages, or those that are non-economic, could include the loss of the decedent’s companionship, comfort, guidance, and advice. Punitive damages punish a defendant for outrageous or egregious conduct. For example, if a drug manufacturer willingly puts a dangerous product on the market without warning, a court may award punitive damages.
The court will award any compensation to the estate’s beneficiaries, which may be the surviving spouse, children (stepchildren and adopted children), parents, siblings, or others who were financially dependent on the decedent at the time of their death.
Connect with an Elkins Wrongful Death Attorney for More Information
With the unexpected and profound loss of a loved one, it could be beneficial to hire the guidance and legal help of an Elkins wrongful death lawyer. Our team of compassionate, knowledgeable attorneys can consult with you about your loss and help you and your family get the fair compensation you deserve. Although nothing can bring your loved one back, we are here to help you move towards some closure. Call today to schedule a consultation.