Morgantown Wrongful Death Lawyer

When a family member loses their life due to another person’s wrongful act, the surviving heirs could have a claim for monetary damages. Pursuing these claims can be challenging without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, however.

To learn if your wrongful death claim has the potential for monetary recovery, contact a Morgantown wrongful death lawyer right away. With help from legal counsel, you could obtain the damages your family deserves.

West Virginia Wrongful Death Laws

A wrongful death suit is a civil action designed to allow the surviving heirs of a deceased person to recover monetary compensation. A wrongful death action is not a criminal case, although a criminal act can lead to a viable wrongful death claim. In those instances, it is possible for the negligent party to face criminal and civil actions at the same time.

It is worth noting that a Morgantown wrongful death attorney may use a criminal conviction as evidence in a wrongful death trial. In other words, while the two cases are separate, they can still influence each other.

The Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

According to West Virginia Statute 55-7-6, only a personal representative appointed by the estate has the right to bring a wrongful death action. In many cases, a decedent’s will or estate plan will nominate a specific person to serve as their personal representative. Sometimes, the court may appoint a personal representative instead. This could occur if the will fails to name a personal representative, when the person selected refuses to serve, or when the person selected dies before the decedent.

In these cases, the court will often select a member of the deceased person’s family. More often than not, that person stands to recover compensation if the wrongful death claim is successful.

While the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Morgantown rests with a personal representative, the proceeds of a successful lawsuit are intended for the decedent’s surviving relatives. However, not every family member will benefit. Compensation in a Morgantown wrongful death case is available to the decedent’s:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Other family members that depended financially on the deceased person at the time of death

Wrongful Death Damages

Many of the damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit are similar to a standard personal injury case. Ultimately, it is the job of a Morgantown wrongful death attorney to identify the family’s losses and seek fair compensation for them. Common damages include:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Medical expenses relating to the deceased’s final injury or illness
  • Property damage
  • Loss of financial support
  • Lost wages or benefits

Contact a Morgantown Wrongful Death Attorney As Soon As Possible

If you believe you have a right to recovery in a Morgantown wrongful death lawsuit, it is crucial that you consult with legal counsel as soon as possible. In some circumstances, the court could select you as a personal representative for the estate. Contact a Morgantown wrongful death lawyer to ensure your legal rights are protected.