Wrongful death lawsuits can be a difficult and emotional process. When someone dies due to negligence or wrongdoing, their family members may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for the tragedy.
Even though hiring an attorney cannot bring a loved one back to you, lawsuits can help provide justice for surviving family members. The skilled and experienced wrongful death lawyers at The Miley Legal Group’s Morgantown office are prepared to offer the help and support you need.
The attorneys at The Miley Legal Group will guide you through every step of your case with compassion, sensitivity, and professionalism so that we can get justice for your family members. For more information on how we can help you, contact us today.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is the legal term for the loss of a life as result of another person’s negligent or deliberate behavior. Wrongful death lawsuits are designed to hold an at-fault party liable for a preventable loss of life.
A lawsuit may be brought against a person or entity whose carelessness or negligence resulted in another’s death. For example, a drunk driver may be sued for wrongful death if their actions caused another’s death.
Wrongful death cases are usually filed by the spouse or surviving family member of the victim in order to receive financial compensation for their loss.
A wrongful death lawsuit is not the same as a criminal case. The purpose of this type of civil suit is to make someone else pay for your loss rather than punishing them criminally, which would result in jail-time.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in West Virginia?
Yes, you have a two-year period in which to file a wrongful death claim after your loved one’s death. Under West Virginia law, courts may discard a wrongful death lawsuit if more than 2 years have passed from the date of death at the time of filing your case.
Exceptions to this statute of limitations exist, but it is best to consult with a Morgantown personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the wrongful death of a family member to file within the time limit.
What Happens in a Morgantown Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
After you meet with an attorney for an initial consultation, they determine whether or not your claim is viable. To have a valid claim, your attorney will need to prove that another person was negligent or purposefully caused the death of your loved one.
To prove negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit, your lawyer must be able to show that the defendant had a duty to prevent unreasonable harm to the deceased and they breached their duty of care.
One common example to demonstrate how negligence is shown in wrongful death cases is drunk driving accidents. In the event of a fatal drunk-driving accident, your attorney must show that the driver owed other drivers a duty of care and breached this duty by driving under the influence.
After establishing a breach of duty, your attorneys must prove that the other party’s negligence is directly linked to the death. Once the link has been demonstrated, your attorney must show that your family suffered damages and losses because of the death.
The damages and losses may include anything from medical expenses to funeral expenses to loss of benefits from your spouse or family member.
Once your attorney is able to prove negligence and liability for your loss they will begin negotiating with the at-fault party or their representatives for fair compensation.
If the other party refuses to offer a fair settlement or the negotiations fall through, your attorney will then your attorney will file a lawsuit and begin preparing your case for court.
Negotiations will continue up to the trial and most cases settle out of court. However, it is critical that you hire an attorney who is not afraid of taking your case to trial and fighting for your rights to compensation.
What Compensation Can I Recover?
There are a number of factors that will determine the compensation in your wrongful death case. These factors may include:
- The age of the person
- The number of surviving family members
- The cost of medical expenses leading to the death
- The amount of companionship the deceased provided
- The amount of financial support the deceased provided
Once these factors have been calculated, surviving family members may be eligible for the following forms of compensation:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering (on the part of the survivors)
- Conscious pain and suffering (on the part of the deceased)
Who May Be At Fault in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
You may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the following parties, which varies depending on the circumstances:
- Nursing Homes
- Medical Device Manufacturers
- Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
- Neglectful Drivers
- Automobile Manufacturers
- Trucking Companies
Other parties not listed above may be held liable for the death of your spouse or family member. An experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to identify all parties that could be held responsible.
Contact the Morgantown Wrongful Death Attorneys at The Miley Legal Group
If someone that you love has died due to the negligent or wrongful actions of another person or company, reach out to the Morgantown wrongful death attorneys at The Miley Legal Group. We offer a free consultation and will work with you to determine if your case qualifies for compensation from the liable party or parties.
We understand that this is a trying time for you and your family and we will do everything we can to help you through this difficult process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get the justice and fair compensation you deserve.