It can be challenging to muster the energy to sue for compensation when a loved one dies. However, the damages awarded will go a long way in helping with the deceased’s medical bills, funeral expenses, and the surviving family’s future needs. You can bring a wrongful death claim against those responsible for losing your loved one with the help of a West Virginia wrongful death lawyer to prove your case.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
West Virginia wrongful death law only allows the representative or executor of the deceased’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. They can do this on behalf of the surviving family members, who will then receive any compensation paid out. The surviving family members include spouses, children, parents, siblings, and anyone financially dependent upon the deceased. West Virginia law is slightly different from other states that may allow a family member to file a wrongful death directly.
Proving Fault in West Virginia Wrongful Death Claims
West Virginia is a comparative fault state. That means even if the deceased person was partially responsible for the events that led to their death (not more than 50% at fault), their estate could still recover compensation up to a certain percentage. In a West Virginia personal injury or wrongful death suit, you must show that someone else’s negligence, fault, or error caused the deceased’s demise. Wrongful death cases are civil cases, not criminal cases. If you win, you can only seek financial compensation from the defendant but no jail time as you would in a murder case. However, you only have to prove that it is “more likely than not” that the defendant is guilty of wrongful death.
What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you file a successful wrongful death claim, you will be eligible for various damages.
These damages can range in value from tens of thousands to millions of dollars and are calculated from the following:
- Medical bills and funeral expenses from the victim’s injury and death
- The pain and suffering experienced by the family
- Lost wages from the deceased’s expected future earnings
- Compensation for the loss of care, protection, guidance, and society of the deceased
- Punitive damages against the responsible party
Most of these require expert valuation and evidence. A wrongful death lawyer’s job is to work hard and use their networks to secure the testimony of psychologists, medical experts, accountants, and more.
Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases
There are different types of wrongful death cases based on the wrongful act that led to the death of your loved one.
The most common ones include:
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Workplace accidents, for example, construction accidents
- Defective products
- Toxic exposure
- Slip and fall accidents
You need a wrongful death attorney experienced in your particular case type to increase the chances of winning. For example, having a medical malpractice wrongful death attorney can help you win a difficult case instead of just searching “wrongful death attorney near me” online.
Why You Need a WV Wrongful Death Lawyer
In West Virginia, you only have two years from the death of your loved one to file a wrongful death claim—that is the state’s statute of limitations. After that period, the court might dismiss the case entirely. Every detail counts when you’re fighting against powerful defendants. As veteran West Virginia wrongful death attorneys, we have represented clients in thousands of wrongful death lawsuits, including medical malpractice claims, oil and gas accidents, and many others. With an experienced accidental death lawyer, you can fight and win against large corporations, hospitals, and even insurance companies. Call Miley Legal today for a free case review.