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 for the surviving family’s future needs. You can bring a wrongful death claim against those responsible for the loss of 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 case. They will 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 else who was financially dependent upon the deceased. West Virginia law is slightly different from other states that may allow such family members to file a wrongful death directly.
Why You Need a West Virginia 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 small detail is important when you’re fighting against powerful defendants. As veteran West Virginia wrongful death attorneys, we have represented our clients in medical malpractice lawsuits, oil and gas accident wrongful death cases, and many others.
With an experienced accidental death lawyer, you can fight and win against large corporations, hospitals, and even insurance companies.
Key Components of Wrongful Death Cases
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 can still receive compensation up to a certain percentage.
In a West Virginia personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, you must show that the negligence, fault, or error of another party caused the demise of the deceased.
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.
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 who is 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 as opposed to just searching “wrongful death attorney near me” online.
What Damages Can Be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you win a wrongful death case, you will be eligible for a wide range of damages awarded based on your circumstances. 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 being 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. The best wrongful death attorney for you should work hard and use their networks to secure the testimony of psychologists, medical experts, accountants, and more.
Advice From a West Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer: How to Bolster Your Case
As veteran wrongful death lawyers in West Virginia, we know that even cases with irrefutable evidence can still fail. In addition to having the best-qualified wrongful death attorney on your case, here are several other ways to improve your chances of winning:
- Do not lie or exaggerate; it will always come back to haunt you.
- Credibility is everything. Be as genuine, pleasant, and upright as possible.
- Do not show anger or desire for revenge. The jury won’t be impressed.
- Have substantial evidence for everything. The judge and jury do not rely on sympathy.
- Do not speak publicly or post about the event on social media.
- Do not negotiate with insurance companies unless your attorney is there.
In every wrongful death case, your actions as the representative of the deceased are as important as the lawyer’s efforts. A good accidental death lawyer will guide you through the intricacies of how to represent yourself as the plaintiff.
How a West Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You
If you have lost a loved one because of the fault of another person, company, or organization, the best thing you can do is to involve a West Virginia wrongful death lawyer as soon as you can. This allows them to collect evidence and statements as early as possible. Memories fade and evidence deteriorates over time, so you do not want to stall in obtaining these necessary elements for your case.
Even if you’re not sure whether you have a valid case, take advantage of our free consultations now and let our experienced West Virginia wrongful death lawyers help you win your case.