When one party causes injury and economic losses to another, the injured party has the right to file a personal injury claim and seek compensation for their damages. However, when the victim of a personal injury dies a wrongful death andis survived by their family, it will be up to the family members to seek compensation for the losses caused by the unexpected death. A wrongful death claim mirrors a personal injury claim in several ways, but there are a few key differences you must understand if you intend to file a wrongful death claim in West Virginia
Wrongful death claims seek compensation for the surviving family’s economic losses, grief, sorrow, and loss of companionship. The process of holding the at-fault party accountable for a wrongful death is similar to the method of proving fault for a personal injury. However, wrongful death claims typically pose additional legal complications to plaintiffs and there are unique laws and statutes that come into play for these kinds of civil claims.
If you recently lost a loved one due to the negligent or intentional acts of another party, a Morgantown wrongful death attorney is the best resource to consult to determine the most viable options for legal recourse. A wrongful death claim cannot bring back your lost loved one, but it can provide compensation that helps you and your family adjust to your new reality a bit easier. The attorneys at the Wilson, Frame & Metheney, PLLC Law Firm can provide the compassionate and responsive legal representation you need in this heartbreaking situation.
Attempting to handle any civil claim by yourself would be more challenging and riskier than you may expect. The average person with no legal training or formal experience in the civil court system would face many difficulties if they tried to pursue a wrongful death claim without legal representation. Even if fault for your loved one’s untimely death seems perfectly clear, a wrongful death claim entails multiple procedural challenges the average person may not know how to handle on their own.
Working with an experienced Morgantown wrongful death attorney means your case will be in trustworthy and capable hands, allowing you and your family time to grieve in peace. Your legal team will assist you in meeting all of your case’s procedural requirements with the Morgantown, WV civil court system. They will also help you gather the evidence necessary for establishing fault for the wrongful death and the scope of the resulting damages.
The Wilson, Frame & Metheney, PLLC Law Firm has more than 75 combined years of professional experience handling personal injury cases and many other civil claims for clients in the Morgantown, WV area. We understand that any wrongful death can cause emotional distress and economic uncertainty for the surviving family, and it is our goal to help our clients navigate their cases as efficiently as possible.
In many ways, a wrongful death claim is a functional replacement for a personal injury claim that a victim could have filed had they survived. However, there are a few statutory rules that any wrongful death claim plaintiff must understand at the outset of their case. West Virginia’s wrongful death statute states that a wrongful death claim is suitable whenever a “wrongful act, neglect, or default” committed by one party causes the death of another party, and the victim would have grounds for a personal injury claim if they had survived. State law limits eligibility to share in a wrongful death recovery to surviving children, spouses, parents, siblings and others who were financially dependent on the deceased.
To succeed with your wrongful death action in Morgantown, WV, you must identify the party responsible for the death in question and then prove their actions caused the death. The plaintiff in the wrongful death suit will need to work closely with their Morgantown wrongful death attorney to establish fault for the death and to prove the extent of the resulting damages.
It’s important to remember that a wrongful death action seeks compensation for the surviving family’s suffering and losses. In the event the deceased did not immediately die from the defendant’s actions, they may have incurred medical expenses during final treatment as well as lost income from inability to work. They also likely experienced tremendous pain and suffering. A wrongful death action can secure compensation for the family’s emotional distress, lost financial support provided by the deceased, and funeral and burial expenses. A survival action filed in conjunction with the wrongful death claim can seek compensation for damages sustained by the deceased’s estate.
Plaintiffs in wrongful death claims in Morgantown, WV must be aware of how the state’s comparative negligence law works. In the event the victim of a wrongful death contributed in any way to causing their death, this statute will apply in the wrongful death action. Comparative fault reduces the plaintiff’s compensation by a percentage equal to the percentage of fault of the victim for causing the death in question.
Time is a critical factor in any wrongful death case. While West Virginia state law provides a seemingly generous two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death actions, it’s essential to start working on your case as soon as possible for the best chance of holding the defendant accountable for their actions. The sooner you secure legal counsel from a reliable Morgantown wrongful death attorney, the sooner they can begin gathering the evidence and documentation you will need to succeed with your claim.
The Wilson, Frame & Metheney, PLLC Law Firm has the experience and resources you need on your side to approach any wrongful death case with confidence. If you are unsure what to do after another party’s actions resulted in the death of a loved one, we can help. Contact the Wilson, Frame & Metheney, PLLC Law Firm today and schedule your consultation with an experienced and compassionate Morgantown wrongful death lawyer.
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