What Is Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death claim is a civil action in which an individual seeks damages from a party for allegedly causing the death of a family member. When a person files a wrongful death claim, he or she may seek many of the same types of damages that the deceased relative could have pursued had he or she survived. In addition, a wrongful death claim permits a family member to seek compensation for losses suffered due to the relative’s death. In West Virginia, a person must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of a relative’s death. If a family member of the deceased files a wrongful death lawsuit beyond this deadline, the court will dismiss the case without a hearing. Therefore, if you would like to seek compensation for a loved one’s death in West Virginia, you should contact a West Virginia wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t miss your filing deadline. Below is some additional information on West Virginia wrongful death cases. 

Who Is Eligible to Receive Damages?

When a wrongful death lawsuit is successful, certain surviving family members may be eligible to receive damages. Individuals who may be eligible for financial compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • The deceased person’s surviving spouse;
  • The deceased person’s children, stepchildren, and adopted children;
  • The deceased person’s siblings and parents; and
  • Family members who were financially dependent on the deceased person during his or her lifetime. 

Types of Damages 

In a wrongful death case, the family members of a deceased individual may be entitled to multiples types of damages, including:

  • Medical bills,
  • Loss of companionship,
  • Loss of society,
  • Loss of guidance, 
  • Lost wages and benefits,
  • Lost or damaged property,
  • Loss of advice,
  • Loss of comfort,
  • Sorrow,
  • Mental anguish,
  • Solace, and
  • Funeral and burial expenses.

Comparative Fault in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Finally, courts in West Virginia operate under a comparative fault system. Under West Virginia’s comparative fault system, if a deceased person who is the subject of a wrongful death case is determined to have been 50 percent or more at fault for the circumstances that caused his or her death, the court will not award his or her relatives any damages in the case. This makes it particularly important to hire an attorney with deep knowledge of West Virginia’s comparative fault system before filing a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Contact a West Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney 

If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident in West Virginia, you need an experienced West Virginia wrongful death attorney on your side. At Hewitt & Salvatore, we pride ourselves on our ability to help clients obtain financial compensation in West Virginia wrongful death cases. When you become our client, we’ll treat your case as our top priority, and we’ll do everything in our power to ensure that your wrongful death claim results in compensation for you and your family. Please contact us today for a consultation.