The wrongful death of a loved one often leaves grieving families with little information, few answers and limited support from any parties who may be involved. It is a challenging time for the family of someone who passes away due to a personal injury.
Even though no amount of money can take the place of your loved one, you can file a wrongful death claim and, depending on the circumstances of your case, receive up to the total compensatory amount allowed by law to help you and your family get back on your feet.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Unlike many other states, one person can file a wrongful death lawsuit in West Virginia. That person is the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.
What happens if my deceased loved one does not select a personal representative?
Suppose your loved one did not name a personal representative to handle their estate prior to their death. In that case, the court will appoint someone and grant them the authority, under Virginia law, to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What can the personal representative do?
The personal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate. Usually, the estate’s beneficiaries are the deceased’s relatives, so after the case is settled or if the party prevails in a personal injury trial, the personal representative will distribute the lawsuit’s proceeds to the surviving family members.
Who can claim compensation?
Typically, the closer the family member is, the most substantial claim they will have when it comes to eligibility for compensation for the loss of the family member.
For example: spouses, children and parents usually have the most potent argument and typically prevail in their claim for most, if not all compensation, assuming the lawsuit is settled or if the lawsuit goes to trial, the parties prevail.
The unexpected death of a loved one is devastating. Grief can be difficult to manage, especially when the family has no warning or time to prepare for the loss. In addition, if personal injury or negligence were involved, the family will naturally experience feelings of anger and want to seek justice for their loved one.
Understanding wrongful death laws in West Virginia is essential so you can make the best decision about how to move forward in your legal claim when you are ready to begin the process. Make sure you consider that some states have time limitations, so it is critical to ask for counsel as soon as possible.