Written by attorney Timothy R. Miley

Beneficiaries of a Wrongful Death Claim

In West Virginia, wrongful death is defined as a fatality caused by “wrongful act, neglect, or default." A wrongful death claim can be sought against any individual, company, or entity that is liable for misconduct that resulted in your loved one’s death. Consult with a Marion County wrongful death attorney to help determine if you have a viable case.

A wrongful death claim must be filed by the decedent’s personal representative of the estate. The personal representative could be named as the executor of the will or the administrator of the estate if the individual died intestate – or without a will.

Compensation for a wrongful death claim may be awarded and distributed to survivors of the deceased, including surviving spouses, children, and stepchildren. Other relatives may be entitled to damages, such as parents and siblings. The law in West Virginia also has provisions allowing any person who was financially dependent upon the deceased for support to be a potential beneficiary in a wrongful death claim.

In circumstances where there are no survivors, any damages awarded will be distributed in accordance with the decedent’s will. When there is no will, the distribution of damages will follow West Virginia’s intestate succession laws.

Wrongful Death and Damages

Compensation in a wrongful death claim may entitle beneficiaries to:

· medical expenses – any costs for medical treatment prior to death;

· funeral costs – any reasonable burial expenses will be covered;

· pain and suffering – survivors may be compensated for their sorrow and mental anguish after the loss of companionship, guidance, and comfort;

· loss of support – spanning income and services the decedent provided, courts will account for present and future losses; and

· punitive damages – in cases where criminal activity contributed to the wrongful death, you may seek punitive damages.

Negligent Parties in a Wrongful Death Claim

A wrongful death claim can be pursued against various parties in virtually any type of accident resulting in death. Car accidents, medical malpractice, and defective products are some examples of common types of wrongful death suits. The claim may name one or several parties liable for negligence.

In order to successfully bring a wrongful death claim to court, you will need to prove that the fatality was caused by negligence or specific intent to cause harm to the individual. You will also need to show that the survivors have suffered financial and emotional injury because of this fatality.

In West Virginia, the statute of limitations on filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death.

A Marion County Wrongful Death Attorney Can Guide You Through the Process

Losing a loved one because of another’s negligence or misconduct is devastating. Pursing a wrongful death claim while you are grieving may prove quite difficult for you and your family. At the Miley Legal Group, we believe negligent parties can and should be held accountable for their misconduct.

Our dedicated Marion County wrongful death attorneys can help ease the burden of civil litigation and advocate on your behalf. We pride ourselves on going above and beyond the conventional legal recourses by providing grief counselling and financial advice to our clients. For a free consultation, contact us today at 304-326-1800.

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