Filing a wrongful death claim in West Virginia.

Nothing can prepare you for losing a loved one, nor can you be fully prepared to carry the emotional and economic burden of the sudden wrongful death of a family member.  A wrongful death occurs when an individual is killed due to another individual’s or entity’s negligence.

Whether it is by agreement or after a hearing or trial, the deceased’s representative must be appointed over the estate and in West Virginia this happens in the probate court.  If the decedent left a will, the will must be filed with the probate office of the county clerk in the county where the decedent lived.  If there is no will, the clerk will appoint someone to serve as personal representative of the estate.

The decedent’s estate may bring a claim on the decedent’s behalf and seek many of the same types of compensation that the decedent could have pursued if he or she had lived.  Wrongful death claims also allow family members to receive compensation for certain losses they suffer when a loved one died.

There are different categories of loss that may be received by a wrongful death claim.  Damages available include, but are not limited to:

  • medical expenses related to the decedent’s illness or injury prior to his or death
  • funeral and burial expenses
  • lost earnings and benefits
  • compensation for future lost earnings and benefits
  • the deceased pain and suffering, and
  • compensation for lost or damaged property.

Family members who may receive compensation in a wrongful death case in West Virginia include:

  • the surviving spouse
  • the children, stepchildren, and adopted children
  • parents and siblings, and
  • any family members who were financially dependent on the deceased person when the death occurred.

In West Virginia, a personal representative of a wrongful death victim has two years from the date of the decedent’s passing to file their claim.  If the claim is not filed within two years, the claim can be dismissed. There are certain exceptions that apply to the two year statute of limitations.  It is important to hire an experienced firm as soon as possible to make sure you do not miss that deadline.

It is important to consult an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss a crucial deadline. Preston & Salango, PLLC’s experienced lawyers are prepared to give you the legal assistance you need to achieve the best legal results possible.

Please call (304) 342-0512 today for a free consultation. Preston & Salango serves Charleston, Beckley, Clarksburg, Huntington, Morgantown, and all of West Virginia.

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