If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person, you may be wondering what your legal options are. In West Virginia, the law allows for the recovery of damages in cases of wrongful death. Since the injured party is usually the one who brings a lawsuit, it may be difficult to figure out what happens next in the event of wrongful death.
What is wrongful death?
West Virginia’s wrongful death statute defines wrongful death as “the death of a person caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another.” This means that if someone else’s negligence leads to your loved one’s death, you may be able to bring a suit against them.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in West Virginia?
The wrongful death statute in West Virginia allows for “the personal representative of the deceased or any other person who may be entitled to recover damages for the death.” This means that either the executor of the deceased’s estate or a family member can file a wrongful death suit.
What can you recover in a wrongful death suit?
The damages that are available in a wrongful death case vary from state to state. In West Virginia, the injured party can recover “damages for the death of the deceased, including damages for mental anguish, loss of society and companionship, pain and suffering, and any other losses suffered by the decedent’s family as a result of the death.” This means that you may be able to recover compensation for your loved one’s medical expenses, funeral expenses and any other losses you have suffered as a result of their death.
Important elements of a wrongful death case
The injured party must show that the other person was negligent and that this negligence led to the death of the victim. Also, you must show that the decedent would have been able to bring a suit if they had survived, and they would have been entitled to damages.
Remember that the statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit is two years in West Virginia. This means that you must file your lawsuit within this time frame, or you will lose your right to sue.