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West Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer

After a fatal accident caused by another person, the surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to provide financial compensation to those family members who were financially dependent on the deceased. A wrongful death settlement or verdict will compensate for funeral expenses, replace lost income after the death of the family’s wage earner, and make financial restitution for the family members’ loss of the deceased person’s companionship.

Wrongful death lawsuits are officially filed by the deceased person’s estate. The settlement or verdict is distributed to the closest surviving relatives. The judge assigned to the case determines the proportion distributed. Relatives who are eligible to receive funds from a wrongful death lawsuit include minor children, adult children who were financially dependent on the deceased, spouses, common law spouses and parents.

Our Experience in Wrongful Death Suits in WV

Over our 30-year history, the attorneys at the Peyton Law Firm, P.L.L.C., have tried and settled more than 100 wrongful death lawsuits in West Virginia and southern Ohio. Our law firm has a long-established presence in West Virginia, and we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in wrongful death lawsuits.

A wrongful death lawsuit can arise out of any type of fatal accident, including a car accident, a railroad accident, a workplace accident or a drowning. Wrongful death lawsuits may also be brought when a person is killed by conditions such as mesothelioma resulting from exposure to toxic substances or defective products.

How Is A Wrongful Death Defined?

A wrongful death is when someone loses their life due to another person’s negligent, reckless or unlawful actions. Many wrongful deaths are the result of motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, accidents with defective products and animal attacks. When these deadly events take place, family members need to have a trusted West Virginia wrongful death lawyer on their side.

Who Has The Legal Ability To File A Wrongful Death Claim In West Virginia?

The executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate is required to bring the wrongful death claim, and will usually do so with the help of a wrongful death attorney. Any compensation received will go to the victim’s survivors according to certain distribution rules.

An experienced West Virginia wrongful death lawyer can help you understand the process.

Is There A Statute Of Limitations In West Virginia?

Anyone who wishes to file a wrongful death claim in Nitro or Charleston needs to act within two years of the victim’s date of death. Early contact with a West Virginia wrongful death lawyer is wise.

What Compensation Is Available After A Wrongful Death?

When you work with a wrongful death attorney here in Nitro or Charleston, you can consider all potential compensation. Each case is unique, but examples include:

  • Loss of consortium: This means that a person’s relationship has been lost due to the death and the intangible benefits it brings.
  • Lost income: This is especially important when the deceased is the main breadwinner for the family.
  • Medical bills: This may include long-term medical costs, along with emergency services.
  • Funeral and burial expenses: A funeral can lead to unexpected bills for thousands of dollars.

These are just a few examples, and it is important to carefully consider all potential compensation and the steps needed to secure it after a wrongful death.

How Do You Prove Wrongful Death In West Virginia?

A wrongful death claim can be approached just like any other personal injury claim. To prove a case, you have to show:

  • Duty: The defendant had a certain “duty of care” to behave in a manner that was reasonably prudent and safe.
  • Breach: The defendant breached that duty through negligent, reckless or intentional actions.
  • Causation: That breach of duty by the defendant caused the death of your loved one.
  • Damages: Your loved one’s death resulted in actual damages to you and/or others.

For example, a truck driver has an ordinary duty of care to drive safely and obey traffic laws. If they drive while distracted, speed or violate the hours of service regulations, that’s an act of negligence and a breach of their duty. If they cause an accident that kills someone’s spouse, thus depriving the surviving family members of their loved one’s income and support, that would make a valid wrongful death claim.

Every wrongful death claim has unique elements that have to be evaluated. We can help you understand the elements of a wrongful death claim and how your situation applies. That allows you to make informed decisions about your claim.

Can I Accept An Insurance Settlement Without An Attorney?

You can, but it is not wise. While no amount of compensation will ever replace your loved one, you deserve a fair settlement – and the insurance company is always hoping to settle for less than what victims or their loved ones are due. They frequently try to pressure devastated family members into accepting low-ball offers in wrongful death claims and signing away their rights as quickly as possible.

When you’re grieving your loss, you are least equipped to make rational, informed decisions about your options. You may not even have the energy to assert your rights or protect your interests. An experienced wrongful death attorney can properly value your claim and objectively advocate for the compensation you deserve. Having an attorney involved also puts the insurance company on notice that you cannot be bullied by high-pressure tactics.

Contact The Peyton Law Firm, P.L.L.C., For A Free Consultation

We offer complimentary, no-pressure consultations for families with questions about wrongful death lawsuits. To make an appointment with one of our attorneys, call 800-681-9555 or send us an email.