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Charleston, WV Wrongful Death Attorney

Charleston Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things anyone can go through. It can be even more devastating when it happens as a result of a preventable accident. Unfortunately, these types of cases happen all too often in West Virginia. Some families lose a loved one due to the negligence of others. In these instances, you need to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we understand the pain and suffering that comes with losing a loved one due to someone else’s careless or reckless behavior. Our wrongful death attorneys have the experience and expertise to navigate the legal process and support you in pursuing justice.

When you lose a loved one in a car accident, medical malpractice, or any other unexpected incident, coping with the loss can be overwhelming. Pursuing justice may be the best option for you and your family. We will work to investigate the details of the accident and build a strong case on your behalf.

You don’t have to go through this alone. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Charleston, WV wrongful death lawyer.

How Does West Virginia Define Wrongful Death?

In West Virginia, this legal concept refers to a wrongful act, neglect, or default that causes a person’s death. Fatalities stemming from medical malpractice, auto collisions, or workplace accidents are a few examples of these types of deaths. Under these circumstances, the law allows for a lawsuit to be filed against the responsible party.

Unlike some states, West Virginia requires the deceased’s estate’s personal representative, also known as the executor, to bring such a claim in court. With this designation, they act on behalf of the estate to request compensation for losses caused by this incident.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases

Unfortunately, an untimely fatality can occur from a variety of circumstances, as hinted at above. There are a few common types of wrongful death cases that we regularly see, including:

  • Car accidents: One of the leading causes of wrongful death is vehicle accidents. Speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving are all negligent actions that can lead to a fatal crash. Typically, the at-fault driver (and, more specifically, their insurer) will need to compensate the family for their losses.
  • Medical malpractice: Misdiagnoses, surgical errors, and childbirth injuries are some types of medical malpractice. These negligent actions, or lack thereof, are performed by health care professionals. When a patient dies from a preventable medical error, the family and their personal representative may have grounds for a lawsuit.
  • Workplace accidents: When a loved one heads to work, you expect them to come home at the end of the day. Industrial accidents, falls, and construction site incidents can all claim the lives of innocent victims. Employers and third parties are liable for safety violations that lead to these deaths.
  • Product liability: Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers must produce and sell safe products. When they fail to do so, it can cause fatal injuries. Dangerous medications and defective vehicles are the common causes of these accidents.
  • Premises liability: All property owners must maintain safe premises under liability laws. If conditions contribute to a fatal slip-and-fall or inadequate security, that could lead to a wrongful death case.
  • Intentional acts: Assault, murder, and battery are all deliberate acts that can lead to wrongful death claims. While the state will pursue criminal charges, the victim’s family can seek compensation through the filing of a civil lawsuit.

Who Can Be Held Liable for These Fatalities?

The parties who can be sued in these cases depend on the circumstances of the death.

Negligence is a common basis for wrongful death claims. Individuals, businesses, or medical providers who fail to fulfill their legal duty and cause a death may be liable for these preventable losses of life.

If someone intentionally causes harm that leads to another person’s passing, they can be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, if someone commits an assault leading to another person dying, they can be sued for wrongful death.

Reckless behavior or indifference to the safety of others can also lead to wrongful death liability. For instance, if reckless driving causes a fatal accident, that driver who behaved inappropriately may be held accountable.

Strict liability applies in some instances, such as defective product-related fatalities. Manufacturers, distributors, or retailers of dangerous or defective items can be held liable for wrongful deaths caused by their products.

If you believe you have a valid wrongful death case, consider reaching out to DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC to learn more about your legal options.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in West Virginia?

In the state of West Virginia, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years. The clock starts to tick at the time of death. After this 2-year period has passed, your right to claim compensation may be forfeited.

If you believe you have a valid claim, act promptly. When you seek legal advice from our team of skilled wrongful death lawyers, we will ensure that your case abides by all the state guidelines and deadlines. Time is essential for these claims. You don’t want to wait only to find out you have lost your chance at to seek compensation.

Damages Available in Preventable Death Cases

When a person’s life is tragically cut short due to someone else’s actions, family members are left with financial, emotional, and psychological losses.

There are different types of damages that can be pursued in a wrongful death lawsuit, including economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Economic Damages

These damages are calculated based on financial losses suffered by the remaining family members. They can include:

  • Medical expenses for any treatment received by the deceased before passing away
  • Funeral expenses as well as burial, cremation, and other related costs
  • Current and future lost income
  • Loss of benefits, such as health insurance or proceeds from pensions or retirement plans

Non-Economic Damages

Often, these cannot be easily calculated, as the economic damages above can be. Non-economic losses, such as the following, may be compensable:

  • Pain and suffering that often accompanies the loss of a loved one.
  • Emotional distress surviving family members are forced to endure after their relative’s passing.
  • Loss of consortium refers to the emotional support, companionship, and love the deceased provided to family members. Spouses, children, and parents may claim these damages.
  • Loss of guidance and mentorship can be considered in the damage calculation of the deceased as a parent or grandparent.
  • Loss of household services provided at home through childcare, housekeeping, or maintenance can be quantified and claimed.

Punitive Damages

Sometimes, the responsible parties’ actions were egregious. While the imposition of punitive damages by the Court is rare, they may be awarded as a way to punish the defendant and deter future behavior.

The specific damages available and their calculation will vary depending on the specificity of your case. At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we can help you determine the appropriate compensation for the loss of your loved one.

Who Gets Money from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the personal representative, but specific family members are eligible to receive compensation. In most cases, the surviving spouse of the deceased may be awarded damages. However, this can also extend to the children of the deceased, including:

  • Biological children
  • Adopted children
  • Stepchildren

Sometimes, parents and siblings of the deceased can also be eligible for compensation. Also, anyone financially dependent on the decedent at the time of their death may receive a share of the damages.

The jury or court determines the distribution of damages during the legal proceedings. During this time, they consider the relationships and financial dependence of the eligible beneficiaries. After accounting for specific expenses, such as funeral costs, the remaining compensation is divided among the eligible parties.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Wrongful Death Claim?

Pursuing a wrongful death claim can be challenging. In these situations, it is always advisable to seek legal representation.

Wrongful death cases involve intricate legal procedures, paperwork, and deadlines. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the process. With their help, they can ensure you meet all requirements and deadlines.

In these cases, it’s especially important that you build a strong claim. Your attorney will investigate the incident, gather evidence, and get insight from expert witnesses. Along with that, they can help with determining the appropriate compensation for the loss of your loved one.

Losing a loved one is emotionally draining. A Charleston, WV wrongful death lawyer is there to provide support during this difficult time. As they handle all legal matters pertaining to your case, you can focus on healing and grieving.

During this time, they will negotiate with insurance companies or opposing parties on your behalf. The goal is to help you get the justice you deserve and a favorable settlement. If the insurance company or other legal team does not want to reach a reasonable conclusion, a wrongful death attorney should be willing and prepared to go to trial.

What Does It Cost To Hire an Attorney?

For many families already struggling with the loss of a loved one, legal expenses are a big concern. Most attorneys who handle wrongful death cases in Charleston, WV work on a contingency fee basis. In these cases, they only get paid if you win your case.

Choose DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC for Your Death Case

If you’re looking for a reliable and experienced law firm to handle your wrongful death case, contact DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC.

We have an impressive legal legacy with over 150 combined years of experience. Founded in Charleston, West Virginia, 40 years ago, our experience gives us the wisdom and knowledge to deal with even the most complex cases.

What sets us apart from other firms is their client-centric approach. Our firm prioritizes client comfort and understanding, proceeding at a pace clients find comfortable and providing compassionate support throughout the legal process. We understand that most personal injury cases are challenging to prove, but we work diligently to secure fair settlements for every client.

Find Out How We Can Assist With Your Wrongful Death Case in Charleston

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can go through. The pain and grief can be especially overwhelming when the loss is sudden and caused by someone else’s negligence. At times like this, you need a Charleston, WV wrongful death attorney on your side who can help guide you through the process of seeking justice and compensation.

At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, our law firm understands wrongful death cases and the emotional toll they take on families. We are here to help you fight for justice and ensure the negligent party is held accountable for their actions.

Although nothing can bring back your loved one, a legal claim can provide some measure of closure and peace of mind. In turn, your family can focus on healing after this tremendous loss.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward justice, we encourage you to contact a Charleston, WV wrongful death lawyer in our office for a free case review. We’ll listen to your story, answer any questions you may have, and explain the legal options available to you.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. Viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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