Do I Have a West Virginia Wrongful Death Case?
You May be Able to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The Law Firm You Can Trust
“When can I file a wrongful death lawsuit in West Virginia?” If you have you lost a loved one and are wondering if you have a case, Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law may be able to assist you. If your loved one lost was taken from you due to the neglectful or wrongful actions of another party, you may be eligible to file a West Virginia wrongful death lawsuit. Since 1952, Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law has held wrongdoers financially accountable for their actions – and we may be able to help you, as well.
3 Requirements to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Generally, three things must be true to file a lawsuit for wrongful death:
1. An individual died.
2. The death of the individual was caused by neglect or a wrongful act of another individual, company, or government entity.
3. The individual who died would have been legally entitled to sue the responsible party (if he lived).
Why Should I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Although we cannot ease your emotional pain, our law firm can work to dramatically ease the financial devastation that accompanies the untimely death of a loved one. When we hold wrongdoers accountable for their heinous actions and negligence through successful wrongful death lawsuits, together we help safeguard our communities. Financial accountability can be a powerful deterrent against recklessness and negligence.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, the duly appointed, legally-recognized personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is responsible for the wrongful death claim. In many cases, these types of claims are settled out of court before a lawsuit is filed. If the claim remains unsettled, Angotti & Straface can file a complaint in court on the behalf of the estate’s personal representative, who may or may not be a relative. If damages are awarded in for the complaint, eligibility for the share of damages may include:
- Surviving Spouse
- Children (including adopted and stepchildren) of the deceased
- Parents of the deceased
- Siblings of the deceased
- Any family members of the deceased who were financially dependent on the deceased at the time of death
Who Is the Personal Representative in a WV Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Typically, an executor (personal representative) is named in the will of the deceased. If no will can be located, an interested party (usually the decedent’s spouse or adult child) must apply to be appointed as the administrator of the estate (personal representative). The local county court’s probate office handles this process. Unless a will specifically removes the requirement, a monetary bond may be required to be posted. Additionally, the personal representative must take an oath to be sworn in. Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law can assist you with this process.
Can I File a WV Wrongful Death Lawsuit If There Is a Criminal Case?
Yes. Personal representatives of an eligible estate can file a lawsuit seeking financial damages for wrongful death in a civil action. The relief available in this civil action is primarily monetary, whereas the criminal justice system seeks primarily punitive relief against the liable party.
Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Punitive?
While the criminal court system primarily handles “punishing” the at-fault party responsible for causing death, the civil court can also mete out punitive correction for causing wrongful death. When the actions of the at-fault party were intentional, malicious, reckless, or particularly heinous, significant punitive financial penalties may apply. These may be awarded as additional monetary damages beyond actual financial and emotional losses.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in WV?
You have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. in West Virginia, your failure to file in a timely manner may permanently eliminate your eligibility to secure damages at a later time; however, this is not always the case. For example, the two-year statute of limitations does include exceptions, such as some medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits. To learn more, contact Angotti & Straface as soon as you are able.
How Much Is My WV Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth?
At Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law, we know what your lawsuit is worth and we will not accept any less than you are entitled to receive. Contact us for a free initial consultation to learn more. Eligible estates can pursue monetary compensation for losses that are both tangible (actual financial damages) and intangible (emotional damages).
Tangible Financial Damages:
- Loss of Decedent’s Income to Support the Family
- Medical Bills of the Decedent Prior to Death
- Funeral & Burial Expenses
- Compensation for Anticipated Future Loss of Protection, Services, Care, and Assistance from the Decedent
In addition, punitive damages may also apply in some cases.
Helping You Hold the Guilty Party Accountable for Your Loved One’s Death
On behalf of the attorneys and staff at Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law, we offer our sincere condolences for the unexpected loss of your loved one. We understand the intense emotions and pain involved and regret that we cannot assist in alleviating your anguish. What we can offer is to lift some of the burden of the financial hardship related to the loss of your loved one, as well as helping you hold the at-fault party responsible for what they did to you and your family. Additionally, while it may be little consolation in light of your extreme loss, holding the perpetrator accountable often helps protect others in our communities from enduring similar tragedies. We offer a complimentary consultation for families who have lost a loved one due to wrongful acts and there is no fee unless we collect on your behalf. Contact our compassionate team to get started. Call: (304) 292-4381. Our law firm serves families in Charleston, Huntington, Parkersburg, Morgantown, Wheeling, and throughout West Virginia.