Standing in Wrongful Death Cases

Each year, thousands of people lose a loved one. Everyone understands that death is inevitable, but it is still an unknown for which many people are not fully prepared. An unexpected death creates more challenges and is often the result of tragic and unfortunate encounters. These sudden deaths impact families in a variety of ways, causing emotional and financial strains on many people.

When a loved one passes away, everyone experiences loss. Unfortunately, the law does not permit everyone to recover for the many different losses that occur after a loved one’s death.

If you or someone you know has passed away and you want to bring a wrongful death claim, contact Colombo Law to determine your rights.

What is Standing?

Standing is the right to bring a legal cause of action against another individual in civil actions. The laws pertaining to standing vary depending on the type of claim brought before the court. Standing is strictly a creature of statute, meaning individuals only have standing if a statute expressly allows them to. In wrongful death actions, standing is the ability of one individual to initiate a lawsuit against the wrongdoer on behalf of the person who is deceased. Standing in wrongful death actions is unique because the named party has not been directly injured by the defendant’s actions, as is the case in many other personal injury actions.

Who has Standing in West Virginia Wrongful Death Cases?

West Virginia law pertaining to standing is extremely limited in comparison to other states. West Virginia only permits a personal representative to file a claim against a wrongdoer. Many other states allow a child, spouse, or parent to file a lawsuit. Although West Virginia prohibits these parties from initiating an action, the law requires the personal representative to distribute funds to a spouse, adopted child or stepchildren, brothers sisters and parents, so long as they were financially dependent upon the decedent at the time of the individual’s death.

What Happens if the Personal Representative Fails to File a Claim?

If your loved one has a claim for wrongful death and a personal representative refuses to file a claim, you should speak with an experienced attorney. Acting as the personal representative, there is an obligation to preserve and collect all monies for distribution. If failing to file a claim causes harm to an estate, the personal representative can be held liable. In addition, a personal representative may be removed if they fail to act properly on behalf of the estate.

Contact Experienced Wrongful Death Attorneys

Colombo Law is a personal injury law firm experienced in wrongful death cases. Our lawyers are friendly, knowledgeable, and skilled professionals who can help obtain you the most compensation for your loved one. Colombo Law handles claims throughout the state of West Virginia. For the first step in your road to financial recovery, contact one of our skilled attorneys today.

by Colombo Law
Last updated on - Originally published on