Understanding the Basics of a Wrongful Death Claim in West Virginia

After the loss of your loved one, you might experience a range of emotions on a day to day basis. The loss of a loved one is difficult at any point in time; however, a needless or senseless death caused by the negligence of another is especially difficult as it is often sudden and unexpected. This article outlines some of the basic questions that potential clients often have regarding a wrongful death claim. Although this addresses the basics, our attorneys understand you may have more questions. When you are ready to speak with an experienced attorney about the wrongful death of your loved one contact Colombo Law.

Important Considerations your Case

In order to ensure your wrongful death case has the highest probability of success, you must ensure compliance with the following procedural requirements in your case:

Standing in West Virginia Wrongful Death Claims

In the state of West Virginia, standing refers to the appropriate individuals who may initiate a claim. In wrongful death cases, standing is extremely limited. The law requires the personal representative to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the decedent. Unlike many other states, family members are prohibited from initiating a claim. For more information regarding standing in West Virginia wrongful death actions, please read Colombo Law article on Standing in West Virginia Wrongful Death Cases.

Timeframe for Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim

Every type of claim in the state of West Virginia must be filed within a specified period of time under the law. This time frame specified under the law is called the statute of limitations. One of the main purposes of having a statute of limitations is to ensure that an individual does not have to worry about exposure to a lawsuit indefinitely. Generally, in West Virginia, wrongful death claims must be initiated within two years after the decedent’s date of death. However, there may be some limited exceptions that may apply depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.

Distribution of Proceeds

In a successful action for wrongful death, damages recovered from the lawsuit will be distributed to the following individuals:

  • Surviving spouse and children, including adopted children and stepchildren;
  • Brothers, sisters, parents;
  • Any persons who were financially dependent upon the decedent at the time of his or her death;

In some limited circumstances, damages may be awarded to other individuals listed in the decedent’s will or in accordance with West Virginia’s law of intestate succession.

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

Without knowing the facts and circumstances specific to your case, no attorney can provide you with advice as to how best to proceed. The loss of a loved one can has a devastating impact on you and your family. If you believe that your loved one’s death was premature, due to the negligence of another, you should contact Colombo Law to make a no-risk initial consultation with one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys.

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by Colombo Law
Last updated on - Originally published on