When you have lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing or due to injuries caused by a defective product, no amount of money is going to take away your grief or replace the future you should have had together. In addition to the crushing grief and deep personal loss, you may be suddenly facing a very uncertain financial future. A wrongful death claim may allow you to recover compensation that will restore your financial future and help you move forward in life. Wrongful death lawsuits can also bring you some measure of justice.
A wrongful death lawsuit is meant to compensate loved ones. It is not a criminal case and it does not matter if there was a criminal case against the defendant. If there was, it does not matter whether the defendant was or was not convicted. Wrongful death claims are civil actions and completely separate form any criminal charges. Additionally, in most cases we seek compensation from the insurance company rather than an individual, so it does not matter that the person who caused your loved one’s death cannot personally afford to pay.
To learn more about your rights and how we can help, please contact Mehalic Law PLLC today online or at 304-346-3462 to schedule a free consultation. We help clients throughout West Virginia, Morgantown, Wheeling, Martinsburg and other areas.
Who Can Be a Beneficiary in West Virginia Wrongful Death?
Like most states, West Virginia is specific when it comes to who may receive compensation in a wrongful death case. This includes:
- Children, including step children and adopted children
- Parents and siblings
- Anyone who was financially dependent on the decedent
If none of the above exists, beneficiaries are designated according to the will. If there is no will, beneficiaries are designated according to West Virginia’s law of intestate succession.
A common law spouse may be an eligible beneficiary in a wrongful death lawsuit. You cannot form a common law marriage in West Virginia, but all states recognize common law marriages formed legally in states which allow it.
If you were in a relationship which you believed constituted common law marriage formed in West Virginia, you do not qualify as a spouse, but you may still be eligible for wrongful death compensation if you were financially depended on the decedent.
These cases are very complicated and require more proof than a straightforward wrongful death claim by a spouse bound by traditional marriage, especially if there are family members or others who are trying to prevent you from becoming a beneficiary.
Jeff Mehalic understands how devastating it can be to discover that, not only have you lost your life partner, but now you have to prove the legitimacy of your relationship and fight for the compensation you know your loved one would have wanted for you. We can help.
Damages in West Virginia Wrongful Death Claims
In West Virginia, if your loved one did not immediately die from their injuries, you may be able to bring a survival action on their behalf as well as the wrongful death suit. Wrongful death and survival actions are brought together. Damages can include:
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering from the time of injury to the time of death
- Your loved one’s lost income from the time of injury to the time of death
- Your loved one’s medical expenses from the time of injury to the time of death
- Your sorrow and mental anguish
- Loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance and advice you would have received from your loved one
- Loss of income that your loved one would have provided
- Value of the services, assistance, care and protection your loved one would have provided
- Funeral and burial expenses
Your Free Consultation with Mehalic Law PPLC
When you choose Mehalic Law, attorney Jeff Mehalic will be the only attorney you deal with and will handle your case personally. We know that this is important to clients in any type of case but can be even more important to those who are going through the grief and pain of losing a loved one.
You will not be shuffled off to an assistant or another attorney. Jeff is here for you. Your consultation is free of charge and if we move forward Jeff will represent you on a contingency fee basis. Please call us today at 304-346-3462 to schedule your free consultation. Mehalic Law PLLC serves Morgantown, Wheeling, Martinsburg and nearby areas throughout West Virginia.