Trusted Charleston, WV Wrongful Death Lawyers Ready to Serve You
Losing a loved one is one of the worst tragedies that anyone can endure. The feelings of pain, grief, and loss can be overwhelming and unimaginable. At Campbell & Smith, PLLC, we understand this all too well and are dedicated to fighting for wrongful death victims. If the negligent or intentional act of another is to blame for your loved one’s death, our proven Charleston, WV wrongful death lawyers want to help you hold them accountable and to fight for your right to recover the compensation your family deserves.
While we understand that no amount of money can take away your pain or bring back your loved one, we believe that you are entitled to compensation under the law. We want to do all that we can to fight for that compensation on your behalf.
Have you lost a loved one but feel unsure as to whether or not you’re entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim? This feeling is understandable as the law can often be complex and confusing. Here at Campbell & Smith, PLLC, our Charleston, WV wrongful death attorneys can help you come to an understanding of your legal rights and the best way to begin pursuing the justice you deserve.
Wrongful Death Claims Explained
What gives rise to a wrongful death claim? Essentially, a wrongful death claim occurs any time someone dies as a result of a situation for which they could have pursued a personal injury claim if they had lived. Some common examples of incidents that can give rise to wrongful death claims include:
- Car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle accidents;
- Nursing home negligence or intentional mistreatment;
- Construction-related accidents or other work-related incidents;
- Deaths caused by dangerous and/or defective products;
- Slip and fall deaths which occur at dangerous negligently maintained premises; and
- Surgical errors and other types of medical malpractice.
If your loved one was a victim of any of the unfortunate types of incidents described above or another incident that you feel may entitle you to pursue a wrongful death claim, we’re here for you. Generally, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by family members of beneficiaries of the individual who unfortunately passed away. Our proven Charleston, WV wrongful death legal team can help you understand if you qualify to file a suit, as well as what compensation you may be entitled to under the law.
At Campbell & Smith, PLLC, we understand that, when you lose a loved one, you lose more than just the companionship of the person you shared your life with. From a practical standpoint, you’ve lost the financial support of that loved one as well. Dealing with the emotional consequences of a loss is enough of a burden; you shouldn’t have to feel alone in dealing with financial strain and worry.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Case
To bring a successful wrongful death case, surviving family members need to prove that their loved one’s death was caused by another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts.
The most common basis for a wrongful death claim is negligence. To demonstrate negligence, you must show:
- That the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care;
- That the defendant breached their duty; and
- That the breach of duty caused your loved one’s death.
For example, drivers have a duty to follow all traffic laws. If someone runs a red light at a high rate of speed, this is a breach of their duty. Did that driver’s actions lead to an accident that killed your family member? If so, then the driver’s breach of duty is the cause of your loved one’s death, and you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Charleston, WV
Under West Virginia law, only the personal representative of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, any financial award received in the case will go to the surviving family members. The surviving spouse and children of the decedent are first in line to recover damages. In some cases, surviving siblings or parents could be entitled to damages if they depended on the deceased for financial support at the time of their death.
If the deceased left behind no eligible family members, then the compensation will be distributed according to the terms of the person’s will. If they died without a will, then the intestate laws of West Virginia would apply to distribute compensation to the deceased person’s next of kin.
As with other types of personal injury claims, you have only a limited amount of time to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in West Virginia. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. For wrongful death lawsuits, you have two years from the date of death to file.
For many grieving families, choosing to file a wrongful death lawsuit is about more than just recovering compensation. It’s about holding wrongdoers accountable and helping deter future behavior. Serving as a possible deterrent is an important aspect of a lawsuit to people who’ve lost a loved one. If they can help prevent similar incidents, it could bring more meaning to losing a loved one in a horrible tragedy.
Types of Compensation Available for Wrongful Death
When you contact our Charleston, WV wrongful death lawyer, we will be able to help you determine what legal grounds may exist for your wrongful death claim as well as what compensation you may be entitled to recover. In some instances, compensation may include monetary damages for lost earnings that your deceased loved one would have provided. Other damages that may be recovered include:
- Expenses incurred as a result of the death, including medical and funeral bills;
- Life insurance and other benefits which have accrued as a result of the death;
- Lost Inheritance;
- Damages from pain and suffering and mental anguish;
- Damages for loss of companionship; and
- Compensation for lost or damaged property.
In limited circumstances, the court may also award punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded only in cases where the defendant’s conduct is especially reckless, intentional, or malicious. These damages are meant to punish the defendant and deter them from engaging in similar conduct going forward.
Losing a loved one can be overwhelming. If this has recently happened to you, you have more than enough on your plate without worrying about the complexities of the law or what you’ll need to do to pursue justice on your loved one’s behalf.
Wrongful death claims can often be complex, and legal teams on the other side often represent insurance companies whose interests are not aligned with yours. You need Charleston, WV wrongful death attorneys on your side who understand the law, and who will pursue your claim aggressively. Without an experienced Charleston, WV wrongful death attorney on your team, you are likely to receive far less compensation than you rightfully deserve.
Speak with Our Compassionate Charleston, WV Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
At Campbell & Smith, PLLC, we are here for you. We care deeply about our community, and we want to fight for justice on behalf of those who deserve it. The quality, knowledge, and experience of our legal team are second to none in Charleston and the surrounding area. Whatever your story, we want to listen in order to find out how we may be able to help. If you believe you have grounds for a wrongful death claim, call and speak with our experienced and skilled Charleston, WV wrongful death attorneys today.
Our highly-skilled legal team can also represent clients with cases such as hospital error and malpractice, unwanted sexual advances, nursing home maltreatment, auto vehicle accidents, and large semi-truck accidents. We know our way around the courtroom, and we understand the power of aggressive advocacy.
We want to put our knowledge and experience to work on your behalf. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.