wrongful death document with gavel and pen next to itWrongful Death Lawyer

As a trusted wrongful death lawyer in Morgantown, WV knows, personal injury cases are upsetting to begin with, but wrongful death cases are much more devastating and intense. It is incredibly hard to go through a case while grieving the unnecessary loss of a loved one. An experienced wrongful death lawyer in Morgantown, West Virginia from Hayhurst Law, PLLC will know how to navigate through this difficult time with sympathy and kindness so that you do not have to go through anything else traumatic. Continue reading to find out how a wrongful death lawyer helps his or her clients through the entire process. Now, there are different reasons why a wrongful death can take place. One of the strongest examples is because of a drunk driving accident.  When such an accident occurs, the drunk driver is not only putting himself in danger, but he is also risking the lives of others as well.  Sadly there have been many instances, in which people end up suffering, due to the negligence of a driver, who decides to drink and drive. 

A Lawyer Will Think Logically

It can be hard to take emotions out of things when you are grieving the loss of a loved one. This is why it is so important to have someone on your side who knows the rules and regulations and how to go about a wrongful death case. Instead of having to learn a handful of new things, your lawyer will already know what to expect with a wrongful death case and be well-versed in all of the laws of your state. Your lawyer can also look at your case with an objective eye, rather than feeling emotional the entire time while looking at the case. Now, this is not to say that a lawyer cannot feel emotion toward a case.  However, what is important is that the lawyer ensures that there is a balance kept between business, as well as emotional aspects.  If there is too much emotion involved in the case, the importance and essence of the case from a business perspective will be diminished.  On the flip side, if too much of a business spectrum is focused on, then the client may feel like the wrongful death lawyer does not care that much. This will be the best way to come up with a convincing argument to hopefully win your court case. 

A Lawyer Will Fight for You

An experienced wrongful death lawyer from Hayhurst Law, PLLC will do their best to fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. Unfortunately, nothing we do can bring your loved one back, but we can try to get some form of justice. This may include all of the money for your loved one’s funeral, any medical bills you had to pay because of the accident, and damages for pain and suffering and the unfortunate loss of a loved one. If you depended on your loved one financially, it may also include all of the wages that he or she would have likely brought in for your family. 

Morgantown, WV Wrongful Death Infographic

9 common reasons for wrongful death Infographic

Proving Wrongful Death

When a loved one starts out with a wrongful death case, they may be wondering what they need to prove and whether it will be difficult to prove. As with any legal claim, the best way to get started is going to be to work with a lawyer you can trust throughout the process so that you know you are on the right track and getting all of your necessary paperwork in. If you are wondering if you even have the option to file a wrongful death case, it is good to first understand whether your loved one would have had the opportunity to file a claim if they were alive. 

Of course, this might sound counterintuitive. “If my loved one were still alive they would not need to file a wrongful death claim!” While this is true, if your loved one were still alive and they had the opportunity to file a personal injury claim, this is a good indication that you have the chance to file a wrongful death claim. You will want to begin speaking with your lawyer to determine if their case qualifies to be brought forward as wrongful death. 

The Necessary Elements of Wrongful Death

It is important to understand which elements are required when it comes to wrongful death claims. Just because your loved one’s passing was caused by another person does not mean that it automatically qualifies as wrongful death. 

  • Negligence occurred. One of the first things your lawyer will be looking for is whether negligence occurred. This means that if you are bringing your claim against someone (or a larger corporation), you will need to show that they acted in a way that was negligent or reckless. For example, wrongful death can happen, not just because of a car accident, but also because of surgery that went wrong, thus, causing aspects like heart failure.  This is also known as medical malpractice, where intentional or unintentional actions during a medical procedure can cause internal issues related to the surgery to get worse. An example of this would be getting a kidney transplant only for transplant issues to go wrong. 
  • A breach of duty occurred. It is important to understand that, in general, people owe each other a certain duty of care depending on the circumstances. For example, those who are driving on the road owe other drivers and others on the road a duty of care to obey the traffic laws. If a breach occurred, they were not following this duty of care. 
  • There was causation. For causation, you will be attempting to prove that the defendant’s negligence directly caused your loved one to pass away. 
  • There are damages. Damages can come in a range from your loved one’s hospital bills, the cost of their funeral/burial, and other things, like loss of income, potential earnings, and even pain and suffering before they pass away. Moreover, damages can end up coming from a car that ended up being wrecked in the process, due to the impact of the accident.  Moreover, when it comes to compensation in relation to car repairs, the amount that one will receive depends on the extent of the damage.  For example, a car scratch will obviously have less compensation put towards it than a car that has cracked windows and a door that is off its hinges. 

It is imperative that you have all four of these elements when you are attempting to prove someone else caused the death of your loved one and that a wrongful death suit should be brought forward. With the help of a lawyer who specializes in wrongful deaths, you can quickly establish whether you have these four elements and move on with providing evidence for your case. 


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Contact Our Law Firm Today

Do not hesitate to reach out to Hayhurst Law, PLLC right away if you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligent actions. We will not push you to speak about things that are too difficult but can get the process moving so that you do not miss the statute of limitations for filing or collecting important evidence for your case. It is always crucial to act with haste so that we can build the best possible care for you and your family possible. We will do most of the work while you focus on grieving the loss of your loved one. It is our priority to take care of you and your family, so you can focus on taking care of everyone around you and making sure they are healing properly from the enormous loss in your life. Contact us today to set up a consultation. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid in a Wrongful Death Claim

Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligent actions can be one of the most devastating events of your life. While nothing can make up for the death of a family member, pursuing a wrongful death claim can help with some of the financial burden. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when filing a wrongful death claim.

  • Speaking to the public about the death. If your loved one died tragically or unexpectedly, news outlets may want to interview you. While this might seem harmless, you will want to avoid making public statements, especially if you are filing a wrongful death claim. Anything you say can be used to devalue your claim.
  • Providing too much information to the insurance company. After an accident that claimed your family member’s life, the negligent party’s insurance company may contact you and ask you questions about your case. It is in your best interest to say as little as possible to them. They care about the bottom line first and may try to devalue your claim. Refer them to your wrongful death lawyer in Morgantown, WV.
  • Arguing with family members. If your family member was killed in the accident, it can cause a lot of grief and tension within your family. Everyone may be on edge and start bickering with one another. However, fighting constantly will just make the situation worse and increase the risk of errors. Instead, try to be there for one another.
  • Neglecting to consider other liable parties. Sometimes more than one party can contribute to wrongful death. Therefore, it’s important to think about other parties that may be responsible for your loved one’s death. For example, if your loved one was killed in a truck accident, the truck driver may be the obvious at-fault party. However, the trucking company and truck manufacturer may also be at-fault. Considering other liable parties can provide you with larger compensation.
  • Not hiring a wrongful death lawyer. If you plan to pursue legal action for wrongful death, it is important to have a skilled wrongful death lawyer on your side. These cases can involve many complexities, so it’s worth it to work with someone knowledgeable and experienced. A lawyer can improve your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your loved one’s death.

Morgantown Wrongful Death Law Statistics

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are just under 225,000 people killed each year by unintentional injury. More than 45,000 of those deaths occur in traffic accidents. There are just over 44,000 deaths caused by unintentional fall deaths. Families of these victims may be able to pursue wrongful death claims if their loved one’s death was the result of the negligent or reckless acts or behavior of another party or parties.

4 Things You Should Understand About Wrongful Death Claims

When you are first starting to file a wrongful death claim, you may have many feelings and you may feel pressure from different sources. It is possible that the responsible party or their insurance agent will make you feel like you are being vindictive. The truth is, filing a wrongful death claim after the loss of your loved one is far from vindictive. It can be one way for you and your family to make sense of what happened and to receive necessary compensation for the abrupt and unfair passing of your loved one. When you are dealing with this in addition to the wrongful death claim, do not hesitate to reach out to us to see how we can help you as you get started. Read below for more information about the top 4 things you should know about filing a wrongful death claim. 

4 Things To Know

As you begin the wrongful death claim process, there are a few things you should have in the back of your mind as you proceed. 

  • The types of damages you can recover. If a person files a personal injury claim, they know they have the opportunity to file a claim for different types of damages. A wrongful death claim is simply an extension of that. If you are successful with your claim, it is possible to receive compensation for things like emotional distress, loss of consortium, property damage, any accrued medical costs, and even the loss of their earnings. 
  • There is a statute of limitations. Like any legal claim, you will only have a certain amount of time to file a claim after someone else has caused your loved one’s untimely death. In the state of West Virginia, you will have two years from the date of your loved one’s passing to file a claim. Once you pass this timeline, you will likely be unsuccessful in your attempt to file. 
  • Wrongful death claims are not criminal charges. If you are hoping to lock the person up and keep them behind bars, that is not what a wrongful death claim will do. Instead, you are bringing a civil action forward. The purpose of filing this type of claim is to recover compensation for things that you have lost as a result of your loved one’s passing. 
  • Your claim may not be quick. It is understandable that you want to bring justice to your loved one and your family. It is also important to understand that this may not come right away. Your case can take anywhere from months to years and may end up going to court. Speak with your lawyer ahead of time to understand the options you have and what timelines often look like. 

You should not feel like you are out of options after your loved one dies. If someone else’s negligence caused your loved one to pass, it is time to seek legal help. Give our office a call at your earliest convenience to see what we can do for you during this difficult time. Speak with a wrongful death lawyer in Morgantown, West Virginia from Hayhurst Law, PLLC today. 

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims in West Virginia

As a Morgantown, WV wrongful death lawyer from Hayhurst Law PLLC knows, a wrongful death claim can be emotionally challenging for families who have lost a loved one due to the negligence or intentional act of another party. In West Virginia, there are specific laws and procedures in place to address wrongful death cases. We want you to understand how wrongful death claims work and want you to learn more about eligibility, damages, statutes of limitations, and more.

What constitutes a wrongful death claim in West Virginia? 

A wrongful death claim arises when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another individual or entity. This can include various situations such as medical malpractice, car accidents, workplace accidents, defective products, or criminal acts. To establish a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions directly caused the death and that it resulted in damages to the surviving family members.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in West Virginia? 

A Morgantown wrongful death lawyer knows that the personal representative of the deceased’s estate is responsible for filing a wrongful death claim. The personal representative is typically appointed through the probate court and acts as the legal representative of the estate. If the deceased did not appoint a personal representative in their will, the court will appoint one. The personal representative brings the claim on behalf of the surviving family members, such as the spouse, children, parents, or other dependents.

What damages can be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit? 

Wrongful death claims aim to compensate the surviving family members for their losses resulting from the death of their loved ones. The damages that can be claimed include both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages may include medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and loss of future financial support. Non-economic damages encompass emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of guidance or consortium.

What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in West Virginia? 

It is crucial to file a wrongful death claim within the specified time frame, as there is a statute of limitations in place. In West Virginia, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is generally two years from the date of the deceased person’s death. Failing to initiate legal action within this time limit may result in the claim being time-barred.

How does the legal process for a wrongful death claim unfold? 

Once a wrongful death claim is filed, the legal process begins with the gathering of evidence, including medical records, accident reports, and witness testimonies. The defendant will likely present their defense, and both parties may engage in negotiations or alternative dispute resolution methods. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will determine liability and assess damages. 

Navigating a wrongful death claim in West Virginia can be a challenging and emotionally draining process. By seeking the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer, families can ensure their rights are protected throughout the process of pursuing a wrongful death claim. Reach out to Hayhurst Law PLLC to speak with our Morgantown wrongful death lawyer now.

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