When somebody loses their life as the result of the actions or inactions of another person or business, the estate executor or administrator may bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The family can seek compensation for the loss of a loved one, emotional suffering, lost wages of the deceased, medical expenses and potentially more. If the court awards the family with compensation, the family may be able to receive a percentage of the total damages.

Each state differs on who can bring a wrongful death case to trial. During this difficult time, it is crucial to know your options.

What is comparative fault?

Comparative fault is when an injured or deceased person is partly or wholly at fault for their injuries. West Virginia is different than most states when it comes to wrongful death cases. West Virginia uses modified comparative fault to determine which party is at fault for the injuries or death.

Under West Virginia’s modified comparative fault law, the surviving family cannot receive compensation for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit if the court determines that the deceased person is 50 percent or more at fault.

An example of this rule is if a pedestrian disregards traffic laws and a car hits and kills them. The judge could determine that they are 20 percent at fault for the crash because the crash would likely not have happened had he not broken the law.

Consider speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer if you have lost a loved one in an accident to discuss filing a wrongful death claim. A lawyer can walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for you and your family.

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