When you lose a loved one unexpectedly to a tragic accident or criminal act, you likely feel like your world will never be the same. In fact, you might feel like your loss has left you at the bottom of a black hole from which there is no escape. You may not be able to imagine a future without your loved one in it.
Feelings of hopelessness and intense grief are common after a death for which you had no time to prepare. While you may never truly move on from your loss or overcome your grief, that doesn’t mean that you can’t heal and rebuild after such a painful loss.
There are many ways for your family to reduce the impact of a sudden loss, and a West Virginia wrongful death action may be among the most effective options. There are a number of ways in which a wrongful death action can benefit a family struggling with an unexpected loss.
Wrongful death claims establish you or your loved one as a victim
Particularly when someone dies in a traffic accident or workplace incident, people are quick to assume that the victim who died played a role in what happened. No amount of talking can overcome this bias, which stems from people wanting to believe they and their own loved ones wouldn’t meet a similar fate.
If the West Virginia courts agree with you that your loved one’s death is the result of someone else’s wrongful act or negligence, that decision can make it easier for you to speak about your loss and push back against a false narrative that the deceased was responsible for what happened.
Wrongful death claims can lead to financial compensation
Practical concerns are often far from the minds of those deep in the grieving process. You will likely have stronger feelings about never getting to hug or talk to your loved one again as opposed to never getting to deposit their paycheck again.
However, there is no question that the financial contributions of your family members have a direct impact on your quality of life. The same is true of non-financial work your loved one performed around the house. Although it may feel crass to put a price tag on someone’s contributions to your life, doing so can allow you to seek compensation from the court or through an insurance claim. While the money can’t undo all of the harm a wrongful death causes, it can reduce the ongoing impact of your loss.
A successful wrongful death claim provides you with justice
Sometimes, even when it is obvious that the actions or inaction of one person directly contributed to the death of another individual, there simply isn’t enough evidence to charge someone with a crime. Perhaps a total lack of intent to cause harm influenced how the prosecutor or the police handled the case.
Just because there wasn’t enough evidence to charge someone with a criminal act or if such an attempt at a charge was unsuccessful doesn’t mean the person who caused the crash can walk away without any kind of repercussions. You can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against someone who has already successfully defended against criminal allegations related to the same situation or whom the state never charged with a crime to begin with to secure justice in relation to your loss.