Wrongful death claims serve two primary purposes on a societal level. The first is the creation of consequences for those whose actions, inaction or negligence causes the death of another person. The other is to protect those who lose a loved one in a manner that causes financial hardship for their family.
Bringing a wrongful death claim, much like bringing a personal injury claim, will involve proving that there have been financial repercussions from someone else’s actions on your life or your family, including your sorrow over the loss, lost income from your loved one and the costs of their funeral service. Like personal injury claims, which can typically only come from the victim, wrongful death claims in West Virginia can only come from certain parties.
Most wrongful death claims get filed by immediate family
Under West Virginia wrongful death laws, surviving dependents and immediate family members are the ones with the strongest rights to bring wrongful death action against someone who causes the death of another. Spouses and children usually have the most immediate right to file a lawsuit, but parents and even siblings can also potentially file a wrongful death lawsuit. Barring those close relations, more distant relatives who depended on the deceased can also bring a claim.
An experienced attorney can provide more information on filing such a claim and how to proceed.