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Who can file a wrongful death claim in West Virginia?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2022 | Wrongful Death |

When someone dies unexpectedly, their entire family will struggle as a result. Grief can be very hard to manage, especially when the family has had no time to prepare for their loss, as is frequently the case in car crashes or other wrongful death scenarios.

When an individual or business is at fault for your loved one’s death because they were negligent, committed medical malpractice or broke the law, you may want to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Such lawsuits allow for financial compensation that can offset the long-term consequences of losing a spouse, child, parent or other immediate family members.

Who can file wrongful death lawsuits in West Virginia?

Family members often aren’t the ones to file

In West Virginia, there is one person who has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, and that individual is the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. Whether the deceased individual named a specific person to handle their estate or the probate courts appoint someone, that individual is the one with the authority under West Virginia law to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

The personal representative can seek compensation on behalf of the estate. They will then also need to appropriately distribute the proceeds of that lawsuit to surviving dependent family members if they succeed. Closer family members have the strongest claims to compensation after wrongful death lawsuits in West Virginia, with spouses, children and parents having the strongest claim to wrongful death compensation after a family tragedy.

Learning more about the laws that govern West Virginia wrongful death claims can help your family decide what steps to take after losing someone you love.