Although hundreds of car crashes occur every day, most of them are relatively minor. Motor vehicle manufacturers invest quite a bit in creating protective technology that keeps people safe during collisions.
Unfortunately, especially when there are high speeds involved in a crash, sometimes people do end up severely hurt. Fatal collisions can leave a family reeling in shock, especially if their loved one was a very safe driver.
Family members may grieve not just the tragic passing of a loved one but words left unsaid or a final encounter that was not a loving one. Additionally, they will have to cover a host of expenses, like emergency medical care and funeral costs. Can your family pursue a wrongful death claim after a fatal West Virginia car crash?
Immediate family members can benefit from a claim
West Virginia law does allow for civil lawsuits filed against businesses and individuals that directly cause the death of someone through negligence or illegal behavior. If someone was driving at 30 miles an hour over the speed limit or with alcohol in their bloodstream, you may have a strong case for a wrongful death claim when they cause a fatal crash.
However, the immediate family members usually aren’t the ones to file. West Virginia requires that the personal representative of the deceased party’s estate initiate the lawsuit. If they are successful in such a claim, they can then distribute the proceeds of the claim among specific family members.
Spouses, children and parents typically have a right to benefit from such claims. More distant family members may receive proceeds when there aren’t closer family members.
What wrongful death claims can cover
Wrongful death Claims can help repay provable economic losses. These include hospital bills, funeral expenses, lost wages and even lost household services. The representative filing the claim can also ask for compensation for the loss of care, society, companionship and advice. There can even ask for compensation for the sorrow and mental anguish of the family members grieving the loss.
As hard as it can be to consider going to court after someone you love dies, you will need to act in a timely manner. There is a two-year statute of limitations that applies, and the clock starts ticking as soon as your loved one dies.
Learning about wrongful death laws in West Virginia can help your family obtain justice after a fatal car crash.