All you need to know about wrongful Death Claims Driving can be a very dangerous activity. In fact, if you think about it, it is more dangerous to drive a car or ride a motorcycle than fly on an airplane or hop on a train across the state. Because of the nature of driving, it is vital to always be safe, avoid any kind of distraction like using the phone, and most importantly not driving under the influence. Regardless of the immense amount of information about careless and unsafe driving, accidents still happen.
What is wrongful death? One of the many questions that come into the minds of the deceased loved ones is “why?” However, putting aside the emotions, the answer often lies in determining whether there was any intention or negligence. When authorities determined that one of these two aspects caused a fatal car crash, the legal concept of a wrongful death is spearheaded to the front. Wrongful death is a claim against a person who can be held liable for a death of another person. This means that when a person’s actions lead to another’s death, whether it was intentional, accidental, the deceased loved ones may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death. A wrongful death in a car accident can happen for various reasons such as recklessness or negligence by another motorist, criminal activity, or in other cases; it can be due to a car manufacturer’s defect. What are the main causes of car accidents? Car accidents are very common, and the majority of them usually lead to fatality. Some of the causes include; • Distracted driving such as texting while driving. • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescription drugs). • Driver fatigue. • Street and highway defects. • Reckless driving such as speeding and overtaking when it is unsafe. • Car manufacturing defects. • Poor weather conditions. • Inexperienced and/or elderly drivers.
When is a wrongful death claim after a car accident applicable? A wrongful death claim is applicable when the victim is killed as a result of either intentional harmful act or negligence on the part of the defendant. These can occur in various situations such as; • When the victim is intentionally killed by the motorist. • When the car accident fatalities involve negligence. This means that when a victim succumbs to injuries sustained in a car accident, then a wrongful death claim may be brought. Who can file a wrongful death claim? A wrongful death claim is mostly filed by a representative of the deceased victim’s estate, on behalf of the people who had a relationship with the victim. In the U.S, a spouse is also viable to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of his or her deceased spouse. Parents of minors may also file a wrongful death lawsuit if one or more of their children are killed in a motor accident and minors can also collect compensation for the death of their parents. The states may disagree when it comes to whether parents of adult children can sue, whether adult children can sue for the wrongful death of their parents, whether grown children can sue for their deceased grown sibling, or whether extended relatives such as aunts, uncles, cousins, or grandparents can also sue. However, usually, the more distant family members find it harder to prove that they should be allowed to collect the wrongful death compensation. Also, in some states, the death of a fetus can also be the subject of a wrongful death claim while in other states, it is not. Instead, the case can be brought to court if the child was born and then died in the accident. Who can be sued for wrongful death? • The motorist or employer at fault in the said accident. • Builder or designer of the faulty driveway. • A government agent who failed in his responsibility of providing adequate warnings about a road hazard that caused the accident. • The installer, manufacturer, or distributor of a dangerous part of the vehicle. • The person who gave sold or served alcohol to the driver at fault if he or she is found to be driving under the influence. • The owner of the premises where the alcohol was sold. What are the elements of a wrongful death claim? Every wrongful death claim that is made must include a very specific set of elements for the case to be successful. The elements are as follows; 1. The victim must be human. You cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of a pet. 2. The actions of the other motorist must have caused your loved one’s death. Those actions must have been intentional or due to negligence. 3. Your loved one’s death must have caused your monetary loss. This can be as a result of expenses related to your loved one’s death or loss of the decreased income. 4. Finally, the estate of your loved one must have a personal representative.
Wrongful death laws in Parkersburg, West Virginia In the U.S, the laws of wrongful death vary from state to state. Parkersburg is a city in the state of West Virginia. In West Virginia, a wrongful death claim follows similar rules as those of personal injury claims but with some few key differences such as the complainant is not the injured person but a deceased person’s estate representative or relative. In West Virginia, even if a wrongful death claim is the subject of a criminal case, it may also be brought in civil court. This can be done for two reasons; first, while a criminal case is filed by the state, a wrongful death case can be brought by the estate directly; Secondly, a wrongful death case allows the estate, as well as survivors, seek compensation for their losses, in terms of monetary damages, directly. West Virginia law allows a personal representative of an estate to bring a wrongful death claim to court. When damages are awarded, the surviving spouse, children, both biological, stepchildren or adopted, parents and siblings or any other family member that was depending on the deceased financially, can receive the shares of the damages. West Virginia laws give a personal representative of the deceased two years to file a wrongful death claim, if not, the court may dismiss a filing without any hearing. Finally, West Virginia uses a kind of modified comparative fault rule in resolving cases whereby an injured person is partly responsible for his/her injuries. This rule is also applicable in wrongful death cases where the deceased is also partly responsible for the circumstances that led to his/her death. Under West Virginia comparative law rule, in the event where the deceased was at least 50% or more at fault, the state cannot cover damages in a wrongful death claim. If leaving in Parkersburg, West Virginia and you are liable for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, there are numerous car wreck lawyers in the area to get you through the legal proceedings. Look for one with a good experience in dealing with this type of case, one with affordable fees and costs and also one who you are sure, knows what to do regarding the next steps. You can also look for one online and settle with a lawyer with good reviews from previous clients.
All you need to know about wrongful death claims