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Martinsburg Wrongful Death Lawyer

Wrongful death is a terrible tragedy you should never have to bear. Losing a loved one because of someone else’s negligence or intent to harm can make it even more difficult to grieve and find closure than deaths under other circumstances. If your family does not know where to turn, seek counsel and solace from Martinsburg wrongful death lawyers at Manchin Ferretti Injury Law.

Our compassionate wrongful death attorneys can take the time to meet with you one on one to discuss your late relative and who might have caused his or her death. While we know a financial award will not fix things, we hope it can provide stability for your family’s future. Call (304) 264-8505 today for a free consultation about your case in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Why Choose Manchin Ferretti Injury Law?

  • Our full-service personal injury law firm in Martinsburg has helped families recover financially for wrongful death since 1983.
  • Our lawyers understand the stakes and challenges during a wrongful death claim. We will work hard to secure compensation on your family’s behalf.
  • We can take your wrongful death claim to trial in Martinsburg for full compensation for your losses.
  • Our law firm does not charge any fees for our services upfront, nor if we do not win the case. We take wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death according to West Virginia law is the death of one person by another’s fault. In most wrongful death cases, if the deceased person would have had grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit had he or she survived, the individual’s loved ones may file for wrongful death. Examples of accidents that could lead to a victim’s wrongful death are car accidents, falls, workplace accidents, defective products, criminal activity, and medical malpractice. Someone may be liable for an injury victim’s fatal accident if he or she reasonably could have prevented the tragedy.

What are the Wrongful Death Laws in West Virginia?

Learn a few basic state laws before you and your family file a wrongful death lawsuit in West Virginia. While your wrongful death lawyer can help you work through wrongful death statutes, having a general understanding can make it easier to pursue financial compensation.

  • Statute of limitations. The statute of limitations imposes a deadline of two years in West Virginia to bring a wrongful death claim. This time limit will begin counting down on the date of death, not necessarily the date of the accident.
  • Identity of the claimant. Only a representative of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death claim in West Virginia. The representative may file on behalf of a surviving spouse, child, parent, sibling or other financially dependent family members.
  • Damages available. Surviving family members may receive compensation for both economic and noneconomic losses. These may include mental anguish, grief, despair, loss of consortium, medical expenses, lost wages, lost inheritance, and reasonable funeral expenses and burial costs.

Do not worry – you do not have to navigate West Virginia’s wrongful death laws in the aftermath of a devastating fatal accident by yourself. Hiring a Martinsburg wrongful death lawyer from Manchin Ferretti Injury Law can give you peace of mind to focus on healing while your attorney handles the legal side of things.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in West Virginia?

Many states around the country allow for surviving family members to file wrongful death lawsuits in civil court. However, West Virginia law requires that these lawsuits be filed by the personal representative, sometimes referred to as the executor, on behalf of the deceased’s estate.

Even though the personal representative is responsible for filing the lawsuit, surviving family members will receive any damages awarded in the case. Under West Virginia law, we can see that the following individuals are allowed to receive compensation after a successful wrongful death settlement or jury verdict:

  • Surviving spouse of the deceased
  • Children, stepchildren, or adopted children of the deceased
  • Parents or siblings of the deceased
  • Any family members who are financially dependent on the deceased at the time of their death

If none of these individuals survived the deceased, then any damages awarded will be distributed according to provisions in the deceased’s will or according to West Virginia’s inheritance laws.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful death cases arise in a wide variety of ways in and around Martinsburg, West Virginia. At Manchin Ferretti Injury Law, our team regularly helps family members and estates of those who have lost their lives due to the negligence of others as a result of:

This is certainly not an all-inclusive list of the ways that individuals lose their lives as a result of the negligence of others. If you think that your loved one lost their life because of the actions of someone else, please reach out to our wrongful death attorneys so we can examine the facts of your case and help determine the best steps moving forward.

Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

Our wrongful death lawyers in Martinsburg work diligently to recover compensation on behalf of family members and the estate of the deceased. This includes recovering both economic and non-economic types of compensation. Some of the most common damages awarded in these cases include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Coverage of all medical expenses experienced after an accident but before the death
  • Property damage expenses associated with the incident
  • Lost wages, including the reasonable value of income and benefits the deceased would have earned, had they lived
  • Loss of inheritance the deceased would have provided had they lived a full life
  • Loss of the deceased’s household services, assistance, and protection
  • Loss of the deceased’s love, guidance, companionship, advice, and society
  • Funeral and burial expenses

The total amount of compensation available to the estate and family members in these situations will vary depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding each particular situation. A skilled wrongful death lawyer will work with trusted financial and economic experts who can help properly calculate total expected losses.

Proving Wrongful Death

Proving a wrongful death claim can be incredibly challenging, and we strongly encourage all family members to work with a skilled wrongful death lawyer to help with these cases. The reality is that these incidents require extensive investigation.

A skilled attorney will use their resources to uncover various types of evidence that can prove liability, including the following (the types of evidence will vary depending on the specific situation):

  • Any photographic evidence from the incident scene
  • Video surveillance from the incident
  • Statements from eyewitnesses who saw what happened
  • Accident or police reports
  • Company safety records
  • Driving records
  • Vehicle “black box” data

It is not uncommon for wrongful death attorneys to employ assistance from accident reconstruction experts. These types of experts may be needed if the evidence does not paint an entirely clear picture of how the death occurred. Accident reconstruction experts may use the evidence that has already been gathered as well as additional evidence uncovered through computer and 3D modeling to create a rendering of what likely happened to show insurance carriers or a personal injury trial jury.

It is important to point out that wrongful death civil claims are completely different from any criminal charges filed as a result of the death. The personal representative of the estate is responsible for filing the wrongful death claim, whereas prosecutors for the state are responsible for filing any criminal charges if any apply to the particular situation. It is certainly possible to have a viable wrongful death action in the absence of criminal charges.

What to do After the Wrongful Death of a Loved One

If you have lost somebody that you love and you suspect that their death was caused by the negligent or wrongful actions of someone else, there are various steps that you can take to help ensure that your family receives the closure and compensation you deserve. This includes:

  • Reaching out to an attorney immediately. An attorney needs to be involved very soon after a suspected wrongful death occurs so they can guide you through the process. These cases typically have to begin quickly due to the sheer amount of investigation involved. An attorney will be able to get the civil wrongful death claim filed on time and use their resources to thoroughly investigate the incident.
  • Keeping all documentation related to the death. You need to keep all documentation related to the death. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  • All medical bills related to the incident
  • Any accident reports
  • Any evidence from the scene of the incident
  • All wage statements of the deceased
  • Care for yourself and your family. We understand that losing a loved one is incredibly difficult. You need to take care of yourself and your family throughout this difficult process. One of the reasons that we stress working with a skilled attorney is that we know that you need time to process what has happened, and this is very hard to do if you try to handle a wrongful death claim by yourself.

How We Can Help

At Manchin Ferretti Injury Law, our lawyers treat clients like family. We understand how difficult it is to learn about the unexpected death of a family member. We are here to help. Our Martinsburg wrongful death attorneys can take over the claims process at any stage, offering our staff and resources to help your family achieve maximum compensation. We are here to listen to your story, guide your wrongful death claim and fight for justice for your loved one.

Contact a Martinsburg Wrongful Death Lawyer

Do not hesitate to contact us after losing someone you love in any type of accident or under suspicious circumstances. We offer free and confidential case reviews in Martinsburg, WV to grieving families so they can learn their rights and legal options to recover monetary compensation. Schedule yours through our online portal or by calling (304) 264-8505 today.

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