Senior woman in a mourning after husband's death

When Wrongful Death Strikes West Virginia Families, Our Personal Injury Lawyers Offer Help and Consolation

Helping the families of West Virginians killed by others’ negligence

A wrongful death occurs when a person’s life is taken because of the willful or negligent act of another person. The death may be caused by professional malpractice, by the other person’s failure to act when under an obligation to do so, or by any other kind of negligent act. Because negligent acts often result in death--preventing injured persons from bringing lawsuits themselves--the laws of most states provide for a legal action called “wrongful death,” to protect the interests of the deceased’s survivors.

If a family member has died as a result of someone else’s willful or negligent act, you should seek the guidance of a qualified West Virginia personal injury attorney immediately in order to protect your own and the other survivors’ rights and interests. Paulson & Nace, PLLC, our family owned and managed law firm is well-known and highly regarded throughout West Virginia for its aggressiveness and skill in protecting the interests of families disrupted by a wrongful death. Let us help your family too.

How does wrongful death differ from murder and manslaughter?

Murder and manslaughter are crimes, actions committed with malicious intent that bring about death. When a defendant is charged with the crime of murder or manslaughter, the State brings the accusation, called an indictment. The State must prove its case to a jury “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If it succeeds in doing so, the defendant may suffer a fine, imprisonment, or death.

A wrongful death is called a “tort,” or a civil wrong, as opposed to a crime. It gives rise to a civil action in which one person (the plaintiff) charges another person (the defendant) of having committed a negligent or willful act that brought about death. The accusations in a civil case are called a complaint instead of an indictment. The plaintiff must prove the complaint to a judge or jury “on the preponderance of evidence,” rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Since this is a less stringent standard of proof, individuals acquitted of criminal charges of murder or manslaughter often find that the same evidence and circumstances can result in a successful civil suit against them for wrongful death.

Who can bring a wrongful death suit?

The laws of each state define who may bring an unlawful death suit on behalf of the deceased. Typically, only the executor of the decedent's estate (usually a family member) can file the wrongful death suit and only designated individuals or entities (sometimes called "distributees") can receive compensation.

What compensation is available if I win my case?

The forms of compensation available for victims of a wrongful death case vary from state to state. However, the following compensation is usually permitted in most states’ wrongful death statutes:

  • Expenses for the victim’s care, treatment, and hospitalization
  • Reasonable funeral expenses
  • Loss of the victim's future earnings until the time of retirement
  • Loss of medical insurance, pension, and 401(k) benefits resulting from the death
  • Anticipated loss of services, protection, care, or assistance which the victim provided to the survivors/beneficiaries
  • Sorrow, mental anguish, and loss of companionship

If a loved one has died in a traffic, aircraft, or workplace accident, because of medical malpractice or product liability, or because of any willful or negligent action of another person, you should seek the guidance of a qualified West Virginia wrongful death lawyer.

Your legal advocates when wrongful death strikes your family in West Virginia

Paulson & Nace, PLLC’s distinguished family of attorneys offers the compassionate, personal, and professional attention you deserve.  We are widely recognized throughout West Virginia for both our comprehensive legal services and our aggressive advocacy for the families of wrongful death victims. When you choose a wrongful death attorney from our practice to represent you, you are choosing a team that values families and family relationships. Please call 304-741-8079 or fill out our contact form to tell us your story in a no-obligation consultation. Our office is located at 3501 Maccorkle Ave SE, Charleston, WV 25304.

We have dedicated our lives to helping individuals and families whose lives have been shattered by negligent injury and wrongful death. Let our family help you in your time of need.