The West Virginia code states that "children, including adopted children and stepchildren" may be eligible to be a beneficiary in a wrongful death lawsuit. The listing of children as beneficiaries may cause some additional considerations in distributing the settlement that beneficiaries may discuss with the attorney handling their case.
Factors Impacting Children's Eligibility as Beneficiaries
As they pertain to losses the child may experience upon losing a parent, damages may range from loss of guidance the parent had provided to the child, to sorrow and mental anguish. This may be taken into account when considering a child's right to a portion of the settlement.
Several factors may impact the amount of the settlement that children are entitled to, including:
- age of children;
- presence of other beneficiaries;
- dependence on deceased; and
- stipulations in the will (if one exists).
If a beneficiary is a minor child with no surviving parent, a guardian will need to be appointed to represent the child during the legal proceedings. A Clarksburg wrongful death attorney will be able to work with the guardian to pursue the child's right to be a beneficiary of the deceased parent's (or parents') estate.
Beneficiaries who are stepchildren of a deceased parent who also has biological children as beneficiaries may run into additional challenges when seeking a share of the settlement. This delicate subject may be resolved by examining each beneficiary's dependence on the deceased and the severity of the loss faced due to the wrongful death.
Our Clarksburg Wrongful Death Attorneys Protect Your Rights
The Miley Legal Group can answer questions about filing and settling a West Virginia wrongful death claim and can help protect rights when pursuing a claim. Call today to schedule an appointment with a wrongful death attorney to discuss who may be a wrongful death beneficiary and eligibility of children to collect a portion of the settlement. Call us at 304-931-4088.