How do I file a wrongful death claim if my loved one was killed while traveling overseas?

Filing a wrongful death claim for a loved one killed overseas will depend on the circumstances and that foreign country's laws for liability. The first step should be talking with an attorney to learn if you have a case.

Determining Viability of a Wrongful Death Claim When Killed Overseas

No matter where the fatal injury occurs, a wrongful death case depends on negligence. It stems from the careless or reckless actions of an individual, business or entity.

Let's say a loved one is on vacation in another country and is injured in a car accident. He/she is rushed to the emergency room. The loved one receives life-saving surgery but when the surgeon closes him or her up, there is a bit of cotton used to soak up blood that is overlooked and left inside your loved one’s body. It’s not immediately detected and so by the time doctors stateside discover the infected cotton, it is too late to save your loved one.

Wrongful Death Laws and How They May Apply to a Case

In West Virginia, a personal representative can pursue legal action in the name of the deceased. This may or may not be a family member. So if your family member was abroad, you would follow the country’s wrongful death laws.

Examples of parties that may recover damages include:

  • a surviving spouse;
  • children (birth, step and adopted); and
  • parents.

Recovery may also apply to others who depended upon the deceased financially.

Damages could include:

  • medical costs;
  • funeral expenses;
  • sorrow;
  • mental anguish; and
  • expected loss of income.

Keep in mind that these are the laws for the state of West Virginia and apply to wrongful deaths that occur in the state. The laws could vary in other countries. It's best to consult with an attorney who can review that country's laws. The attorney can then determine not only if you have a case, but who can file and who can recover damages.

Consult the Miley Legal Group if you need an attorney to provide legal counsel in the Clarksburg area. Call us at 304-931-4088 or contact us online.

Tim Miley
Injury Lawyer, Author, & Owner of The Miley Legal Group