The damages that you can collect in a wrongful death claim are determined by the types of losses you have suffered as the decedent’s survivor. Most losses fall into two categories—economic loss from the sudden withdrawal of financial support and emotional loss. The amount of damages awarded will depend on your particular case, which an experienced Kingwood wrongful death attorney can help you determine.
Damages are awarded as part of a wrongful death action brought by the decedent’s personal representative. A jury or court, if there is not a jury, determines how to allocate the damages based on what they deem as “fair and just.”
In determining what is a fair and just distribution, the jury or court will consider a survivor’s:
- pain and suffering resulting from the loss of the love and companionship;
- reduction of income in losing the decedent as a provider;
- loss of the decedent’s assistance, protection, and care;
- medical expenses incurred on behalf of the decedent in treating the injury incident to their death; and
- expenses incurred in paying for the decedent’s funeral.
Survivors include the spouse; children (natural, adopted or step); siblings; parents; and any persons who were financially dependent upon the decedent at the time of his or her death. If there are no close survivors, then the damages are distributed in accordance with the decedent's will.
If a will cannot be found or validated, then the damages are awarded in accordance with the laws of descent and distribution, which set out an order of inheritance and provides that the state will be the recipient if there are no takers.
Claiming Your Survivor Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
A Kingwood wrongful death attorney with the Miley Legal Group has worked with many survivors giving them a voice in the wrongful death proceedings of their loved ones. If you would like to learn more about personal injury and wrongful death claims in West Virginia be sure to request our free guide: The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Can Wreck Your West Virginia Car Accident Claim. When the time is right for you, call us at 304-326-1800 or 888-436-0859 to schedule your free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal entitlements in a wrongful death claim.