Wrongful death beneficiaries can include various family members including a spouse or children. A wrongful death claim is designed to compensate the surviving family of the deceased victim. When another's negligence causes the death of a victim, their family may be entitled to wrongful death damages for the loss of support and companionship, as well as other damages.
Families seeking to file a claim can work with a Clarksburg wrongful death attorney during their claim settlement, as there are many questions to be resolved during the settlement process. One of the main areas of focus in these cases is determining who is considered a wrongful death beneficiary and therefore able to collect compensation from the settlement.
Understanding the West Virginia Wrongful Death Claim Laws
West Virginia State Code Chapter 55, Article 7, Sections 5-8 defines a West Virginia resident's right to pursue and collect on a wrongful death settlement. The code requires that a wrongful death action is filed by the personal representative of the deceased. The personal representative may be the administrator of the deceased individual's estate.
Once the wrongful death lawsuit is resolved and the settlement is obtained, it is appropriately distributed amongst the appropriate beneficiaries. If there is any question about settlement distribution, family members may consult a Clarksburg wrongful death attorney for legal assistance.
Parties Eligible as Wrongful Death Beneficiaries
The court will determine the settlement value of a wrongful death claim and may also determine the distribution of the damages. According to the West Virginia code, the following family members may be awarded compensation in a wrongful death case:
- surviving spouses;
- children (including adopted and stepchildren);
- parents; and
- other financial dependants.
There are also cases where the court does not stipulate the wrongful death beneficiaries. In these cases, the deceased's will may be used to determine beneficiaries and amount of compensation.
Potential Damages Collected in a Wrongful Death Claim
When determining the beneficiaries of a wrongful death case, the courts may find several family members may be eligible to claim a portion of the damages. Family members who believe they have a right to a share of the settlement due to loss of financial or emotional support may consult a Clarksburg wrongful death attorney to discuss eligibility.
There is no set value for a wrongful death claim; each case has unique circumstances that factor into the settlement amount. As outlined in the West Virginia code §55-7-6(c)(1), a wrongful death settlement may include, "damages for the following: (A) Sorrow, mental anguish, and solace which may include society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice of the decedent; (B) compensation for reasonably expected loss of (i) income of the decedent, and (ii) services, protection, care and assistance provided by the decedent; (C) expenses for the care, treatment and hospitalization of the decedent incident to the injury resulting in death; and (D) reasonable funeral expenses."
The loss of income potential of a fairly young person could result in a settlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and settlement of these cases may be very substantial. A Clarksburg wrongful death attorney can go over the damages that may be available in addition to identifying wrongful death beneficiaries in the case.
Contact Clarksburg Wrongful Death Attorneys from Miley Legal Group
Wrongful death claims may become more complex as beneficiaries are identified in the case. To protect your rights, The Miley Legal Group can provide legal guidance and support during the negotiation, settlement, and distribution of damages. Call 304-931-4088 today to schedule your free consultation with one of our Clarksburg wrongful death attorneys to discuss eligibility of wrongful death beneficiaries.