Fatal Car Accidents
Car accidents can be traumatizing for both drivers and passengers, but the death of someone you love in a crash can be particularly devastating. At the Wolfe Law Firm, we understand that filing an injury lawsuit is not necessarily the highest priority for a grief-stricken family. However, while no amount of money can ever ease the pain of losing a loved one, compensation can help ease the burden of the financial consequences that typically accompany such a tragedy. We compassionately work with our clients to help them understand their rights and options. We represent clients in Clarksburg, Fairmont, Morgantown, and other towns across the state. If you’ve lost a loved one to someone else’s carelessness, an experienced Elkins fatal car accident lawyer at the Wolfe Law Firm can help you.Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for the Loss of Your Loved One
Every year, thousands of people are killed in car accidents across the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2012 there were 339 traffic fatalities in West Virginia. Of those who died, 242 were passengers in a vehicle, and 95 died in incidents involving alcohol.
While every accident can cause a fatal injury, some accidents are particularly dangerous. These include incidents when the vehicle rolls over, head-on collisions, accidents involving large trucks, high-speed crashes, and intoxicated driving (DUI) accidents. The devastating consequences range from brain and spinal cord injuries to crushed ribs, internal bleeding, and organ damage.
If a loved one dies due to one of these types of injuries, the surviving family can potentially bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of that person under West Virginia law. Wrongful death claims are rooted in the theory of negligence. To succeed, the deceased person’s representative must prove four elements:
- The defendant owed the victim a legal duty to exercise reasonable care while driving;
- The defendant breached this duty, such as by speeding, swerving, or driving drunk;
- The accident was directly caused by the defendant’s breach; and
- The victim suffered serious injuries that led to death as a result of the accident.
It is crucial to consult an experienced attorney when you are planning to file a lawsuit. If you miss the time limit in which to file, you may lose your right to pursue your claim altogether. In West Virginia, a wrongful death lawsuit must be brought within two years of the date of death.Recovering Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Certain surviving family members are eligible to receive a share of any recovery in a wrongful death lawsuit. These are the deceased person’s spouse, biological children, stepchildren, adopted children, parents, siblings, and financially dependent family members.
Your damages depend heavily on the nature and circumstances of your particular case. Some of them relate to harm suffered by the victim, while others relate to harm suffered by the family that the victim left behind. Under West Virginia law, family members of the deceased person may seek compensation for medical and funeral expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering of the deceased, and loss of companionship or consortium, among other costs arising from the fatal car accident. It is crucial to consult a knowledgeable attorney who can help you seek the full and fair amount of damages for your case.Fatal Car Accident Lawyer Helping West Virginia Families Seek Compensation
When you lose a loved one in a car crash, the severe emotional grief is typically accompanied by financial hardship. An Elkins fatal car accident attorney at the Wolfe Law Firm can help your family pursue the justice and compensation they deserve. We are prepared to help you through this difficult time. We will investigate your case, work with adverse parties and keep you informed of the details each step of the way. Call us at (877) 637-5756 or fill out our contact form to set up a free initial consultation.