Practice Area

West Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney

West Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney


It can be extremely difficult to think about the future in the immediate aftermath of the loss of a loved one’s life. Addressing the legal issues surrounding the death, however, is necessary if you wish to obtain a financial award that could give your family peace of mind. The West Virginia wrongful death lawyers at Manchin Injury Law Group can help you with legal matters such as identifying the party that caused your loved one’s death, filing your claim and fighting for fair compensation.

West Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney

If you recently lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or tort, please contact our law firm for a complimentary case review. Our wrongful death attorneys can offer the support your family needs.


Why Choose Manchin Injury Law Group?

  • We go the extra mile when too much is at stake for a fast settlement. Our wrongful death attorneys can take claims to court to resolve the financial strife your family may be facing.
  • We have more than 37 years of courtroom experience and have obtained millions of dollars for clients in that time using aggressive legal strategies.
  • Our personal injury lawyers treat each of our clients with dignity and compassion, as we would want our family members to be treated.
  • We never impose out-of-pocket costs on clients. We only bill attorney’s fees if we win, and only then out of the settlement or verdict we won for the client.

Do I Need a West Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer?

Wrongful death is the most serious tort imaginable. Nothing is more devastating than the unexpected and preventable death of a loved one. Such a significant loss deserves attention from a lawyer if you believe another person is responsible for causing the death. A West Virginia wrongful death lawyer can help your family exercise its rights to financial compensation from one or multiple at-fault parties in West Virginia. Your lawyer will have the power to go up against powerful defendants such as hospitals, manufacturing companies or corporations on your behalf. You can grieve and heal with your family while your lawyer takes care of difficult legal processes.

What Is Wrongful Death?

The definition of wrongful death as stated in West Virginia Code section 55-7-5 is the death of one person caused by the negligence, wrongful act or default of another person, in that the action or omission would have entitled the party injured to file a personal injury lawsuit had death not ensued. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that seeks financial restitution for surviving family members for a tort-based fatal accident. A wrongful death suit seeks damages in a similar manner as a personal injury suit, with a few key differences.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is a tragedy that happens relatively often in the U.S. It can occur in many different kinds of accidents in all types of settings: on the road, at work or right at home. Each year, thousands of people lose their lives in preventable accidents due to others’ negligence. At Manchin Injury Law Group, we can help families after a wrongful death occurs under any circumstances.

Sudden death is a terrible experience for a family to endure. At our law firm, we realize nothing can make up for this monumental loss. Yet we also recognize the material needs the average family will have in these circumstances, such as the need for compensation to make up for the loss of a breadwinner’s income. The wrongful death attorneys from our law office are here to support your family and guide you down the path to recovery.

Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Not just anybody will have the right to bring a wrongful death claim in West Virginia. State law restricts this right to only a representative of the deceased person’s estate, and only on behalf of certain family members of the decedent. A personal representative may be someone the decedent named in his or her will prior to death – usually a trusted family member or an attorney – or it may be someone the courts will appoint posthumously.

If the personal representative recovers a financial award through a wrongful death claim, he or she will distribute it according to section 55-7-6 of the law. A personal representative may file a claim on behalf of a surviving spouse, child, stepchild, adopted child, siblings, parents or any other family member that relied on the decedent financially at the time of death. If these survivors do not exist, the representative will distribute the money earned according to the decedent’s will or according to the state’s laws of descent and distribution.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

It is in your family’s best interest to act quickly in seeking legal counsel after the unexpected loss of a loved one. West Virginia caps how long you have to file a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. If you miss this deadline, the courts will most likely dismiss your claim without a hearing. Certain exceptions to the rule apply in some cases, such as those involving a deceased minor or those where the defendant is also facing criminal charges. Always speak to a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible about your case to learn your exact deadline.

Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

At Manchin Injury Law Firm, we know your financial needs may come last on the list of things you are worried about during this difficult and emotional time. However, as you look toward the future, you may realize a financial award from the at-fault party is what your family needs to have the peace of mind to heal and move forward. We work hard on behalf of clients to recover the full extent of their financial damages. Your family could receive compensation for many types of losses.

  • Loss of consortium. The intangible and emotional losses you and other surviving loved ones suffered, including sorrow, grief, mental anguish, and the loss of the loved one’s companionship, guidance and services.
  • Lost income. A reasonable award to compensate for the foreseeable losses of the loved one’s income, as well as a monetary award to make up for lost household services, protection, care and assistance.
  • Medical bills. Any medical costs the decedent or his or her loved ones had to spend on care, treatment or hospitalization after the incident that ultimately took the individual’s life.
  • Funeral and burial expenses. The reasonable price of a funeral, burial and memorial service for the deceased person, including expenses for things such as flowers, a casket, a headstone, and a burial plot or urn.

Other potential damage categories in a wrongful death claim are punitive damages, property repairs and legal fees. Receiving a compensatory award can relieve the burden of dealing with bill collectors and medical debts while you grieve. Our attorneys will take care of all legal matters on your behalf in the fight for fair compensation so you can focus on the future.

West Virginia Wrongful Death Laws

Like all areas of civil law, bringing a successful wrongful death claim takes carefully navigating West Virginia’s related laws. Making any mistakes could allow the defendant to raise a related defense and possibly avoid liability for your loved one’s death. It is crucial, therefore, to correctly interpret and apply West Virginia’s wrongful death laws.

  • What is a wrongful death claim? An insurance claim or lawsuit against one or more defendants for the preventable death of a loved one. If the decedent could have filed a personal injury case had he or she survived, the family most likely has grounds to file a wrongful death claim now.
  • Who is entitled to receive compensation in a wrongful death claim? Any surviving beneficiaries who can prove he or she was financially dependent on the deceased individual at the time of death may receive a portion of a settlement or judgment award.
  • What compensation is available for wrongful death? This answer depends on the unique case; however, the damages available may include hospital bills, losses of income, lost inheritance, mental anguish, punitive damages and loss of consortium.

At Manchin Injury Law Group, we understand that it can be overwhelming to think about bringing a lawsuit in the aftermath of a loved one’s death. We encourage you to contact us for assistance with the legal process. Our wrongful death attorneys can navigate West Virginia’s wrongful death laws on your behalf while you concentrate on healing. We break down the most important statutes in more detail below.

Timeline of a Wrongful Death Claim in West Virginia

You and your family have been through enough. It is reasonable to want the civil justice process to end as quickly as possible. The exact timeline of your wrongful death claim in West Virginia is something only an attorney can discuss with you. However, you can get a general idea of what to expect by looking at an outline of the legal processes involved.

  • Claims filing. First, the representative of the estate will file a claim with the insurance company of the defendant(s). The claim will describe the accident and explain why the estate believes the defendant is liable, citing relevant laws. The defendant will then have a certain amount of time to respond to the claim.
  • Settlement negotiations. If the insurance company investigates the fatal injury and accepts liability, it will offer a settlement for the family’s losses. The family’s lawyer will then have the chance to submit a counteroffer and negotiate back and forth with the insurance company for a fair outcome.
  • Discovery phase. If settlement negotiations do not succeed in a satisfactory agreement, the plaintiff’s attorney can take the case to trial. This process begins with the discovery phase, where both parties must submit to depositions, interrogatories and subpoenas for evidence until both sides of the case are privy to the same information.
  • Pretrial motions and hearings. Next, one or both sides may submit pretrial motions, such as a motion to dismiss the case or to make certain evidence inadmissible. The parties can also engage in pretrial hearings, where they may come to a settlement agreement at any time before the trial.
  • Wrongful death trial. If the case still has not settled at this stage, both parties will attend a wrongful death trial. During a trial, the plaintiff’s attorney will use arguments, evidence and witness testimony to try to convince a jury that the defendant more likely than not caused the victim’s death. If the attorney succeeds, the plaintiff will receive a judgment award.

If your wrongful death case settles, expect a settlement check mailed to the estate within about three months about filing your initial insurance claim. If, however, your case encounters challenges or complications, such as a liability dispute, your case will take longer. If you have to go to trial, expect a settlement timeline closer to one year or longer, depending on the courtroom’s schedule.

Do I Have a Wrongful Death Claim?

If you recently lost someone close to you under questionable circumstances, such as a drunk driving accident or a fall at work, please do not hesitate to contact us for a conversation with one of our attorneys. Our West Virginia wrongful death lawyers have the knowledge and experience within this subject area to provide dependable answers to your family’s questions.

We can provide emotional support, deal with medical providers, handle the legal legwork of your lawsuit and more. We are here for your family in its time of need. Call today for a free and nonobligatory consultation with a West Virginia wrongful death lawyer.

Free Consultation — Get Legal Help Today

Talk to our Fairmont lawyers about your personal injury or wrongful death claim today by contacting us online, or by calling us at (304) 367-1862.

Contact Us Today

We offer a free initial consultation at our office in the Manchin Professional Building — our home since 1983 — conveniently located in Fairmont.

If you are unable to visit our firm, we can come to your home or hospital room.

Fill out the form below to get in touch!

100% privacy guarantee