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Fatal Truck Accidents And Wrongful Deaths In West Virginia

Regardless of the truck’s size, the load’s weight, or the driver’s skill, truck accidents often cause substantial damage to both property and people. However, some accidents are more severe than others, resulting in loss of life.

Truck accidents that result in death are often caused by driver negligence. If that is the case, the personal representative of the deceased victim’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit against an at-fault truck driver and the company that employs them. While no legal action can result in the return of someone you have lost, it is essential that those who have acted negligently, recklessly, or with intentional disregard for life and caused the death of someone you love should be held accountable. This article will discuss truck accidents and how they are related to wrongful death suits, how to prove a wrongful death claim, and the damages you can recover if your wrongful death lawsuit is successful.

Skilled West Virginia Wrongful Death Representation

If you have lost a loved one due to a truck accident, knowing what to do next, where to turn, and how to begin processing such a profound loss can be challenging. Depending on your situation, in addition to losing someone you love, you may also be missing the support, companionship, and financial assistance that your loved one provided for you and your family.

Wrongful death lawsuits help hold negligent drivers accountable and help those left behind receive the compensation they deserve and the closure they need. When filing a wrongful death suit, it is vital that you have an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side. Wrongful death lawsuits are complicated and involve various rules and procedures that must be followed to ensure that your claim is successful. An experienced wrongful death attorney understands this process and the tactics that will likely be used by opposing counsel to deprive you of the compensation you deserve. The personal injury attorneys at Salango Law understand what’s at stake in wrongful death cases and are ready to represent your family efficiently and effectively. To schedule a no-cost, risk-free, confidential case evaluation, call (304) 342-0512 or visit our website today.

Facts About Truck Accidents

Truck accidents tend to cause significant damage to people and property due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved. It becomes particularly dangerous if the truck and its equipment are not maintained correctly, or the driver is not following the rules of the road or other procedures. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) performed a study in 2007 which analyzed available crash data to determine why truck accidents occur in the United States. The three types of common critical events discussed in the FMCSA’s data evaluation include:

  • Leaving the travel lane and entering another lane or off the road
  • Loss of control of the vehicle due to road conditions, cargo shifts, failure of vehicle systems
  • Rear-ending another vehicle in the truck’s travel lane

Typical reasons that these common critical events occur include:

  • Driver nonperformance: The study defines nonperformance as some effect that causes a driver to stop operating the vehicle, like falling asleep, having another medical event such as a heart attack or seizure, or being physically impaired in some other way
  • Driver recognition: Recognition involves issues with the driver’s attention while driving the truck that leads to accidents. The study describes these issues as being inattentive, becoming distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle, or failing to observe a situation for some other reason
  • Driver decision: Driver decision regards a choice the driver makes while driving. This could be failing to operate the vehicle according to road conditions, misjudging other vehicles’ speeds, or following other vehicles too closely
  • Driver performance: Performance involves some component of the driver’s driving ability that results in an accident. The study suggests issues like overcompensating while driving, exercising poor directional control, or panicking when confronted with a particular problem while driving are some common occurrences
  • Vehicle malfunction issues
  • Environmental challenges

The study also suggests that hundreds of associated factors were involved in the truck accidents analyzed using the available data. The ten most common associated factors include:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Over-the-counter drug use
  • Prescription drug use
  • Traffic flow issues
  • Improper speed regulation
  • Roadway conditions
  • Required stops
  • Inadequate attention
  • Brake system failures
  • Lack of familiarity with roadway or location

What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit that a personal representative of the estate of a deceased victim files on behalf of the person who has died because of someone else’s misconduct. In the case of a truck accident, a personal representative of the deceased’s estate is required to file a lawsuit against the driver, the company, or both to receive compensation for their negligent or reckless conduct if the lawsuit is filed in West Virginia. In some other states, closely related loved ones can file a lawsuit, but in West Virginia, anyone filing a wrongful death claim must be acting in the specific capacity as the personal representative on behalf of the estate of the deceased victim.

Proving liability in a wrongful death context involves providing evidence that the at-fault party did something they should not have (or did not do something they should have) that a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would or would not have done. Because they did or did not act as they should have, someone was killed. An experienced wrongful death attorney will gather evidence, and present arguments to show that the driver or the company named as a defendant in your lawsuit acted negligently, recklessly, or in an intentionally dangerous way and that conduct caused your loved one’s death.

What Financial Damages Can You Receive?

There are three kinds of financial damages that you may receive as compensation if the judge or jury rules in your favor in the case: noneconomic, economic, and punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Those damages that can be easily proven by a specific amount or figure. Costs that have already been determined or can be easily determined, like funeral costs, medical care before death, and loss of financial support, are commonly awarded economic damages.

Noneconomic Damages

Those that involve the effects on a particular person or people as a result of the victim’s death. Noneconomic damage awards often include the loss of companionship and care resulting from the loss of a loved one.

Punitive Damages

Those the jury or court grants to punish particularly extreme or outrageous behavior. These damages can be awarded in wrongful death cases, but that turn of events is rare.

Hiring A West Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney

If you have lost a loved one due to a truck accident, it is essential that you do not wait to file a lawsuit. Regardless of the circumstances you face, it is crucial that you hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to represent your interests. Each wrongful death case has a set of rules and procedures that must be followed to prove that claim successfully. An experienced wrongful death attorney understands that process and the stakes involved and can ensure that your case receives the attention it deserves. The wrongful death attorneys at Salango Law are ready to represent your family’s interests via a truck accident wrongful death lawsuit. Call us at (304) 342-0512 or visit our website to schedule a free initial case consultation today. We look forward to speaking with you.