There are many causes of WRONGFUL DEATH claims. Wrongful deaths arise in the context of car, truck, and motorcycle collisions. All too often, speeding and distracted driving plays a role. Drunk driving and drugged driving also cause wrecks with significant life-changing injuries and loss of life.

Many individuals lose their life on the job site. Avoidable injuries and deaths happen on construction sites, gas and oil well drilling rigs or frack sites, and in coal mining or other extractive resources work sites. When people work around big equipment and volatile chemicals, great care needs to be taken to avoid serious injuries or deaths.

Wrongful death claims also stem from medical negligence in hospitals and nursing homes. Medical providers oftentimes fail to appreciate a patient’s medical condition, and due to harried schedules or understaffing, they sometimes lack the resources to properly care for their patients.

The common thread in each of these scenarios – – an innocent victim and a family shattered. What do you need to know? First, and foremost, an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer can help you. The lawyers at GODDARD & WAGONER have handled dozens of wrongful death cases for their clients. They can help you understand how to maximize your recovery.

Second, time is of the essence. We will need to collect information early on, and pursue your claims quickly. The statute of limitations for bringing a claim is different depending upon the mechanism of death. For instance, if your loved one was killed due to nursing home abuse and neglect, then you have only one year from the date of death to institute a civil action. Moreover, you will have various hoops to jump through due to the statutory framework of the Medical Professional Liability Act (MPLA). If the death was caused by a roadway accident, you will likely have two years to pursue your claim. However, if the wrongdoer was a federal entity or employee acting within the scope of his employment, then the two years begins to run at the time of the injury, not the time of death.

Third, you need to know what damages are recoverable. This will also depend upon the mechanism of injury. Car wreck victims are entitled to lost wages (past and future), medical bills (typically the amount billed), conscious pain and suffering of the victim, and the mental anguish of the survivors. In a workplace accident situation against an employer, the damages are significantly limited by the workers’ compensation system. The same limitations may not exist against in a negligence claim against another entity on the job site. Significant limitations may exist in medical malpractice lawsuits where damages are limited due to an arbitrary cap on non-economic damages, limitations on recovery of medical bills (amount paid), and a tax of 1% on the gross recovery imposed by the Legislature. Finally, punitive damages may be recoverable in some cases.

These questions demand the assistance of knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel. The lawyers at Goddard & Wagoner are here to help. Contact Dave Goddard and Eddie Wagoner (as well as the other lawyers and assistants we have at your disposal) today for a free, no-obligation meeting. Call (304) 933-1411 or email us at Look us up at We are here to HELP!