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WRONGFUL DEATH

Seattle Wrongful Death Attorneys

The death of a family member is a devastating event, particularly when death results from an accident or another person’s negligence. In Seattle, fatalities in high-impact car accidents are all too common, as are fatalities resulting from pedestrian and bicycle accidents and accidents involving large trucks. Throughout Washington, our heavy rains and heavily traveled roads produce hazardous conditions that result in fatal accidents.

Seattle Wrongful DeathWhen a wrongful death occurs in your family, you need a Seattle wrongful death attorney who can help you and your family fight for the compensation that you deserve. When a loved one is lost, it is no time for you or your family to deal with insurance adjusters and investigators. Insurance companies and claims adjusters may try to take advantage of you during this vulnerable time. A wrongful death attorney can step in and keep the insurance company off your back and make sure that your rights are protected while you focus on your family and their well-being.  Dealing with insurance companies for our clients is a huge part of what we do every day.

Wrongful death cases are often complex and come in many different variations. Depending on the circumstances, the deceased individual’s estate often will bring a claim or lawsuit against the party responsible for the wrongful death, whether from a car accident or work site accident or other type of accident. Thorough investigations are often necessary in order to establish the facts and cause of the wrongful death.

If a friend or family member passes away as a result of an accident or someone else’s negligence, contact us immediately for a free consultation. Our Washington wrongful death attorneys are here to help you and your family through this difficult time and help you on the road to recovery.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases

We handle all sorts of wrongful death cases that arise from negligence or actions of a person, corporation or even a dog or animal attack. This could include fatalities resulting from any of the following:

    • Car Accidents
    • Truck Accidents
    • Pedestrian Accidents
    • Bicycle Accidents
    • Dog bites and attacks
    • Drowning
    • Falls
    • Construction accidents
    • Nursing home abuse
    • Medical malpractice
    • Child injuries

This is not an exhaustive list. People fall victim to all different types of negligence and neglect that cannot be neatly categorized.

Who can recover for the wrongful death of a loved one?

The most common person to seek recovery is a surviving spouse of a deceased husband or wife. Children may also recovery, as can parents if they provided support to a child. If a parent or sibling is depending on support, they can also recover.

Can stepchildren recover for the death of a step-parent?

Yes, certainly. The wrongful death statute in Washington, which is RCW 4.20, specifically allows for stepchildren to recover due to the death of a stepparent.

Can a domestic partner or gay or lesbian recover for the death of his or her partner?

Yes, thankfully the legislature wrote this language into the wrongful death statute to permit spouses AND state registered domestic partners to recover. This is great for persons who are state registered domestic partners and broadens the scope of the law considerably. If you and your partner need more information about domestic partnerships and registering as such, it can be found here.

What can we recover through a wrongful death claim?

Depending on the situation, you can recover the economic losses occasioned by the death plus non-economic damages including loss of companionship and love and guidance. You can also recover the medical expenses and pain and suffering the victim experienced and incurred before death. Funeral expenses may also be recoverable. Each case is different and the damages and recovery depend on the facts.

What happens if there is no will left behind?

It is not necessary that there be a will. Many wrongful deaths happen unexpectedly and before a loved one can write a will. In that case, the law provides for a process whereby a person is assigned to act on behalf of the deceased person and his or her estate (the assets and debts the person leaves behind) and distribute the proceeds of the wrongful death in accordance with Washington law.

How much is my wrongful death case worth?

No one can answer that question for you right now. It depends on your specific situation and your family’s circumstances. We often need to hire experts and collect a lot of information before we can even begin estimating what a case is worth. This is often the first question that people ask but one that we usually cannot answer without doing the work we need to do first.

Can we bring a claim if our child is killed due to someone else’s negligence?

Yes, as long as you were providing support to the child, you can recover under RCW 4.24 which permits a parent to recover for the loss of a child, including the lost affection from the child and the disruption of the parent-child relationship. If your child was an adult and provided you with support, you can also recover under the wrongful death statute.

Can I recover funeral expenses or the costs of cremation?

Yes, you can. The funeral expenses including burial costs, casket expenses and the other attendant costs of a funeral or cremation can be recovered through the wrongful death suit. Make sure you keep track of all these expenses so that we can help include these in your claim.

If a person dies at work or on-the-job, can the family seek a wrongful death claim?

It depends on who is responsible for the death. If a family member dies in the course of his or her employment, the Department of Labor and Industries will handle compensation the family. The critical question is whether or not a third party, meaning someone other than the employee or employer, caused the death. For example, if a delivery driver is killed while on the job because a negligent driver runs a red light, your family can certainly bring a wrongful death action against the negligent driver. We can help you work with the Department of Labor and Industries while we help you pursue what is called a “third party claim.”

Do I have to go to court for my wrongful death case?

What you probably want to know is whether or not you and your family will have to go to trial for the case. We never tell anyone no or that a trial will not occur because it is always a possibility. As your attorneys, however, we take care of almost everything and your presence or testimony may not be needed depending on the case and how it proceeds. If there is a dispute over the facts of the case or the insurance company is trying to avoid paying fair compensation, we may have to take your case all the way to a jury trial. That said, most cases do resolve before trial but we never assume they will.

What happens if someone dies months or years after the initial injuries?

The law accounts from this by essentially creating two claims – the wrongful death claim that happens after the person dies and the survival action that allows you to collect for the pre-death pain and suffering. For example, if someone is severely injured in a car accident and dies months later during surgery for those same injuries, you would be able to recover for all the damages beginning with the car accident and ending at the date of death, plus whatever damages are available via the wrongful death claim.

Call Now and speak with our Seattle Wrongful Death Attorneys: 206-826-5160.

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