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Washington Wrongful Death Lawyer

Wrongful Death Lawyer in Washington

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Wrongful Death Lawyer in Washington

There is nothing more difficult than losing a loved one — especially when that death was preventable. If your loved one’s death was the result of another party’s “wrongful act, neglect, or default,” you can hold that party liable for your losses. A wrongful death lawyer in Washington can help you seek justice for your loved one.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Washington?

Under Washington State law, the personal representative of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. The personal representative can be a beneficiary (e.g., spouse, child, parent) of the claim.

Who can benefit from a wrongful death claim in Washington?

Washington law provides that the following parties may benefit from a wrongful death claim:

  • Spouses or state-registered domestic partners
  • Children (including stepchildren)

If the decedent had no spouse, domestic partner, or children, parents or siblings of the deceased may benefit, so long as they were dependent upon the deceased at the time of death.

Potential beneficiaries for minor children differ. Absent parents are not entitled to compensation.

Does it matter if the deceased or the spouse of the deceased was at fault?

Sometimes. The contributory fault of the deceased will not be attributed to the surviving spouse for purposes of reducing the amount of damages recovered in a claim for the wrongful death of the spouse. However, if the deceased was partly at fault, that fault will be attributed to the claimant in the wrongful death claim.

For example: Teri and Mike, husband and wife, were riding in their car when another driver ran a red light, hitting them. Mike, who was speeding, was partially at-fault for the accident.

Teri dies in the accident and Mike files a wrongful death claim. Even though Mike was partially at-fault, the courts do not attribute his negligence to Teri; therefore, his negligence does not affect the wrongful death claim.

However, if Teri survived and Mike died in the collision, his negligence would affect what Teri was able to collect in a wrongful death claim.

What kind of damages are available in wrongful death claims in Washington?

Both the estate and the decedent’s surviving family members can recover damages. The estate can recover:

  • Economic losses: medical bills, burial costs, lost wages (between the injury and death), property damage, lost earning capacity (what the decedent would have earned had she lived)
  • Noneconomic losses: pain and suffering the deceased suffered from the time of injury until death

Family members can recover:

  • Economic losses: Loss of support and services (e.g., tuition, childcare, housecleaning, etc.)
  • Noneconomic losses: Loss of consortium (e.g., company, emotional support, care, companionship, protection, guidance, etc.)

It may be necessary to hire a vocational expert to provide evidence of earnings trends and career potential. Your Washington wrongful death lawyer will navigate through this complex aspect of your claim.

How much time do I have to file a wrongful death claim?

You generally have three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful death claims are difficult and complicated. As they usually involve high dollar amounts of damages, you can expect a hard fight from the other side. Getting a Washington wrongful death lawyer on your side is one of the best steps you can take. Call a Washington wrongful death lawyer today for your free claim evaluation: 206-388-2211.

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