Everett Wrongful Death Lawyer

When tragedy strikes and a loved one is taken from us due to the negligence or misconduct of another, the pain and grief are unimaginable. For families in Everett, Washington, pursuing a wrongful death claim with Wells Trumbull can be a step towards finding some semblance of justice.

A seasoned Everett personal injury attorney can be a beacon of hope during these challenging times and can help you map out the journey toward obtaining the justice and compensation that you and your family deserve. Contact us at (360)435-1663 today for a free consultation.

How Can The Wells Trumbull Wrongful Death Attorneys in Everett, WA Help?

When a loved one dies too soon in a preventable death, the family members shouldn’t have to cope with the resulting financial hardship as well as their emotional anguish. The wrongful death lawyers at Wells Trumbull get to know grieving clients personally and have deep compassion for their suffering. Your lawyer from Wells Trumbull will advance your wrongful death case through the following:

  • Our strong commitment to compassionate client service in wrongful death cases
  • Open and forthright communication throughout the process
  • A collaborative effort to find innovative solutions as well as individualized attention from the attorney dedicated to your case
  • A powerful voice behind your claim through a track record of success including a recent $6.5 million jury verdict in a car accident case
  • Free consultations and no fees until we recover a settlement or win your case

Attorney Ben Wells was chosen as Washington Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2021 by the Washington State Association of Justice. He has practiced personal injury law since 1989. Joshua Trumbull has a strong background in business as well as law and finds creative solutions to tough problems. 

The team at Wells Trumbull is ready to take on the tough legal aspects of your loved one’s wrongful death so you can focus on your family during this time of grief.

Meet Attorney Ben Wells

ben wells

Ben Wells

Ben Wells, a seasoned veteran in personal injury law, recounts his journey from humble beginnings to being honored with the prestigious 2020 Trial Lawyer of the Year award by the Washington State Association of Justice. Stressing the importance of mentorship and self-reflection, he highlights the value of authenticity, forging connections with jurors, and unwavering dedication to clients. His goal is to imbue aspiring legal professionals with these core principles. To schedule a complimentary consultation with Ben Wells, contact Wells Trumbull at (360) 435-1663.

“He provided us with resources and ideas on how to best utilize the settlement money to improve my daughter’s future and continues to be a part of her support team.”

“Ben took an interest in my daughter’s well-being beyond just obtaining money for her. He provided us with resources and ideas on how to best utilize the settlement money to improve my daughter’s future and continues to be a part of her support team. Ben proved that people with developmental disabilities deserve justice and can get it if their story is truthfully told.”

Meet Attorney Joshua Trumbull

joshua trumbull

Joshua Trumbull

Joshua Trumbull, a seasoned personal injury lawyer, brings a wealth of knowledge honed through diverse industry experiences and roles. He demonstrates excellence in merging insights from multiple fields to tackle intricate issues within a nurturing atmosphere. Joshua places a high priority on nurturing genuine connections, understanding their importance in both personal and professional realms. To arrange a complimentary consultation with Joshua Trumbull, reach out to Wells Trumbull at (360) 435-1663 today.

“They kept me informed every step of the way and forced the insurance company to do the right thing.”

“Ben Wells and his staff never wavered in their efforts to obtain a fair settlement for me. When the insurance company refused to pay, they filed a lawsuit and proceeded toward trial. Shortly before the trial date, the insurance company finally offered a fair out of court settlement of $70,000 for my injuries and damaged car. I recommend Wells Trumbull. They kept me informed every step of the way and forced the insurance company to do the right thing.”

Successful Case Results:

The Everett car accident attorneys at Wells Trumbull have years of experience successfully handling a variety of personal injury cases. Our team of personal injury lawyers have received large settlements and recovered compensation for clients who have suffered from a severe accident injuries. Some notable case results include:

  • $2.1 Million Settlement: Jury Verdict in Snohomish County in November 2022. We obtained a verdict for a woman who slipped an fell while she was working at a nursing home. She had low back and hip pain. The insurance company’s biggest offer was $600,000. We ignored their offer and went to trial. A Snohomish County jury awarded our client 3 Million dollars for her injuries.
  • $1.2 Million Settlement: Settlement/January 2018. Our client slipped and fell on an icy parking lot as she was going to work. She sued her employer. The insurance company made many excuses but, in the end, they agreed to settle. As always, we learned our client’s story and were prepared to tell the stories to the jury. That made all the difference.

Understanding Wrongful Death in Washington

At the heart of the matter, a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit. It alleges that the deceased person died as a result of someone else’s negligence or intentional act, and it seeks compensation for the survivors’ loss.

State Legislature’s RCW 4.20.010 details this type of civil lawsuit, also specifying that a civil claim for wrongful death is separate from any criminal charges in the case. According to the statute:

“When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person, his or her personal representative may maintain an action against the person causing the death for the economic and noneconomic damages sustained by the beneficiaries listed in RCW 4.20.020 as a result of the decedent’s death, in such amounts as determined by a trier of fact to be just under all the circumstances of the case.

This section applies regardless of whether or not the death was caused under such circumstances as amount, in law, to a felony.”

Types of Wrongful Death Cases

The death of a family member is always painful, but when surviving family members know they’d still have their loved one with them if it hadn’t been for another party’s careless or wrongful actions, it’s particularly traumatic. No one likes to think about the financial impacts of death while grieving, but the loss of a provider and/or a loved one’s contributions to household service and caring for children and other family members quickly becomes part of the suffering experienced from the wrongful death. If you aren’t certain if your loved one’s death qualifies for a wrongful death claim, it helps to ask the question, “If my family member had survived their injury, could they have filed a personal injury lawsuit?” If so, then the family may recover damages. Common causes of wrongful death in Washington include:

We all owe a general duty of care to prevent causing injuries to those in our orbit. For example, a driver must follow traffic laws and avoid distractions the way another reasonable driver would in the same circumstances. When an individual or business fails to take those reasonable measures, they are responsible for the consequences to others—known as “damages” in personal injury and wrongful death claims. Compensation for damages typically comes from the appropriate insurance policy, like the auto insurance of a negligent driver or the premises liability insurance of a hotel with a broken balcony rail. If the insurance doesn’t provide ample coverage, the case may go to a lawsuit against the individual.

Who is Able to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Washington?

Some states allow an individual close family member to personally file wrongful death claims, but Washington law requires a family representative to file a claim. Often, this is the executor named in the deceased individual’s will or estate plan. The representative files the case under the state’s guidelines.

Washington’s wrongful death statutes are detailed under [RCW 4.20.010] and [RCW 4.20.020]. To simplify, the laws allow the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, on behalf of certain family members, to file a claim for wrongful death damages. In some cases, a parent or legal guardian can bring a wrongful death claim if the deceased is not survived by a spouse, domestic partner, or children.

Typically, those who can benefit from wrongful death claims in Washington include:

  • The spouse or state-registered domestic partner
  • Children and stepchildren
  • Parents or siblings of the deceased if none of the above parties are alive, especially if they were financially dependent on the deceased

After securing a settlement or winning a jury award in a wrongful death case, the personal representative is responsible for paying any debts to the victim’s estate and distributing the money to the close family members who are legally allowed to benefit.

Key Components of a Wrongful Death Claim in Washington

In Washington, establishing the fault of the defendant is pivotal in a wrongful death case. To succeed, several elements must be proven with the help of wrongful death lawyers:

  1. The defendant owed the deceased a duty of care
  2. That defendant breached that duty of care
  3. The breach directly resulted in the death
  4. Damages (financial, emotional, etc.) resulted from the death

Washington follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence in wrongful death cases, meaning that even if the deceased was partially at fault, recovery is still possible, albeit reduced by the deceased’s own percentage of fault. Section RCW 4.22.020 of Washington’s State Legislature details the laws regarding contributory negligence in wrongful death claims.

“In an action brought for wrongful death or loss of consortium, the contributory fault of the decedent or injured person shall be imputed to the claimant in that action.”

For instance, even if the deceased were 90% at fault for the incident resulting in their death, the plaintiff may still recover 10% of the total damages awarded. However, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, who must demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence directly caused the death.

How Much is a Wrongful Death Claim Worth?

While no sum can ever truly compensate for the loss of a loved one, a successful wrongful death lawsuit can cover a variety of damages incurred by the deceased and surviving family members, including:

  • The deceased’s final medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of the deceased’s financial support, including income for the working years they would have had left to them had they not died
  • Loss of healthcare benefits and retirement contributions
  • Loss of the deceased’s companionship, love, care, affection
  • Pain and suffering

The exact value of these damages, however, will depend on various factors like the age, health, and earning potential of the deceased.

The Role of an Experienced Everett Wrongful Death Attorney

Navigating the legal processes involved in a wrongful death claim can be incredibly complex. Here is why experienced wrongful death lawyers in Everett can be indispensable and help you get compensation for your wrongful death lawsuit and get justice for your loved one:

  • Legal Expertise: With a deep understanding of Washington’s statutes and case law, an attorney ensures the case adheres to the legal requirements, thus maximizing the chances of success.
  • Gathering Evidence: Through meticulous research, professional connections, and keen investigatory skills, wrongful death lawyers will gather essential evidence, from accident reports to expert testimonies, fortifying your claim.
  • Calculating Damages: Damages in a wrongful death case can be difficult to calculate. An experienced attorney can accurately assess and substantiate these damages, ensuring that you and your family receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.
  • Negotiations: Insurance companies are not known for easily parting with their money. An attorney can act as your fierce advocate, negotiating a settlement that genuinely reflects your losses.
  • Representation in the Courtroom: If a fair settlement is not reached, your attorney will be ready to present a compelling case in court.

Statute of Limitations on Washington Wrongful Death Cases

Washington imposes a strict statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. Generally, you have three years from the date of the death to file a claim, underscoring the importance of consulting with a wrongful death attorney promptly to avoid forfeiting your right to legal recourse. During the months following the wrongful death, your attorney investigates the circumstances of the death, drafts a demand letter, and negotiates with the at-fault party’s insurance company for a settlement. The process only requires a lawsuit if the insurance company fails to offer an acceptable settlement amount, in which case the family representative must file the lawsuit petition before the three-year time limit expires. Washington’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is covered under the umbrella of personal injury lawsuits in RCW.4.16.080. 

The statute of limitations is sometimes extended for cases of delayed discovery. For instance, if a decedent’s death isn’t definitively proven as caused by another’s actions until two months after the death, the ticking clock of the statute of limitations begins on that day.

What to Do After the Wrongful Death of a Family Member

It’s difficult to think clearly after the unexpected loss of a loved one, especially when a family member dies due to someone else’s failure to take reasonable care, but taking the following specific steps may help in a claim later:

  • Obtain copies of the loved one’s most recent medical records before the accident as well as the emergency medical care report and the medical examiner’s autopsy report
  • Obtain a copy of the police report or accident report
  • Keep invoices for funeral and burial expenses
  • Gather documents proving the family member’s income and work benefits such as healthcare insurance and retirement
  • Call the wrongful death lawyers at Wells Trumbull

Obtaining compensation after a loved one’s wrongful death can help you and your family members move forward. 

Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney in Everett

If you have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence in Everett, Washington, reach out to the experienced Everett wrongful death lawyers promptly to discuss your legal options and map out the journey toward obtaining the justice for your loved one and get the compensation that you and your family deserve.

Call Wells Trumbull today to arrange a free consultation with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Everett.