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.
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.
Common causes of wrongful death in Washington include:
- Accidents resulting from the negligence of others, like Everett car accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Crimes and other intentional acts of wrongdoing (including murder and manslaughter)
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 a wrongful death claim 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
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:
- The defendant owed the deceased a duty of care
- That defendant breached that duty of care
- The breach directly resulted in the death
- Damages (financial, emotional, etc.) resulted from the death
Washington follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence in personal injury 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. 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 claim 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
- 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 having an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Everett can be indispensable:
- 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, your attorney 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.
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 an experienced Everett wrongful death lawyer promptly to discuss your legal options and map out the journey toward obtaining the justice and compensation that you and your family deserve.
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.
Call Wells Trumbull today to arrange a free consultation with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Everett.