Snohomish Wrongful Death Lawyer

Lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence? contact wells trumbull today.

Losing a loved one is a heart-wrenching experience. When this loss results from someone else’s negligence, the emotional trauma deepens. In Washington, survivors have a legal avenue to seek compensation for the anguish caused by a wrongful death – but navigating this process can be complex and emotional.

This is where an experienced Snohomish County wrongful death lawyer from Wells|Trumbull can be your guiding light, ensuring those responsible for your loved one’s death are held accountable and that your family receives the compensation it deserves for your losses. Contact us today by calling (360)435-1663.


Wrongful Death Resources and Quick Links

Understanding Wrongful Death in Washington

In Washington, a wrongful death claim arises when a person dies due to the negligence, default, or wrongful act of another. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate the deceased’s surviving family members or their estate for losses suffered as a result of the victim’s death.

Under Washington State’s Revised Code (RCW 4.20.010 and 4.20.020), a wrongful death claim can be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, on behalf of certain family members, namely:

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

However, certain nuances exist that can affect an individual’s eligibility to file or benefit from a wrongful death claim in Washington. This is why consulting with an experienced wrongful death attorney is important.

Other Reasons to Hire an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney in Snohomish

  • Local Expertise: Every county has its unique legal intricacies. A Snohomish personal injury lawyer understands the local courts, judges, and nuances better than an outsider.
  • Negotiation Power: Insurance companies have tough negotiators working to limit how much they pay out on claims. An experienced wrongful death lawyer knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and will ensure you get a fair settlement.
  • Comprehensive Evaluation: Your attorney will perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine all possible damages you can claim – from medical bills and funeral expenses to loss of companionship.
  • Emotional Support: Beyond legal advice, the right wrongful death attorney understands the pain you and your family feel and will offer emotional support at this very difficult time.

Most Common Wrongful Death Cases in WA

Deaths happen every day, but when an unexpected death occurs to a family member, the grieving process is uniquely personal. If the death was preventable and only occurred due to someone else’s actions, it causes even greater anguish to those left behind. Common causes of wrongful death cases in Snohomish and throughout Washington include the following:

All citizens owe a duty of care to others to take reasonable measures to prevent causing injuries or death. When someone breaches this duty, it’s an act of negligence. Some people owe a special duty of care; for instance, doctors have the duty to treat their patients within the standard of care accepted by the medical community. If a medical provider breaches this duty and acts in a way that another provider would not have acted under the same circumstances, it leaves them liable for the victim’s damages, including damages to family members in a wrongful death claim.

Establishing Fault in a Wrongful Death Case

Central to any wrongful death claim is establishing the fault or negligence that led to the death. This could involve, for example, showing a driver’s recklessness in a fatal Snohomish car accident or a medical practitioner’s deviation from the standard of care leading to a patient’s death. Here, the nuanced understanding and analytical skills of an experienced Snohomish wrongful death lawyer are invaluable in drawing a connection between the wrongful act and the ensuing death.

How Can I Prove Liability in a Wrongful Death Claim in Washington?

Proving liability in a wrongful death claim in Washington requires documenting evidence of the following legal points of liability:

  • That the party at fault owed a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent injury or death or owed a special duty of care to the decedent
  • That they breached this duty through an act of negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing
  • The negligent breach of duty directly caused the injury and death
  • The family member making the wrongful death claim directly suffered economic damages from the death

It takes a skilled Snohomish wrongful death attorney to gather the evidence of liability and craft a compelling case for compensation for damages. Most claims are settled out of court through a Snohomish wrongful death lawyer’s negotiations with the appropriate insurance company, such as a negligent driver’s auto insurance liability policy or a negligent doctor’s medical malpractice insurance. In less common cases, the claim goes to court for a jury to decide. This happens if the insurance company wrongfully denies a valid claim or fails to offer an acceptable settlement.

What Compensation is Available for Family Members in a Wrongful Death Claim in Washington?

The range of recoverable damages in a wrongful death claim is extensive and includes:

  • Medical and funeral expenses
  • Loss of income for the number of years the deceased individual would have had left to them had they not died from their injuries
  • Loss of benefits such as healthcare and retirement contributions
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of a parent’s or child’s love and support
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before death

A Snohomish County wrongful death lawyer’s role in assessing your damages is multifaceted and involves having a detailed consultation with you and your family to uncover every possible avenue for compensation and help you get a fair valuation of non-economic damages.

Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Snohomish?

All states set limits on who can file a wrongful death claim after a loved one dies as a result of negligence or wrongdoing. Some states only allow immediate family members and others require a legal representative of the deceased individual’s estate. In Washington, a two-tiered system is in place for wrongful death claims. These limits prevent distant family members from exploiting the death for profit when they won’t suffer financial losses from the death.

First-Tier Vs, Second-Tier Beneficiaries in Wrongful Death Claims in Washington

After a loved one’s wrongful death in Snohomish, the following first-tier family members can file a wrongful death claim:

  • A spouse
  • A legal domestic partner
  • An adult child of the decedent

Only in cases when a deceased person leaves no spouse, domestic partner, or child can a second-tier beneficiary make a wrongful death claim under specific conditions. Second-tier beneficiaries who may have eligibility to make a wrongful death claim in Washington include:

  • Parents of the decedent
  • Siblings of the decedent

Second-tier beneficiaries like parents and siblings may only file wrongful death claims if they were dependent on the deceased person’s income. If the deceased family member did not contribute to their support financially, second-tier beneficiaries cannot make a claim for wrongful death compensation.

Washington’s civil courts place these limits on wrongful death claim eligibility to prevent distant relatives who did not depend on the deceased family member for support from seeking financial gain. Only those directly affected financially have tangible damages they may claim due to the death.

What to Do After a Loved One’s Wrongful Death in Snohomish

The aftermath of a beloved family member’s sudden death is chaotic and confusing. Surviving loved ones may feel overwhelmed with grief and anguish. It’s hard to keep a cool head after suffering this type of tragedy, but by taking certain steps, an eligible family member can protect themselves and their family and give their lost loved one a voice for justice. If your close family member died due to someone else’s actions, taking the following steps will give your wrongful death claim an advantage:

  • Document evidence from the scene of the accident, injury, or crime by taking photos with your cell phone camera
  • If you were with your loved one immediately after the accident or incident, take the contact information of any eyewitnesses to the deadly event
  • Keep all medical bills if your loved one had emergency care or hospitalization before their death
  • Keep receipts and invoices for funeral, burial, and related costs
  • Ask for a copy of your loved one’s last medical report from their most recent physical
  • Obtain a copy of the medical examiner’s report and/or autopsy report
  • Obtain a copy of the police report if the death occurred due to a traffic accident or crime
  • Gather financial documents showing the deceased family member’s income and any benefits they provided through their job before the death

No one anticipates a need to be prepared for a wrongful death claim. The shock of a loved one’s sudden, preventable death may be traumatic, but by taking the above steps, your wrongful death attorney can investigate all aspects of the death and carefully calculate your family’s damages to maximize the amount of compensation you can claim. When you’ve kept records and have important evidence available, an attorney can craft a more compelling case for compensation and negotiate from an evidence-based position of strength with the insurance company to secure an ample settlement for damages.

Contact The Snohomish Personal Injury Attorneys at Wells Trumbull for Help with Your Wrongful Death Claim

Navigating a wrongful death claim is challenging emotionally and legally. However, armed with an experienced wrongful death attorney from Wells Trumbull, you stand the best chance at holding those responsible for your loved one’s death fully accountable.

Remember, time is of the essence. So do not wait. Contact us today, and let our wrongful death lawyers in Snohomish County guide you through this journey toward justice and compensation for your loss.