Kent wrongful death lawyer
An accidental death does not just affect the victim. All of the victim’s friends, family members, and casual acquaintances suffer the traumatic loss of their friend and loved one and for some in this circle, such as the victim’s spouse, minor children, and any other dependents, the death can cause significant financial losses. These individuals can seek monetary compensation for their losses through a wrongful death claim.
Causes of Accidental Deaths
A victim can die in any type of accident. Sometimes, the victim dies immediately or shortly after the accident. In other cases, the victim sustains severe injuries that end his or her life prematurely in the days, weeks, or even months following the accident. In any case where the victim’s death was directly caused by another party’s negligent actions, the victim’s loved ones have the right to pursue compensation for their damages through a wrongful death claim.
Accidents that can result in a victim’s death include:
- Car accidents;
- Pedestrian accidents;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Construction accidents;
- Truck accidents;
- Animal attacks;
- Acts of medical malpractice;
- Accidents involving faulty or defective consumer products;
- Exposure to toxic substances; and
- Exposure to harmful pathogens that can cause fatal illness. Food poisoning cases are one of the types of case in this category.
Who can recover compensation through a wrongful death claim?
In Washington, the following parties may file a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one in an accident:
- The victim’s spouse or registered domestic partner;
- The victim’s children or stepchildren;
- A representative of the victim’s estate; and
- If the victim did not have a spouse or children at the time of his or her death, his or her parent or sibling may file a wrongful death claim.
Pursuing compensation through a wrongful death claim
Through a wrongful death claim, the victim’s estate can recover compensation for the following damages:
- Medical bills for the care the victim received prior to his or her death;
- The victim’s funeral and burial expenses;
- The victim’s projected earnings had he or she been able to complete his or her career;
- Compensation for the victim’s loved ones’ emotional trauma surrounding the death and their loss of the victim’s companionship;
- Compensation for the non-tangible contributions the victim made to his or her household and loved ones’ lives, such as the household maintenance he or she performed.
Certain wrongful death damages are reserved for specific parties. A victim’s close loved ones may recover compensation for the loss of the victim’s love and companionship, but a representative of his or her estate cannot recover these unless he or she is also a close relative.
When a parent files a wrongful death claim after losing a minor child, the compensation is paid to the victim’s parent. In cases involving minor victims, the victims’ parents may file a wrongful death claim jointly or each file their own claim. As long as a parent regularly supported the child financially, he or she may file a wrongful death claim regardless of whether he or she is married to the child’s other parent.
In Washington, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is three years from the victim’s death. If you are considering pursuing a wrongful death claim, it is important for you to be proactive and begin working on your case as soon as you can – once three years pass, the court will not hear your case and you will not be able to recover compensation for your damages.
We are here to help
Your personal injury lawyer can work with you to craft an effective wrongful death claim using all available evidence. The evidence you provide in your claim must not only show that the death was the direct result of another party’s negligence, but that you and the victim’s estate suffered specific monetary damages as a result of the death. Evidence you can use to support your claim includes:
- Photographs of the accident scene;
- Copies of the victim’s funeral and burial bills;
- The victim’s medical bills, whether they are for the care he or she received after an accident or for the corrective treatment made after an act of malpractice;
- Documentation showing the victim’s wages, employment benefits, and projected future earnings;
- Documentation showing the impact the death had on your quality of life, such as commentary from your mental healthcare professional discussing how the grief impacted your ability to work in the months following the death;
- Any additional documentation that demonstrates another party’s negligence and how it directly caused the accident. For example, if your loved one was killed in a collision with a drunk driver, documentation showing the other driver’s BAC at the time of the collision and his or her subsequent DUI are useful pieces of evidence.
- A copy of the official accident report.
The state may pursue a criminal investigation of the case, which might or might not result in the other party’s conviction. This case exists independently of your wrongful death claim. Regardless of whether the other party is found guilty of behaving in a malicious or reckless manner, he or she can still be liable for your damages if you can demonstrate that his or her negligence caused the death.
We want to help
Work with an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer in Kent
When you have lost a loved one in an accident, no amount of money can replace him or her in your life. However, when an accidental death causes you and the victim’s other loved ones to suffer financial hardship, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages and those suffered by the victim’s estate. To learn more, contact our team of Kent wrongful death lawyers at Khan Injury Law PLLC to schedule your free case review in our office. We can go over all the details of your case and determine the most effective way for you to proceed.