Seattle Wrongful Death Lawyers
Compensation After a Fatal Accident
Many families find it important to have reliable legal guidance and support as they go through the process of a Washington wrongful death claim or lawsuit. The attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., have successfully handled various types of wrongful death cases, lending extensive experience and resources that can make the difference in our clients' future. We understand that a wrongful death has lasting effects on a family and we are here to assist you in getting the justice and money that you deserve. For a free, confidential consultation, call us today at (888) 228-3860.
If you and your family are grieving the loss of a loved one because of another's negligence, it’s understandable that you feel angry and overwhelmed. While every situation is different, some families find closure and the help that they need by obtaining compensation from those responsible for their beloved's passing. Filing a wrongful death claim, or pursuing a lawsuit, is not an easy decision to make. However, when you are fully aware of your legal rights and options, you can be confident in the choice that you make.
Whether you should file a claim or lawsuit is greatly dependent on the circumstances of the wrongful death. A skilled Seattle fatal accident lawyer can help you evaluate your situation and whether you have valid grounds for taking legal action. Most of the time, a family decides to take legal action so that they can seek compensation for a wide range of damages associated with financial, physical, and emotional losses. In some instances, a successful case can also help prevent others from suffering similar harm by the negligent party.
Washington Wrongful Death Accident Recoveries
- $1,925,000 recovery in a wrongful death claim for a man killed by an oncoming van that crossed the centerline and struck him head-on just outside of Duvall.
- $1,925,000 recovery in a wrongful death claim for a Federal Way family that was traveling to Los Angeles, CA, when they were cut off on the freeway, causing their car to roll over.
- $1,625,000 recovery in a wrongful death claim for the family of a man killed as the result of a highway design defect.
- $460,695 recovery in a wrongful death claim for a boy killed when his friend pulled out into oncoming traffic in Woodinville.
A wrongful death typically occurs when someone is directly responsible in some way for the death of another person. This can include an overt violent act, such as the use of a weapon or other type of assault that inflicts injuries resulting in a fatality. After such an act of violence, the family of the victim can potentially file a wrongful death claim against the offender, which is separate from any criminal charges filed against him or her by a district attorney.
Accidents, in which someone is negligent, can also be the cause of a wrongful death. While sometimes a serious accident might be unavoidable, there are often situations in which a different decision could have saved a life. For example, someone falling off a ladder and being mortally injured. If the ladder was not maintained properly by an employer, or someone else drove into the ladder, then that situation may be grounds for a wrongful death claim.
Common causes include:
Surviving family members of a wrongful death victim may receive compensation for economic and non-economic damages. There is no sum of money that can ever replace a loved one, but compensation may play a significant role in holding negligent parties responsible in addition to relieving the financial strain on a grieving family.
Based on how and why the victim died, a family may get money to pay for funeral expenses, hospitalization, medication, and surgery, just to name a few things. Family members may also receive compensation for lost earnings or benefits that the deceased would have acquired and provided for the family, including retirement benefits.
A case may also lead to restitution for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress and/or trauma, loss of love and support, and other damages.
- How long do I have to file a claim? In Washington, you typically have up to three years from the date of a person's death to file a wrongful death claim. Any claim filed after this date will almost always be refused by a court. Any criminal trial or other proceedings have no impact on the statute of limitations, so it is important to speak to a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights. It is best to file a claim right away, so that any investigation necessary can be conducted immediately.
- Who can file a claim? Filing a wrongful death claim is usually reserved for direct family members of the deceased person. This includes a spouse or legally registered domestic partner as well as children or stepchildren of the deceased. If there is no spouse or children, then the victim’s parents or siblings can file a wrongful death claim. Other than family, it is also possible for a personal representative of the deceased person's estate to file a claim on his or her behalf.
- What kinds of damages can I seek? The exact damages you can seek vary from one case to another, so it is best to speak with an experienced attorney for specific advice. In general, however, you may be able to pursue damages to compensate you for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages and income, pain and suffering, and intangible benefits including loss of care and companionship.
- What about insurance? Insurance can certainly help with some expenses, but at the end of the day insurance companies want to make and keep as much money as possible. An experienced attorney on your side can not only help you with filing a civil claim but also deal with insurance companies for you to make sure you do not sign away your rights or accept less than you deserve.
- What is liability? Liability is a key concept to any civil claim, including wrongful death, and ultimately comes down to determining who is responsible. Proving liability is difficult and trying to do so without a lawyer on your side is a mistake. To establish liability, you have to prove that someone else acted in a negligent way, and that the negligent behavior directly led to the accident or situation that caused the wrongful death.
Having a Seattle personal injury attorney at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., to protect your rights and make your best interests a priority may be beneficial to your family's future. Far too often, insurance companies handling wrongful death claims offer claimants a much lower settlement amount than they deserved. Insurance companies may also attempt to delay or deny a claim, giving a family unwarranted stress. With our law firm putting your needs first, you can rest assured that an effective case will be established. To find out more about how we can assist you, fill out a contact form or call us at (888) 228-3860.
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