What is a wrongful death?RCW 4.20.010 – “When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another, his personal representative may maintain an action for damages against the person causing the death.”
Who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit?RCW 4.20.020 – “Every such action shall be for the benefit of the wife, husband, state registered domestic partner, child or children, including stepchildren, of the person whose death shall have been so caused. If there is no wife, husband, state registered domestic partner, or such child or children, such action may be maintained for the benefit of the parents, sisters, or brothers, who may be dependent upon the deceased person for support, and who reside within the United States at the time of his death. In every such action, the jury may give such damages as, under all circumstances of the case, may to them seem just.”
Statute of Limitations There is a limit to the amount of time you can wait to file a wrongful death lawsuit so contact us as quickly as possible.
How Do I Know If I Have A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Defendant – When you file a lawsuit, you are the plaintiff suing the defendant. The defendant is generally an individual, an individual and their insurance company, a company, or government entity. These parties were negligent or were in breach of duty.
Duty – The defendant had a duty to act or a duty to refrain from acting in a way that caused or prevented the wrongful death. There are several different levels of duty. These levels of duty are dependent upon the situation.
Breach of Duty – The defendant failed to meet a standard of care. It is necessary to examine the case closely to determine which standard of care applies.
Causation – The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s act or failure to act was the cause of the death. Your attorney will be able to help you determine causation by examining evidence.
Damages – Damages are calculated according to fixed algebraic formulas used by the courts and vary based upon age, occupation, and financial contribution of the deceased. They are also determined in either a lump sum or a depreciating scale over time. This is all determined in either court or in the settlement.
What Causes Wrongful Death?
Vehicular Accidents – The driver was driving drunk, speeding, driving distracted, or driving recklessly, causing the death of your loved one.
Workplace accidents – Washington State has a death compensation plan that protects employers and employees from lawsuits. But if the death of the employee is due to the negligent policies or actions of the employer, the family is able to sue.
Premises liability – This is when a visitor to a property suffers a fatal accident due to a property owner’s negligence or failure to warn a visitor of a possible hazardous situation.
Negligent supervision – This is common with victims who die in daycare facilities or nursing homes.
Medical malpractice – More than 200,000 patients are effected by medical malpractice each year in the U.S., many resulting in the death of the patient with the explanation, “there was nothing we could do.”
Defective products – Defective car seats, toys, drop-side cribs and sports equipment kill thousands of people every year.
Defective medical devices – Be it a hip replacement or transvaginal mesh, defective or inadequately tested products should not be sold to consumers.
Food borne illnesses – Millions of people are effected by tainted food products and thousands die each year because of it.
Defective drugs – Hundreds of thousands of people are effected each year by the serious side effects of dangerous, sometimes deadly, defective pharmaceuticals.