Seattle Wrongful Death Attorneys
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Washington
At Emery Reddy Serious Injury Department, we recognize that there is nothing more difficult than losing a loved one. When that loss occurs unexpectedly and as a result of a preventable error or act of negligence, surviving family members and loved ones may have an even more challenging time navigating the healing process.
If you have recently lost someone you love due to an accident or traumatic event, we want to first extend our most sincere condolences. We know that this is one of the most difficult times in your life—and we want to help you and your family seek justice. By filing a wrongful death claim, you can not only recover fair compensation for your damages, but you can also hold the responsible party accountable and work to ensure that similar incidents do not occur again in the future.
For compassionate, client-focused legal representation, contact our Seattle wrongful death attorneys today at (206) 202-2562. We offer free, confidential consultations and case evaluations.
What Is a “Wrongful” Death?
The state of Washington defines “wrongful death” as the death of an individual resulting from “the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” Essentially, this means that, when a person dies as a result of someone else’s conduct or due to another party’s legal fault, their death is considered “wrongful” in the eyes of the law.
Wrongful death claims and lawsuits can be brought when a person dies as a result of:
- Negligence: Negligence-based incidents include things like car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other unintentional fatal events.
- Wrongful Conduct: Wrongful conduct is different from negligence in that it involves unlawful activity, such as drunk driving, with or without intent to cause injury or death.
- Intentional Acts: Intentional infliction of injury, including fatal injury, includes criminal activity such as assault, homicide, and murder.
- Default: Wrongful death cases brought on the grounds of default typically involve strict liability. This includes cases involving defective products and, in some cases, premises liability.
- Medical Malpractice: Medical malpractice, including diagnostic errors and birth injuries, can have fatal consequences, and responsible parties can be held accountable.
If you believe your loved one’s death was the result of any of these factors, reach out to our team at Emery Reddy Serious Injury Department today. In Washington, you only have three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit (with some exceptions). The sooner you contact an experienced attorney at our firm, the sooner we can begin building your case and seeking the justice you and your family deserve.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Washington?
In Washington State, only the legal representative (also known as the “executor”) of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. If the decedent died with a will, the personal representative will likely have been named in the will. If there was no will, however, the court will appoint a personal representative for the estate.
If the decedent died without a spouse, domestic partner, or child, their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) may file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit when the following circumstances apply:
- When the decedent was a minor (under the age of 18) and the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) regularly contributed to the child’s financial and/or non-financial support
- When the decedent was an adult (over the age of 17) and the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) was “significantly involved” in the decedent’s life
Although the personal representative must be the one to actually file the claim or lawsuit, wrongful death damages are generally sought on behalf of certain surviving family members.
Eligible family members include the decedent’s surviving:
- Domestic partner
If there is no surviving spouse, domestic partner, child, or stepchild, damages can be sought on behalf of the decedent’s surviving parent(s), guardian(s), and/or sibling(s).
Types of Damages Available in Wrongful Death Cases in Washington
The types of damages available in wrongful death cases in Washington State depend on the nature of the relationship between the decedent and the person seeking compensation.
In most cases, surviving spouses, domestic partners, children, stepchildren, siblings, and other eligible family members can recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses related to treatment for the decedent’s fatal injury or illness
- Funeral and/or burial expenses
- Loss of financial support and expected income the decedent would have contributed
- The reasonable value of household services, including childcare, provided by the decedent
- Loss of affection, care, companionship, love, and training provided by the decedent
Additionally, eligible parents and legal guardians may be entitled to the following damages after the wrongful death of a child:
- The child’s medical and/or healthcare expenses
- Loss of the parent-child relationship
- Loss of emotional support, companionship, and love provided by the child
- Economic losses related to loss of the child, including financial support and services
At Emery Reddy Serious Injury Department, we know that no amount of financial compensation can undo the immense loss you have endured. However, we have also seen firsthand how a fair settlement or verdict can provide families with the monetary resources they need to manage unexpected expenses associated with a loved one’s death. A favorable outcome could allow you and your family the ability to heal and obtain a much-needed sense of justice.
Providing the Compassionate, Personalized Support You Need
When you turn to our firm for legal help, you can rely on us to provide highly personalized and attentive service from start to finish. We recognize the unique challenges you and your family are facing, and we want to help you fight for the justice you are owed. Our Seattle wrongful death attorneys are committed to holding negligent and at-fault parties accountable, and we have successfully represented thousands of clients in all types of complex cases.
We want to help you and your family. Get in touch with Emery Reddy Serious Injury Department today to learn more. There are absolutely no upfront fees or out-of-pocket expenses when you hire our firm. Instead, our attorneys only get paid if/when they recover compensation for you.
Call our office at (206) 202-2562 or contact us online using our secure submission form to request a complimentary consultation with a member of our team.