Vancouver Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one is extremely painful and difficult to accept, so you should work with a Vancouver WA wrongful death attorney to manage the legal issues while you focus on recovery. It is especially difficult when your loss is a direct result of someone else’s negligence. It is essential that you have a Vancouver wrongful death attorney in your corner following the death of a loved one
A Vancouver WA wrongful death attorney can assist you with proving the necessary elements of your case. Call Mila Boyd Law Offices today at 360-433-9361 for a free consultation about your case.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death cases are generally more complex than other types of personal injury cases. In a wrongful death case, typically the personal representative of the decedent’s estate brings and files the claim against the person or entity causing the death.
Under Washington law, a “wrongful death” is caused by another’s:
- wrongful act,
- omission, or
In this situation, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit that is filed in a civil court in the jurisdiction where the victim lived, the accident occurred or another relevant jurisdiction. These cases can help you obtain compensation for the losses incurred due to a wrongful death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Pursuant to RCW 4.20.020, a wrongful death action can be brought on behalf of “the wife, husband, state registered domestic partner, child or children, including stepchildren, of the person whose death shall have been so caused.” Moreover, under the Washington statute, “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 death.”
Thus, nearly any family member or relative of a deceased person may file a wrongful death claim when someone is the victim of the actions of another person. Due to the complexity of wrongful death cases, it is essential that you have an experienced Vancouver wrongful death attorney representing you at every stage of your case. Your claim may be challenged by another family member, an insurance company, or the person who caused the incident. It’s important to have someone on your side to stand up for your rights.
The Most Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths
Each year thousands of people die in incidents that could have been prevented. Some common causes of wrongful death include the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents: Including those involving drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving, reckless driving, or negligent driving, and which lead to the death of a loved one. Pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles (such as at crosswalks and intersections) can also lead to a wrongful death action.
- Workplace accidents: Where the death of an employee is due to an employer’s negligent policies or actions, the surviving family may pursue a wrongful death action against the employer directly and/or against the employer’s insurance company.
- Premises liability: The owner or occupier of premises owes a duty to persons on the land, depending upon their status on the premises (e.g. business invitee, social guest, or trespasser) at the time of the accident. If an accident/death results from a known defect on the premises (or from a failure to warn of or reasonably discover the defect), there may be a basis for a wrongful death action.
- Negligent supervision: Common with nursing home victims who die because they were not properly attended to or supervised by nursing home staff.
- Defective products: Most commonly involves defective play equipment, sports equipment, or car seats.
- Medical malpractice: Occurs when health care providers breach the applicable standard of care for a reasonable provider (e.g., physician, nurse) under the same or similar circumstances; a national standard of care may apply for specialists, such as orthopedists or cardiologists.
- Defective medical devices: Usually occurs when defective or improperly tested medical equipment is sold to customers and a death results.
- Defective drugs: Usually occurs when death is caused by side effects of a drug — or when experimental drugs are not properly tested before being administered to patients.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Case?
Washington State, like all other jurisdictions in the United States, provides time limitations on legal claims — including wrongful death cases. Statutes of limitation prevent evidence from growing stale and ensure that potential witnesses will be available for trial. Make sure you work with a Vancouver WA wrongful death attorney to file a wrongful death claim by (or on) the statute of limitations deadline. Otherwise, you will not be able to file a claim later or seek compensation.
Under Washington law, the statute of limitations in a wrongful death case is three years from the date of death. If you believe you have a claim for wrongful death on behalf of a deceased loved one, you should contact an experienced Vancouver wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Proving a Wrongful Death Case
In Washington, negligence law governs wrongful death cases. More specifically, you must demonstrate that the defendant breached a duty owed to your loved one. You must prove that this legally and proximately resulted in your loved one’s death. An experienced Vancouver wrongful death attorney can assist you with proving all of the necessary elements of negligence.
In a wrongful death claim, your Vancouver WA wrongful death attorney can help you show the following:
- The defendant owed your loved one a duty. That duty may have been to drive safely, maintain a safe property, or otherwise act or not act in a reasonable manner.
- The defendant breached that duty. This requires proof that the defendant acted or did not act in a way that would be considered unreasonable, irresponsible, or reckless.
- The breach of duty resulted in a fatal injury to your loved one. Your Vancouver WA wrongful death attorney will work to show that the defendant was directly responsible for the death of your loved one.
- You suffered damages as a result of the defendant’s breach of duty. You must be able to show financial and other losses that can be directly related to the defendant’s actions or inaction.
Wrongful death law requires each of these elements must be proven before a claim is successful. If you can show that you have proof of these elements to an insurance company or uninsured defendant, you may be offered a settlement. If not, you may seek a favorable wrongful death verdict with the help of your Vancouver WA wrongful death attorney.
Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
Damages for wrongful death cases in Washington State typically consist of both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that can be easily quantified, such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages cannot be proven through receipts and bills, such as pain and suffering. However, a skilled Vancouver WA wrongful death attorney can estimate the value of both economic and non-economic damages.
The most common types of damages sought in wrongful death cases include the following:
- Medical costs: including emergency hospital treatment, physical therapy, and other medical expenses leading up to the decedent’s death
- Ongoing medical costs: including costs for family therapy following the decedent’s death
- Lost income/wages: including the decedent’s lost wages (up to the time of death) and potential future earnings
- Pain and suffering: including pain and suffering leading up to the time of the decedent’s death
- Funeral expenses: including burial expenses, funeral planning charges, casket fees, and more
Your Vancouver wrongful death attorney will be able to assist you with proving damages. She can also determine which types of damages are applicable to an individual case.
How a Vancouver WA Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You
Wrongful death cases can be complex. They require in-depth knowledge about the law and negotiations with large companies like insurance agencies. It’s important to work with a knowledgeable Vancouver WA wrongful death attorney to make sure your rights are respected throughout the claims process. If you need to go to court, a lawyer can guide you through the process and make sure you meet all necessary deadlines and have all legal documents properly drafted.
Our Vancouver WA wrongful death attorney can help you with the following:
- Initial demand letter to the insurance company or responsible party
- Independent investigation of the case
- Requesting disclosure of evidence from the other side
- Obtaining expert witnesses
- Interviewing bystanders and witnesses to the accident
- Collecting evidence from other parties
- Filing a lawsuit in civil court
- Conducting the discovery process
- Negotiating with the insurance company
- Mediation and settlement negotiations
- Jury selection and trial process
Talk to a Vancouver Wrongful Death Attorney Today
A Vancouver wrongful death attorney can help you following the death of a loved one. She can inform you of your options and work to get you the compensation you and your family deserve. Call Mila Boyd Law Offices today at (360) 869-0857.