Washington Wrongful Death« Areas of Practice
When someone you love dies due to the wrongful acts of another the loss is overwhelming. Not only do you have to deal with your loved one being gone, but there is also the basic human need for justice to be done. The cause of death may be a car accident or a mistake-riddled medical procedure. Washington state law allows the family members of the deceased individual to file a claim on behalf of the estate of the lost loved one for the benefit of the statutory beneficiaries (typically the spouse and children of the decedent). The case can only be filed by the personal representative of the deceased, but it can be for the benefit of all of the heirs. These cases are typically very complicated, and require the services of an experienced Seattle wrongful death attorney.
While it is impossible to bring our loved ones back to us, it is possible to recuperate some form of compensation for the loss endured. This is the best that our system of justice can provide for the loss of a loved one. In Washington, the estate of the decedent and the beneficiaries are entitled to recover both economic and noneconomic damages, with the only limit on the amount being what a jury deems reasonable. Economic damages are the monetary contributions that the decedent would have contributed to his family, including the amount of lost wages over the course of work life expectancy. Noneconomic damages are the intangible losses of support, love, affection, care, and companionship that the individual would have provided. Additionally, the estate can recover for the pre-death pain and suffering that your loved one endured. This compensation is hoped to allow the family the peace of mind that they will not be thrown in to poverty or out of their normal life because of the loss of a family member.
There are special conditions set into place when the decedent is a child under 18 years of age. Parents are permitted to file a claim for a minor child whom they supported. However, when the death is of an adult child a special showing must be made for the parents to have a claim. In that case the parents must be able to show that the adult child contributed to their financial support in some way. It does not need to be monetary. For example if the adult child helped his parents by providing translation services or some other services, it may be sufficient under the law. When proof of financial support can be shown, the family may recover with the same types of damages as if the decedent had a spouse or children. A wrongful death settlement in this scenario allows the dependent parents the peace of mind that they will be taken care of at least financially. Damages can be recovered for medical and hospital expenses, loss of services and support, as well as loss of love and companionship and the destruction of the parent-child relationship.
If the death resulted from a personal injury caused by another person, for example a car accident, then the claims can be combined. For more information about personal injury claims, click on the Car Accident page of this website. I have been working as a lawyer since 1999 and vow to help you get the compensation that you deserve in your wrongful death claim.
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