Attorneys Advocating For Families In Wrongful Death Claims
Losing a spouse, parent or child can be devastating. It can alter the entire course of your life, and you may never feel quite the same. When a loved one’s passing was the result of negligence by another person, professional or corporation, you have to face an additional challenging element of their death. Someone else is to blame, and how can you hold them responsible?
In our current legal system, if no crime was committed, the only way to hold a careless, reckless or malicious party responsible for the death of your loved one is through a civil wrongful death claim. Whether through an insurance claim or a lawsuit, you and other family members may have the right to demand compensation.
To discuss your rights and options after the death of a family member, contact us at Menzer Law, and schedule a free consultation about your case.
Common Causes Of Wrongful Death Claims
Our firm regularly assists clients with claims arising from:
- Car crashes
- Truck wrecks
- Motorcycle accidents
- Accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians
- Medical malpractice and hospital negligence
- Nursing home and elder neglect and abuse
Whatever the type of accident or professional negligence that led to your loved one’s passing, we are here to help. Call us as soon as possible, and after an initial investigation into the fatal incident, we can advise you on your options. If you have an actionable legal claim against a responsible party and your family wishes to pursue compensation, we can represent you in a wrongful death lawsuit and insurance claim.
Wrongful Death Compensation
A wrongful death action may include the damages suffered by the decedent before he or she died, the estate and the decedent’s close family members as a result of the loss.
Compensation in a wrongful death case may include:
- Economic damages on behalf of the decedent’s estate, such as medical expenses, burial and funeral expenses as well as lost income
- Noneconomic damages for pain and suffering, anxiety, emotional distress and humiliation suffered by the decedent prior to death
- Noneconomic damages suffered by a surviving spouse or domestic partner, including loss of consortium
- Noneconomic damages suffered by other surviving relatives
To discuss the types of compensation that you and your loved ones can pursue, you should speak with an attorney from Menzer Law.
Washington’s Wrongful Death Law Change In July 2019
In April 2019, Gov. Jay Inslee signed SB5163 into law. This bill updated Washington’s wrongful death law in regard to who could pursue a wrongful death claim and receive compensation.
Previously, parents could not pursue compensation for the loss of their adult children. Now, such a claim may be filed.
The Statute Of Limitations
In Washington, you have a limited period of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit and pursue compensation. The statute of limitations is generally three years, which means that you have three years from the date of your loved one’s death to file the claim. Other rules may apply, especially if the death occurred as the result of medical malpractice.
Whenever someone may be to blame for the death of a loved one, it is important to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Your family will benefit from a lawyer investigating the circumstances of the death and gathering evidence before it may be lost or forgotten. If you wait too long before calling an attorney, important evidence may be lost or degraded.
Wrongful Death Claims Differ From Survival Actions
Another type of legal claim that you may pursue after a loved one’s death is a survival action, which is different from a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death claim arises because of your loved one’s death. A survivor claim is a legal claim that arises during your relative’s life and survives their death. For example, if your loved one was severely injured in an accident and survived for weeks or months, accruing economic and noneconomic damages before they passed away, the personal injury claim may survive their death.
Common Questions About Wrongful Death Litigation
Below, we’ve provided answers to common questions many clients have about wrongful death claims.
- Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit?
- Can I get compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit?
- Will I have to go to court for a wrongful death case?
- What’s the average wrongful death settlement?
- Is wrongful death compensation taxed?
In Washington, that depends on whether you are the personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate. You can become the personal representative or executor by being named in the will or appointed by the probate court. If you aren’t the personal representative or executor of the estate, then no, you can’t file the wrongful death lawsuit.
You can receive compensation if the person who died was your spouse or registered domestic partner, parent or stepparent. But if your loved one didn’t leave behind a spouse or children, then you can pursue compensation if you’re a surviving parent or sibling.
It depends. Sometimes making an insurance claim is enough. But you should talk with a lawyer about the benefits of filing a lawsuit and going to court. Your lawyer will prepare and file the wrongful death complaint and then appear in court on your behalf. Whether you’ll need to go through a trial will depend on whether the other side is willing to settle. Many people resolve their cases through pretrial settlements. It’s best to talk with an attorney about your specific circumstances.
There is no average wrongful death settlement or court award because every case is unique in terms of how the person died, the degree to which the decedent suffered before his or her death and the surviving relatives’ injuries. You should discuss with attorney Matt Menzer how much the wrongful death claim might be worth and how much you might receive after compensation is divided among the eligible relatives.
Generally, the compensation you receive through a wrongful death lawsuit isn’t taxed unless it’s for punitive damages. In the state of Washington, this isn’t relevant because punitive damages are not allowed. The IRS excludes compensatory damages from income for tax purposes. If you’re worried about how a settlement or court award will impact your taxes, talk with a financial professional, such as a certified public accountant.
Call A Seattle Wrongful Death Attorney Today
When you lose a loved one as the result of the negligence or wrongdoing of another person or corporation, we recommend you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At Menzer Law, we handle wrongful death claims with compassion and sensitivity while also taking an aggressive approach to obtaining full and fair compensation for your family.
Contact us today by calling 206.903.1818 to schedule a free case review. You can also send us an email.