Wrongful Death

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Providing Compassionate Support and Top-Notch Legal Representation for Grieving Families Throughout Central and Eastern Washington

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When someone you love suddenly and unexpectedly passes away, it can turn your entire life upside down. What makes your situation even more tragic is knowing that your loved one might still be here if it weren’t for someone else’s negligence. At Albrecht Law, we understand that losing a loved one in a preventable accident is a family’s worst nightmare. Although nothing can take away the pain of your loss, we may be able to help you achieve some closure and financial stability by filing a wrongful death claim or pursuing a lawsuit against the negligent party.

A wrongful death claim is a civil action asserted by a deceased person’s family against a party whose negligence or misconduct resulted in the death of their loved one. The wrongful death statute in Washington defines wrongful death as the “death of a person caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you navigate the process of filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company or filing a lawsuit in state or federal court. To prove liability, Matt Albrecht and his legal team can provide the following services:

  • Perform an accident reconstruction,
  • gather and preserve evidence,
  • obtain witness statements,
  • collect testimonies from various experts, and
  • request an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths

A wrongful death claim can arise from a variety of circumstances,  including but not limited to:

  • Traffic accidents (car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian),
    • distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, etc.
  • Defective products,
  • Medical malpractice,
    • misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical error/s,
  • Premises accidents,
  • Industrial accidents,
  • Construction site accidents,
  • Work-related accidents / occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances,
  • Nursing home abuse and neglect,
  • Fires,
  • Public transportation and aviation accidents (boat, airplane, subway, bus),
  • Criminal actions including blatant violence, shootings and stabbings, and
  • Birth injuries.

What Damages are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Case?

Surviving family members of the deceased may be able to seek “pecuniary” or financial injury compensation through a wrongful death action. A judge or jury will calculate the amount of financial loss by taking into account several factors including: the age, character and condition of the deceased, his/her earning capacity, life expectancy, health and intelligence, as well as the circumstances of the beneficiaries of the estate.

  • Lost wages and income that the deceased would likely have earned if death hadn’t occurred
  • Medical expenses or property damage associated with the death
  • Loss of love, affection, care, service, companionship, consortium and other intangible losses that decedent would have provided to the beneficiaries
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Children’s loss of a parental figure
  • Pain and suffering

Who is Eligible to Recover Damages?

In Washington state, the “Wrongful Death” and “Survival” statutes outline certain family members who are eligible to recover for the wrongful death of a loved one. If the deceased was an adult, the first eligible tier of beneficiaries would be a surviving spouse, state registered domestic partner, child or stepchild. If there is no spouse or children who were left behind, a second tier of beneficiaries would become eligible which would include a parent or sibling who was financially dependent on the deceased. First and second tier beneficiaries have a cause of action for wrongful death as well as survival action with pre-death pain and suffering damages. If the deceased was a child, you can recover under RCW 4.24 which permits a parent to recover for the loss of a child.

The Role of the Personal Representative in a Wrongful Death

When someone dies in Washington state, the law requires that a personal representative is appointed to manage the deceased’s person’s estate. A personal representative may be a beneficiary of the estate but due to potential conflicts of interests. It is preferable for this person to be an “uninterested” third party that has no personal stake in the outcome of the case.

personal representative participates in a probate action or legal proceeding to make sure assets are collected and liabilities are paid for, and assets are distributed to beneficiaries according to instructions set forth in a will (if one exists) or Washington probate law. If the deceased was killed as the result of negligence, the personal representative is responsible for filing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit on behalf of the family.

Most wrongful death suits are settled without going to court but if the negligent party is unwilling to offer a fair settlement, we will proceed to trial.

What is the Time Limit for Filing a Washington Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim in Washington must be filed within three years of the date of the person’s death. If your claim is not filed or settled within this time frame, you will be prohibited from recovering compensation for your losses. The sooner you take legal action, the greater the likelihood of a favorable outcome in your case. If you wait too long, it will be harder to preserve evidence and witnesses’ memories can fade over time.

More than one claim may be pursued in the same case. For instance, each surviving beneficiary may recover separate damages based on the relationship. A spouse may pursue damages for the destruction of the marital relationship while each surviving child may recover damages for the loss of the parent-child relationship.

Wrongful Death

Our team of dedicated wrongful death attorneys has a strong track record of obtaining favorable settlements and jury verdicts for survivors of wrongful death victims in Grant County, Adams County, and Spokane County. You can count on us to fight tirelessly on your behalf to hold the negligent party accountable and secure justice for your family and loved one. Albrecht law firm has the investigative capabilities and resources to prove liability and build a strong claim. We can also protect you from an insurance company’s attempts to minimize or deny you a fair recovery. 

Call us today to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with one of our highly skilled wrongful death attorneys. After a careful evaluation of your case, we will let you know what your legal options are and what to expect from the legal process. If you decide to hire us, you won’t be charged any upfront legal fees unless and until a positive result is achieved –whether it be an out-of-court settlement or a successful recovery from a lawsuit. Our offices are conveniently located in Spokane and Moses Lake. Call Today: (509) 495-1246 or Email us at: [email protected]

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