Proven Bellingham Wrongful Death Attorneys Ready To Assist You
Bellingham ‘s small-town feel, combined with the spectacular beauty of Whatcom County, can be deceptive. Interstate 5, for example, plays unwilling host to most of the area’s fatal traffic accidents. In addition to traffic dangers, Bellingham residents face a host of other dangers, both visible and invisible, ranging from slip and fall accidents to defective pharmaceuticals. When your loved one dies due to someone else’s misconduct, however, it’s time to take action.
When one person is injured by someone else’s misconduct, a personal injury claim arises. But when someone dies from their injuries, their claim does not die with them. Washington’s wrongful death statute allows certain close relatives of the victim, or the personal representative of the victim’s probate estate, to file a wrongful death claim for damages. However, winning such a claim can be complex due to the difficulty of proving the defendant’s fault with admissible evidence.
Someone to Fight for You
It is not a good idea to attempt to handle a wrongful death claim on your own – any more than it would be a good idea to attempt to perform surgery on yourself. You are going to need assistance, and not just any Bellingham wrongful death lawyer will do. At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, we are no “new kids on the block” – we have been in business since 1972. In nearly 50 years of practice, we have obtained many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for our clients.
Some of Our Other Practice Areas
We frequently handle just about every major type of personal injury claim including:
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- DUI Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Sexual Abuse
- Products Liability
We also handle medical malpractice, defective drugs, slip and fall accident cases, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit during the defendant’s criminal trial?
Yes, you can. A civil lawsuit and a criminal prosecution are two completely different proceedings. You could possibly win your wrongful death lawsuit even if the defendant is acquitted in criminal court. This is because of the lower standard of proof that applies to civil lawsuits. It is much easier to win a lawsuit than it is to win a criminal prosecution.
What is the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in Washington State?
The statute of limitations sets the deadline by which you must file a lawsuit. Once you have filed the lawsuit, you have beaten the statute of limitations deadline, no matter how long the lawsuit eventually takes. In Washington, you generally have three years from the victim’s date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The deadline may be shorter, however, if the victim survived for a while before he died.
How much money might be awarded?
Under Washington wrongful death law, compensation can be awarded for:
- The victim’s medical bills prior to death (if you are the one who paid them)
- The victim’s funeral and burial expenses (if you are the one who paid them)
- The victim’s pain and suffering prior to death
- An amount equal to the amount of money the victim would have earned if the accident had not occurred (more would likely be available for the death of a young adult, for example, than for an older worker)
- Loss of property
- Loss of the intangible benefits provided by your loved one, such as care and companionship
Does it matter if the accident was partly the victim’s fault?
It matters, but it does not necessarily defeat the claim. If the victim was partially at fault, you will lose an amount equivalent to the victim’s percentage of fault (if the victim was 30 percent at fault, for example, you will only receive 70 percent of the amount of damages that would have been available if the defendant was not at fault).
Contact Us Today
If your loved one died under circumstances that lead you to believe that someone else was responsible, justice demands a response. And the sooner you act, the better your chances will be, since evidence tends to deteriorate over time. Speak with a trusted Bellingham wrongful death attorney by contacting Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner today by calling or filling out our online contact form so that we can schedule a free case consultation with you.
You don’t need to worry that you can’t afford us. Since we work on a contingency fee structure, we will charge you nothing until and unless we win your case and you actually receive compensation. At that point, our legal fees will amount to a percentage of your compensation – and if you receive nothing, our bill is zero. We serve clients in Columbia, Alabama Hill, Fairhaven, and elsewhere in Bellingham and the state of Washington.