Dedicated Mt. Vernon Wrongful Death Attorneys Ready To Fight For You
Our office in Mount Vernon, WA
- Address: 720 S Main St #213, Mt Vernon, WA 98273
- Open hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm
- Phone number: 360-395-2135
- Map Directions
It is shocking and tragic enough to learn of the death of your loved one, especially if it is premature. It is beyond tragic when you learn that the death would not have occurred but for someone else’s misconduct, be it a careless driver, a negligent doctor, or a corner-cutting product manufacturer.
Mt. Vernon is a reasonably safe place to live, as is the rest of Skagit County. Hidden dangers lurk, however. Interstate 5, SR 536, and SR 538 have all seen their share of fatal accidents, for example, and so have local hospitals and construction sites. Even your home isn’t safe if your doctor prescribed you a defective drug. Our trusted Mt. Vernon wrongful death lawyers will help you in your case.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under the Washington wrongful death statute, a person who is injured as a result of a wrongful act or omission committed by someone else, has a personal injury claim. If they die from the injury, certain close relatives, as well as the personal representative of the victim’s probate estate, may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
However, Washington requires the estate’s personal representative to file the lawsuit in most situations. That doesn’t mean the executor is the one receiving the money, only that they have the legal capacity to file on behalf of surviving family members.
To bring a wrongful death claim, you must show:
- Your family member has died,
- Your family member died from injuries related to an accident caused by the defendant,
- The defendant’s actions caused your family member harm,
- Surviving family members are struggling financially and have additional financial burdens, and
- Surviving family members are now suffering because the person died.
If a family member died due to another party’s intentional actions, recklessness, or negligence, you could have grounds to bring a wrongful death claim.
Proving a Wrongful Death
Before receiving any compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove the defendants are responsible. Proving wrongful death is not as easy as you might think. For example, consider a negligent motorist who was speeding and killed your spouse. You must prove the four elements of negligence against the defendant driver. These elements are:
- Duty. You must show the defendant owed your deceased family member a duty of care. For example, all motorists are required to obey traffic laws, such as speed limits.
- Breach of duty. The defendant must have breached their duty. In the car accident example, the defendant breached their duty when they violated the speed limit.
- Causation. The defendant’s breach must have caused your family member’s death. In this example, the defendant was speeding and couldn’t stop in time, smashing into the decedent’s vehicle and causing their death.
- Damages. You must show losses caused by the death as the surviving spouse in a wrongful death claim.
Our experienced Mt. Vernon wrongful death lawyers can help you gather evidence to build a stronger wrongful death claim.
Types of Wrongful Death Damages
Recoverable compensation in a wrongful death claim differs from that in other types of personal injury claims. Obviously, no amount of money can make up for the loss of someone you love. Examples of potential damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim include:
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Value of lost household services;
- Lost financial support from the deceased; and
- Loss of the decedent’s care, love, affection, and companionship.
Any compensation in a wrongful death claim goes to the decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, and children. Children can include step-children or adopted children. If the decedent had no spouse, domestic partner, or children, the decedent’s parents or siblings may receive compensation.
You Can Afford Us Even with Empty Pockets
At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, we win 97 percent of our personal injury and wrongful death cases. And with a .970 batting average, we can afford to bend a little. Because of this, we offer these two guarantees: (i) we will charge you nothing unless we win your case, and (ii) no bill from us will come due until your money actually arrives. Your bill will be calculated as a percentage of the compensation you win.
Wrongful death cases aren’t the only type of cases we handle. We also handle the following types of personal injury cases:
- Car Accidents,
- Motorcycle Accidents ,
- DUI Accidents,
- Truck Accidents,
- Bicycle Accidents,
- Pedestrian Accidents,
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and
- Sexual Abuse.
Other types of injuries: Just about any type of injury can trigger a personal injury claim. We handle medical negligence, product liability, defective drugs, slip and fall accident cases, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the “family car” doctrine?
Under the Washington “family car” doctrine, a family member who purchases or maintains a vehicle for another family member can be held liable for wrongful death in a car accident caused by the family member for whom the vehicle was purchased or maintained. This doctrine might apply, for example, where a parent buys a car for a teenage son.
Can I sue the manufacturer of the brakes of the car that killed my loved one?
Yes, you can. And you can win if you prove that:
- The brakes contained a manufacturing, design, or warning defect;
- The defect rendered the brakes unreasonably dangerous; and
- The defect substantially contributed to the accident that killed your loved one.
You can win such a claim without even proving that the manufacturer was negligent or culpable in any way,
Can I file a wrongful death claim for the death of my adult child?
Under many circumstances, you can. This is significant because, until recently, the parents of a deceased adult child could only claim wrongful death damages for the death of a child if (i) they lived in the US, and (ii) they were financially dependent on their child. A 2019 amendment to the law eliminated these restrictions.
My loved one died in a commercial truck accident. Can I sue the trucking company for the negligence of the trucker?
You probably can’t, but then again, you probably don’t need to either. Most commercial truckers are considered independent contractors, not employees. And in such cases, a trucking company cannot be held liable unless it was negligent itself (by requiring the trucker to overload the vehicle, for example). You probably don’t need to anyway, because truckers carry generous insurance policies.
How long do we have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Washington?
In most cases, you have only three years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Washington. Failure to file by the deadline means the court will likely dismiss your case, and you will not receive any money. It’s important to note the filing deadline is not always three years from the date of death. Some circumstances might increase or decrease your filing time. That is why you should speak with our skilled legal team right away. Don’t jeopardize your case by inadvertently missing the filing deadline.
Start Fighting Back Today
After all these years of practice, it still pains us to watch our clients suffer the tragic loss of a loved one for reasons they had nothing to do with. That pain motivates us to fight as hard as we can to ensure that you receive absolutely every dime that you are entitled to.
If your loved one has died under circumstances that indicate someone else may be responsible, contact a skilled Mt. Vernon wrongful death attorney at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner immediately. We can be reached by phone or online by completing our contact form. Once you contact us, we can schedule a free consultation to listen to your story and answer your questions. We serve clients in Creekside Meadows, Hillcrest Landing, Twin Brooks, and elsewhere in Mt. Vernon.