Sometimes, the world seems like it is boobytrapped. In a way, it is. And Olympia, Washington, on Puget Sound, is just as vulnerable as anywhere else is. Interstate 5, however, is not necessarily the most dangerous place in Olympia, even if it is the place where the danger is most obvious. Some would argue, not without statistical support, that some hospitals and pharmacies are just as dangerous.
Wrongful Death Claims
When one person’s misconduct causes the death of another person, a wrongful death claim arises under Washington law. Under Washington’s wrongful death statute, this type of claim can be filed by:
- the personal representative of the deceased victim’s probate estate (in a “survival action” for certain types of damages only); and
- a surviving spouse, registered domestic partner, child, or stepchild.
If none of the above-mentioned relatives exist or survive the death of the victim (as in the case of a child victim), the victim’s parents or siblings may file a wrongful death claim. In the case of the death of a minor child, a parent can file a claim only if he or she can demonstrate “significant involvement” in the child’s life at any time reasonably near the date of the accident or the date of death.
Wrongful death damages can include:
- The victim’s medical bills (typically paid to the probate estate);
- Funeral and burial expenses (typically paid to the probate estate);
- Lost income;
- The victim’s pain and suffering;
- Compensation for property damage; and
- Intangible losses suffered by the relatives who filed the claim (grief, loss of emotional support, etc.).
Our Client Says…
“Best attorneys around. Extremely personable and knowledgeable especially in complicated cases! They work hard for you and keep you informed on what’s happening! I would refer people here in a heartbeat!” — Tara Pavone
Other Types of Personal Injury Claims We Handle
We handle just about every type of personal injury claim, including:
- Medical Malpractice
- Truck Accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Auto Accidents
- Sexual Abuse
- Defective Drugs
- DUI Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Products Liability
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can an unmarried father file a wrongful death claim over the death of a minor child?
Under Washington wrongful death law, a parent seeking to file a wrongful death claim need not be married to the other parent, either at the time the lawsuit is filed or at any previous time. In some cases, however, a putative father may be required to establish paternity (although an adoptive father enjoys the same rights as a biological father). The father must serve the mother with a copy of the wrongful death complaint.
Can I file a claim against a doctor for wrongful death?
Yes, you can, as long as you can make a credible claim that the doctor’s medical malpractice caused the death. You may need expert medical testimony to establish this.
Can I file a claim against a product manufacturer for wrongful death?
Yes, you can, as long as certain conditions are met. In many cases, you do not even have to prove that the manufacturer was at fault to win. You will need to prove that the product in question was unreasonably dangerous as the result of:
- A design defect;
- A manufacturing defect; or
- Inadequate product warnings.
Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit while the defendant is being prosecuted for manslaughter in criminal court?
Yes, you can, because a civil lawsuit is a separate proceeding from a criminal prosecution. It is even possible to win a civil lawsuit if the defendant is acquitted of the criminal charge against him.
Our Services Are Free unless We Win
At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, we offer something better than a “money-back guarantee.” You won’t owe us anything at all until your case is over, you have won, and the money is in the bank. And if we don’t win (a relatively rare occurrence) you don’t pay us at all.
When it comes to a wrongful death claim, time matters – even if the statute of limitations deadline is years away. Your best chance of winning your claim comes when you retain an experienced and aggressive law firm to conduct a thorough investigation while the evidence is still fresh. Call Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner today or fill out our online contact form so that we can schedule a meeting to answer your questions.