The death of a family member is a tragic loss. When this loss is inflicted because of someone’s carelessness or negligence, the grief felt by the victim’s family is all the more profound.
If you lost a loved one recently, and you believe that their death was caused by the negligence of another person, a Tacoma wrongful death lawyer can investigate the situation further to determine whether you have grounds for legal action. A dedicated attorney could fight diligently to recover damages for your family’s pain, suffering, and other losses caused by the loss of your loved one.
Washington law is particular regarding who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. These qualified parties include the victim’s husband, wife, legally recognized domestic partner, children, or stepchildren, pursuant to Revised Code of Washington § 4.20.020. The decedent’s estate representative is also considered eligible to file a wrongful death claim. In circumstances where none of the family members who would be eligible for compensation survived the decedent, the person’s siblings or parents can pursue a wrongful death action.
Numerous types of financial compensation may be available to someone filing a wrongful death claim, including the economic and non-economic costs associated with the decedent’s death. For example, the decedent’s funeral costs and hospital bills related to their fatal injury could be recovered. The court may award compensation for the emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of the decedent’s society. The plaintiff in a wrongful death claim could also seek compensation for the loss of the decedent’s inheritance and lost earnings that their family member would have been paid had they not succumbed to their injuries.
If the victim was under 18, any compensation granted by the court in a wrongful death lawsuit would be distributed to the child’s surviving parents. Otherwise, when the decedent is an adult, wrongful death damages are disbursed directly to their estate. An attorney in Tacoma could help someone understand how their wrongful death claim might proceed based on the circumstances underlying their case.
Under Washington state wrongful death law, the decedent’s family must initiate law proceedings no later than three years after the victim’s death. When a minor child is killed, either the mother or father may pursue a wrongful death action regardless of marital status. If only one parent initiates a wrongful death lawsuit, they must notify the other parent no more than 20 days after filing suit, at which point the non-filing parent could decide to become a part of the lawsuit as well.
Any interested parties must speak with a Tacoma wrongful death attorney promptly. If a wrongful death suit is not filed within three years of the person’s death, any right to compensation that the decedent’s family holds would be forever lost.
A Tacoma wrongful death lawyer could investigate the details of your loved one’s death to identify the negligent party or parties responsible. Whether your loved one’s death was caused by reckless driving, medical malpractice, or another negligent factor, an attorney could help you hold the responsible party accountable for their grievous actions.
Contact a Tacoma attorney today for a confidential consultation.