Personal Injury | June 23, 2023

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When a loved one passes away, it can be an extremely difficult and heartbreaking experience. In cases where the death is a result of someone else's negligence, the situation becomes even more challenging. The surviving family members may find themselves dealing with overwhelming emotional and financial hardships. A wrongful death lawsuit comes into play as a legal recourse that aims to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.  If you live in Auburn, Bonney Lake, Buckley, Enumclaw, Orting, Puyallup, or Sumner, the following information will provide an overview of your rights in such cases within the state of Washington. It is always advisable to consult with a trusted wrongful death attorney who can assess your specific situation.  

Defining a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit involves the initiation of a legal claim against an individual or organization who is believed to be responsible for the death of another person. This usually happens when the actions or lack of actions by the individual or entity are considered negligent or reckless. Examples include car accidents caused by drunk driving or medical malpractice due to a physician's failure to provide adequate care.  

Understanding Washington State's Wrongful Death Statute

Washington State's wrongful death statute (RCW 4.20.010 & 4.20.020) permits specific eligible family members to initiate a claim on behalf of their deceased loved one. Potential claimants may include:
  • A spouse or registered domestic partner
  • Children, including stepchildren
  • Parents or siblings (in specific circumstances)

Crucial Steps in Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Washington State

  1. Consult with an experienced attorney:  It is advisable to seek the advice of an experienced wrongful death attorney who is well-versed in Washington State law. They can provide valuable assistance in understanding the complexities involved in wrongful death claims and guide you throughout the process.
  1. Determine eligibility: Your attorney will assess your relationship with the deceased and ascertain whether you meet the criteria to file a claim.
  1. Evidence gathering: Once eligibility is established, your attorney will commence the collection of essential evidence. This may include medical records, police reports, and witness statements, which serve to strengthen your case.
  1. Establishing negligence: Proving the defendant's negligence as a cause of the victim's death is a crucial aspect of a wrongful death lawsuit. Working alongside experts, your attorney will endeavor to establish a clear link between the negligent act and the loss of your loved one.
  1. File the claim: Once a robust case is prepared, your attorney will file the claim in the appropriate Washington State court, ensuring adherence to the applicable statute of limitations. In Washington, the general timeframe for initiating a wrongful death claim is three years from the date of death.
  1. Settle or litigate: Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to reach a settlement outside of court, securing a fair amount of compensation. If a settlement cannot be achieved, your attorney will represent you in court, seeking the maximum compensation available under Washington State law.
  Coping with the loss of a loved one is never easy, particularly when their death results from another's negligent behavior. While no amount of money can make up for this type of loss, pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can bring a sense of closure and fairness to an otherwise preventable event.  

Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Auburn, Bonney Lake, Buckley, Enumclaw, Orting, Puyallup, or Sumner Now

Reach out to an experienced wrongful death attorney in Auburn, Bonney Lake, Buckley, Enumclaw, Orting, Puyallup, or Sumner - someone who understands your suffering and can legally help. Contact Anderson Law, PLLC to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.  

The information contained on this website is intended for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice. Nothing in this website establishes an attorney-client relationship between us. Different facts can dramatically affect a legal opinion. You should consult an attorney for legal advice that pertains to your personal situation.