A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed in Washington state when someone dies due to the neglect or wrongful act of someone else. Some of the most common wrongful death cases include automobile accidents, medical malpractice lawsuits, and workplace accidents, as well as abuse and neglect in nursing homes.
Wrongful death lawsuits give family members of the deceased the ability to file something similar to a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf. This means that if the family believes that the cause of death was due to someone else’s carelessness or negligence, they can seek both financial and emotional monetary compensation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is filed by a personal representative on behalf of a spouse, a registered domestic partner, or a child of the deceased party. The child can be a birth child, adopted child, or stepchild. If the deceased was single and did not have children, then a parent or sibling has legal grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The deceased party can also be represented by a personal representative of their estate. This is someone who is either appointed by the court to handle the estate, or a guardian or trustee that has been granted the same powers by the court.
With wrongful death cases involving someone under the age of 18, a legal guardian or parent can also file under certain circumstances. For example, they must regularly contribute to supporting the child, and must also have a significant involvement in the child’s life. In the legal system in Washington, significant involvement means financial, emotional, and/or psychological aid. Parents are able to recover damages for their loss separately if unmarried, separated or divorced.
Damages Recovered from Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Damages that can be recovered from a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Funeral and medical bills
- Costs related to any damaged physical property
- Lost wages that could have been collected if the deceased had not passed
- Child service payments
- Governmental financial support
In addition, someone who is closely related to the deceased can file for compensation for emotional damages (also called loss of consortium) as well.
Compensation for emotional distress can be hard to measure. Having a therapist, psychologist, or doctor diagnose you with mental duress is one of the best ways to prove emotional distress in the eyes of the law. A judge will consider various different effects that the death of the deceased has on his or her remaining family members. These include things like:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Humiliation or shame
- Loss of love and companionship
Getting Assistance from a Wrongful Death Specialist
If you recently lost a loved one and feel that it was due to the careless acts of another person or company, contact Herschensohn Law PLLC. Our team can help you navigate through the complicated legal system as you emotionally and financially heal from your loss and will fight aggressively for the compensation you deserve. Wrongful death cases are often draining and complex, but we’ll be there with you every step of the way so that you see a positive outcome. Contact our office today at (206) 588-4344.