Wrongful Death Lawyer Tacoma
It’s difficult to cope with the grief of losing a loved one, especially if their death was preventable. It’s even more difficult to seek justice and compensation for your loved one’s death amid the emotional turmoil and losses you and your family incurred. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through that all alone. A competent wrongful death lawyer Tacoma can assist you with your wrongful death claim so you and your family can have peace of mind while justice for your loved one is served.
But first, here’s a brief overview of what wrongful death is.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a death resulting from another person’s negligence or misconduct. Usually, when a person gets injured in an accident, they can file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for their injuries. However, when the accident is fatal, the deceased’s close family members can file a claim against the defendant, holding them responsible for their loved one’s death.
A wrongful death claim isn’t a criminal lawsuit. Instead, it’s a civil action against a defendant. However, the defendant may also face separate criminal charges from the same incident, such as manslaughter or murder.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Tacoma?
You can file a wrongful death claim in Washington State if you’re the victim’s:
- State-registered domestic partner
However, if the deceased has none of these relations, their parents or siblings may file a wrongful death claim.
The beneficiaries of the wrongful claim are described as the real parties of interest. In most states, one of these beneficiaries files the wrongful death claim on behalf of the victim’s surviving family members. However, that’s different in Washington State.
Usually, the court requires the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to file the claim on behalf of the surviving family members. A personal representative is the person appointed to execute a will in the event of the decedent’s death. If the decedent didn’t appoint a personal representative by the time of their death, the court appoints one of the surviving family members to take up that responsibility.
The personal representative filing the wrongful death claim must prove:
- That the victim’s death was a result of someone else’s negligence or intentions
- The defendant’s responsibility to prevent the wrongful death
- The damages the victim’s family suffered due to the victim’s death, such as funeral expenses and loss of companionship
Examples of Wrongful Death Cases
Several incidents can lead to wrongful deaths. Here are the most common examples of wrongful death cases:
Car accidents: A driver can be held responsible for causing the accident by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving recklessly, or any other misconduct.
Slip and fall accidents: For instance, if the deceased slipped and fell because of an unsecured handrail, the property owner would be held responsible for their death.
Nursing home or daycare neglect or abuse: Sadly, some caregivers in daycares and nursing homes neglect and abuse their clients, leading to wrongful death.
Medical malpractices: a medical professional or institution may cause a wrongful death by prescribing the wrong medication, using an incorrect treatment procedure, etc.
Workplace accidents: A worker can get compensation for sustaining an injury from an accident at work. However, if the accident is fatal, the employer may be held accountable for wrongful death.
Frequently Asked Questions
The family of a wrongful death victim often suffers tremendous emotional and financial damages, especially if the victim was the family's breadwinner. For this reason, there are numerous damages the victim's family can recover in Tacoma. The claim can include both economic and non-economic damages.
Examples of damages the victim's family can recover include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of the deceased's financial contributions
- Emotional damages
- Mental anguish
- Grief compensation
- Companionship and support loss
- Lost inheritance
The court may also award punitive damages to the deceased's real parties of interest. This happens in cases of the defendant's gross negligence or extreme misconduct.
The deceased's family may also file a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant if the decedent didn't die instantly from the accident. In this case, the decedent's family can claim compensation for the deceased's pain and suffering before death.
Although you deserve compensation for your loved one’s wrongful death, you may have difficulties maneuvering the legal processes involved. In addition, you may need guidance on the damages you can claim or the amount of compensation you and your family should receive.
However, hiring a competent wrongful death lawyer can significantly reduce the stress and confusion involved in these processes. Here are some of the benefits of working with a wrongful death lawyer.
- The lawyer focuses on your case, giving you and your family time to grieve and heal
- Wrongful death lawyers are good at negotiating fair compensations for damages and losses
- The lawyer has vast knowledge of the laws and regulations related to your claim
- A competent lawyer can give you legal advice on the steps to take throughout the process
- The lawyer knows the kind of damages you can claim
- A wrongful lawyer can prepare documents, gather evidence, and beat filing deadlines
- The lawyer can represent you in court if the claim goes to trial.
There's a time limit when the real parties of interest can file a wrongful death claim. In Washington State, this time limit is three years from the date of the victim's death. However, there are a few circumstances when the limit can be longer, shorter, or overlapped by other statute of limitations.