Seattle Wrongful Death Attorneys

A loved one died due to someone else’s negligence. Now what?

Seattle Wrongful Death Lawyers

Losing a loved one is absolutely devastating and is never easy. If the death was caused by someone else’s negligence and/or wrongful act, it only serves to compound your grief. It also leaves you with a many unanswered questions. In addition to all the questions surrounding how & why the death occurred and who is responsible, there are also many financial questions that are looming.

Who will pay for the medical costs? What about the funeral? How will I survive with the loss of my loved one’s income? We’re here to help with these questions and to take the burden off of you so you can focus on grieving and on your emotional recovery.

Common Wrongful Death Questions

You will have peace of mind that your attorneys truly care about you and your family. Michelle & Court have over 35 years of combined experience and will use all of that experience towards helping you.

We will take the stress of dealing with the insurance companies away from you, and will get you the compensation you deserve. Money that will help to cover lost wages, medical expenses, pain & suffering, etc.

We will personally handle your case every step of the way, including contacting the insurance companies, contacting the at-fault party and/or their attorney, investigation, research, drafting pleadings, conducting depositions, and taking cases through trial when necessary. This process will often be resolved over the course of several months, but can sometimes take years. Throughout this process, we are there for our clients. We care about what our clients are going through and we want them to feel comfortable that they are in the best hands.

We will meet with you, gain an understanding of your individual situation and if we decide to work together, our fee does not get paid until the insurance company pays you.

It is scary to find yourself or your loved one a victim of any type of injury or loss. It is your job to heal. It is our job to deal with everything else.

Answer from April, 2020:

Possibly. The global pandemic of COVID-19 has been, and remains to be, devastating on many different levels. At this time, there are several unanswered questions hovering around just about every aspect of it. While some law firms may try to jump on this and start filing lawsuits right now, we believe this is a mistake for a few reasons.

That said, there very well may be legal actions that can and should be filed soon, and contacting an attorney now is a good idea. There are steps that can be taken at this time that will help in the future should any legal action ultimately be pursued.

Overall, if there was negligence by another party and/or organization that was a contributing factor to your loved one either initially contracting and/or dying from COVID-19, then there may be liability.

A death is wrongful under the law if is “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person.” RCW 2.20.010

In other words, the death does not need to be the result of an intentional act. In fact, most wrongful death suits involve negligence rather than something done intentionally. You may also pursue a wrongful death claim for an intentional act, such as murder.

Some of the more common wrongful death actions involve the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Bike Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Negligent care in nursing homes or daycare
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Product Liability (a defective product causes death)
If you have any concern whatsoever that the death of your loved one could have been prevented but for someone else’s act or negligence, then you may have a claim. Please give us a call to discuss further in a free, no strings attached consultation.

In Washington State, people with any of the following relationships with the decedent may file a wrongful death claim:

  • Spouses
  • Domestic Partners
  • Children, including adopted and step-children
  • Grandchildren
  • Siblings
  • Parents, including step-parents and legal guardians
  • Grandparents
Yes. As of July, 2019, Washington State finally made it easier for parents and siblings to pursue wrongful death actions. The law previously made it a requirement that in order for parents or siblings to receive any funds, they had to both live in the state of Washington and prove that they were financially dependent on the deceased. Fortunately, those restrictions have now been removed.

When a loved one dies due to another’s negligence, there are often huge expenses that family members can be held responsible for. It is clearly unjust for you to have pay for these expenses out of your own pocket. Pursuing a wrongful death claim can force the responsible party to pay instead. There are also a number of non-economic damages that can be pursued.

Here is a list of examples of the types of damages that can be recovered:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral & burial/cremation costs
  • Personal property damages
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings
  • Loss of prospective inheritance
  • The pain and suffering endured by your loved one prior to dying (including fear of dying)
  • Loss of care, companionship & guidance from your loved one

This varies greatly from case to case and depends on a variety of factors. Among the many factors that will affect the amount that will ultimately be recovered include:

  • Your relationship to the person who died
  • How the death occurred
  • The percentage of negligence that can be attributed to the other party
  • Whether the negligent party is an individual or a large company or a government entity. In general, individuals have much smaller insurance policy limits than companies and governments.

While this can vary from case to case, some of the more common defense we see include:

  • Contributory negligence
  • No proximate cause
  • Decedent was intoxicated (drugs or alcohol) and that was the proximate cause of death and the person killed was more than 50% at fault
  • Decedent was committing a felony at the time of death and that was the proximate cause of death

Despite these available defenses, we will do everything possible to still maximize your recovery.

General/Insurance FAQ's

We’ll keep this answer simple: Yes, you need an attorney if you want to maximize your recovery. It’s just one of those things that is best left to the experts.

Insurance companies want to pay out the minimums, close your file, and move on. Attorneys get in the way of that.

This question will get you a very lawyer-like answer: it depends. We need to know a lot more about your injury and get deep into the case before we can fully answer this question.

The word “win” also means different things to different people. For instance, if an insurance adjustor offers you $500 to settle your case and then after we get involved the offer goes up to $20,000, many people would consider that a win. In some cases, we would agree with this. In others, we may believe that more money is deserved and will urge you to keep fighting.

What we can tell you is this. We will put you in the best position to maximize your recovery, whether that is through a settlement or trial.

Similar answer here to the question above about whether you will “win” your case. While this is another great question, it’s not one that can be answered until many things happen first. Fault and seriousness of the injury, are a couple of the main factors at play.

The two primary types of damages that can be recovered are economic/special damages, and non-economic/general damages.

Economic damages are for out-of-pocket costs that are incurred due to the injury.  For example:

  • Medical costs, including unreimbursed bills, long-term/chronic care costs, medical devices, home modifications, physical therapy, etc.
  • Property damages;
  • Lost wages or employment opportunity

General damages are for other harms that you have suffered but are more difficult to calculate, such as:

  • Enjoyment/Quality of life
  • Pain & suffering
  • Loss of consortium/companionship
No. There is no cap on either economic (out of pocket) or general damages in Washington State. However, Washington does not allow you to recover punitive damages.
The deadline to file a claim, also called the statute of limitations, is 3 years for most personal injury cases in Washington State. The clock starts ticking on the same day of your accident/injury.
The vast majority of cases get resolved through a settlement prior to trial. That said, there are some cases where trial is the only way to get the compensation you deserve.
It varies quite a lot. It can be a few months to a couple of years (and occasionally even longer in serious injury cases). To get the biggest settlement, we typically want to wait until treatment finished, and you have reached what is referred to as maximum medical improvement. It’s important to remember that you also have some say in how long your case will go on for, meaning that if a settlement offer is made, you can decide whether or not to accept it/
Yes. Nothing is more important than your health and physical recovery. It’s important to reach out to an attorney as well, but don’t feel like you must speak to an attorney before visiting the doctor. Just make sure to document everything about your medical visits and care.

It’s not uncommon for injury victims to be partially at fault for an accident. This does not mean you are completely responsible and you very well may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Washington State uses a “pure comparative negligence” calculation, where the amount of money you recover gets reduced by the percentage you are considered to be at fault. For example, Let’s say you recover $100,000 but are determined to be 25% at fault, your total recovery would then be $75,000.

If you have Personal Injury Protection, then you can recover economic damages for medical bills, etc. However ,you will not be able to recover any general/non-economic damages (such as pain & suffering).
Once the settlement is finalized, you can typically get a check within 30 days, but this is not a requirement under Washington law. There are a number of circumstances that could cause it to take longer.

Protect yourself with a wrongful death personal injury lawyer.

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I would highly recommend Mr Court for any criminal case consulting. His approach was thoroughly professional. he was a great listener and a good strategist. His approach was methodical and he didnt rush into any decisions. I changed my counsel just before my first court date and Mr Court did an excellent job. The case was finally dismissed in my favor. I would consider myself lucky but Mr court had some innovative ways to approach my case. It was such a pleasure to have Mr Court on my side. He was super responsive over texts and emails. He was punctual and very gentle in communication.
We never imagined we would be in the position to need a defense attorney, but when we did, we were so thankful that we found Court Will. Both he and Michelle are truly the best. Court is extremely dedicated, thoughtful, calm, and confident. He took time to get to know us, the case, and really ensured that we understood not only what was happening, but all possible outcomes. Court was honest, answered every question, took his time with us, gave excellent advice, and ultimately got the best possible outcome we could have hoped for. He is brilliant, and we are most grateful.
After some research & speaking with other attorneys, I came across Court. I instantly knew he was right for my situation. I met him shortly after we discuss some details on the phone. He was very pleasant & very understanding of this difficult time in my life. One of the hardest things I have ever gone through. Of course I hired him. As months passed, he reached out to me & gave me the best news/results I have ever heard. I know the work he did in the background & I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you Court!
Chris
A knowledgable and caring attorney who got me an amazing result I was charged with a felony sex crime. I had a previous attorney before hiring Mr. Will. The other attorney told me I needed to plead guilty or I would go to prison for 3 years. Due to a number of reasons, I didn't want to go to trial, and Mr. Will respected that. Mr. Will went to court for me more times than I can count, did some additional investigation and ultimately told me that I could plead guilty to a lesser offense and get probation and house arrest. I was amazed. I give Mr. Will my highest recommendation.
Mike

COVID-19 Notice: We want to reassure you that we are OPEN for both consultations & representation. We know this pandemic is extremely difficult for everyone, and facing a criminal charge or suffering an injury on top of it only makes things that much worse. We’re here to help.