Losing a loved one is often a shock, but losing a loved one due to the negligence of someone else compounds the grief and anger after the death. The first three of the four general stages of grief, (1) shock and denial, (2) anger, (3) depression, and (4) acceptance, are often prolonged and harder to overcome when a beloved family member is wrongfully taken from us. There are many excellent clinical psychologists and counselors in our community to whom we can refer you who are available and experienced in helping people handle their grief.
Legal claims for wrongful death in Washington State are covered by sometimes confusing and overlapping statutes. At Becker Franklin Rovang, we specialize in personal injury claims and will not charge any fee for a consultation for a wrongful death claim. Also, when the case is accepted, we advance the costs and we only charge a fee as a percentage of the total recovery at the conclusion of the case. We have handled wrongful death cases related to car accidents, bus stop accidents, and shootings.
Washington’s general wrongful death statute allows for “statutory beneficiaries”, who are certain designated relatives, to recover damages. As one might expect, the deceased’s surviving spouse, registered domestic partner, and/or children or stepchildren are all statutory beneficiaries. If the decedent was single and without children, then surviving parents or siblings have authority to recover damages, but only if they were financially dependent on the decedent for support at the time of death.
The damages that are recoverable in a wrongful death case may vary based on how the circumstances of the case fit the different Washington statutes. Generally, survivors may recover medical bills for the care of the person, funeral expenses, loss of love and companionship, and future economic losses. There are special rules for children who have lost a parent, and a court approval process is required in the event of a settlement.
We are truly sorry that your family has suffered a great loss. We understand how difficult the loss of a loved one can be. We encourage you to seek a consultation with us. By turning over the legal issues to experienced attorneys, you have one less burden to deal with while going through the grieving process.