If your loved one passed away due to the actions of another person, then you should speak with the Vancouver WA wrongful death lawyers at The Law Offices of Loren S. Etengoff. We understand that you may have no idea where to turn after the death of a loved one. However, you don’t have to deal with this situation alone. We can help you manage the legal issues while you focus on moving forward with life.
Few times in life are as devastating as the death of a loved one. The only circumstance that can make it worse is knowing that it did not have to happen. If the negligence of another was the cause of that death, you need to explore your legal options and remedies with Vancouver wrongful death lawyers.
What Is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is one that occurs due to the wrongful actions or inaction of another person. According to Washington law, a wrongful death may be caused by a person’s:
- Wrongful acts;
- Negligence; or
- Failure to act or omission.
When a death is wrongful, you may make a claim or file a lawsuit. A wrongful death claim is a legal action that you bring when someone’s death has been caused by another person and that person is legally liable for damages, or losses, that occur as a result. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit, however, criminal lawsuits may be connected as well if the person who caused the death did something illegal. The outcome of the criminal case does not necessarily impact the civil case.
Our Vancouver WA wrongful death lawyers can review your case and help you understand if your loved one passed away due to the actions of another person. It can be difficult to know what you need to prove in order to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It’s best to work with an attorney who can walk you through the process.
Who May Bring a Wrongful Death Action?
A wrongful death is different than other personal injury claims because the actual victim, the decedent, is not bringing the suit. Generally, Vancouver WA wrongful death attorneys may bring a wrongful death action on behalf of the:
- Personal representative acting on behalf of the decedent’s estate
- Spouse of the decedent
- Children or step-children of the decedent
- Registered domestic partner of the decedent
If the decedent died without a spouse or children, the parents or siblings may bring a claim if they were dependent on the decedent for financial support.
Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
The damages that Vancouver WA wrongful death lawyers can recover depend on which party is bringing the suit. Among the damages recoverable are:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Final medical bills
- Lost wages and income projected for the life of the decedent
- Loss of care and companionship
- Pain and suffering
You may be able to recover compensation for all of your losses. However, you will have to prove those losses. Your losses may be economic or non-economic. Economic losses are those that are directly associated with monetary loss, such as lost wages and medical bills. It is easy to prove these losses with paper receipts and bills of cost. However, non-economic damages are more difficult to prove. They involve pain, suffering, mental anguish, and other losses that are not directly related to a monetary amount. That does not mean, though, that a monetary value cannot be placed on those losses. By working with skilled Vancouver WA wrongful death lawyers, you can show that you have incurred an array of losses for which you deserve compensation.
We understand that no amount of money will replace your loved one. However, a monetary recovery can help you cover some of the expenses that you incur as a result of the wrongful actions of the person who caused the death of your loved one. The money you obtain can help you move forward with life when you may be unsure of what to do next.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Case?
A statute of limitations is an amount of time within which you must file a lawsuit. This deadline is important to follow, otherwise you may not be able to assert your claim. A lawsuit for wrongful death must be filed within three years of the date the decedent died otherwise it will not be heard by the court.
It can take a significant amount of time to investigate a wrongful death case and gather enough evidence to file a lawsuit. Negotiations with insurance companies or large corporations can also take time. Thus, it’s important that you contact Vancouver WA wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the lower the chance that you will be able to recover compensation.
Criminal Charges in Wrongful Death Claims
In some circumstances a criminal charge will be filed as a result of the same incident that led to the wrongful death claim. This is brought by the state of Washington and is separate and independent of the civil case. However, no compensation is available to the estate or family if a criminal conviction results. More importantly, despite the timeline of the criminal case, the wrongful death statute of limitations remains unchanged.
You may be able to use some of the evidence from a criminal trial in your wrongful death civil lawsuit. The police will conduct an investigation and gather evidence against the person who acted wrongfully or illegally. You may use that information to help prove that the person caused the death of your loved one in a wrongful manner and should pay damages as a result.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Our Vancouver WA wrongful death lawyers have helped clients dealing with an array of wrongful death cases. However, common ones that we see include the following:
- Car Accidents – Fatal car accidents are devastating and can result in serious losses. Insurance companies usually handle these claims, but they can be very difficult to work with. Don’t talk to an insurance company until you consult Vancouver WA wrongful death lawyers.
- Truck Accidents – Because of their size, large commercial trucks can easily cause a fatal accident. These wrecks can be devastating and difficult to investigate. Insurance companies quickly cover up the evidence. Call an attorney right away to get started.
- Motorcycle Accidents – Motorcycles often travel at high rates of speed, and fatal accidents are common when these vehicles wreck. Motorcycles may have unique evidence, such as dash cam footage or protective gear that needs to be reviewed.
- Pedestrian Accidents – When a motor vehicle driver acts negligently and hits a pedestrian, devastating consequences occur. Pedestrians who experience fatal injuries may also have significant medical bills and other losses that should be covered by the person who caused the accident.
- Bike Accidents – Bicycles offer very little protection to riders, so fatal accidents are common. If your loved one was killed while riding a bike, you should contact Vancouver WA wrongful death lawyers right away.
- DUI Accidents – A driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol is clearly acting wrongfully. When they cause an accident that results in fatal injuries, a wrongful death lawsuit will naturally occur. Call an attorney to help you initiate a claim.
- Construction Site Accidents – Because of the large equipment on construction sites, people must be careful. However, defects in the dangerous machines or negligent actions by workers can easily cause a wrongful death.
What Damages Can Be Collected in a Case?
Contact Vancouver Wrongful Death Lawyers for Legal Advice
No amount of money will bring back your loved one, but justice demands some remedy. If you have lost someone through the negligence of another, call the Law Offices of Loren S. Etengoff at (360) 693-2919.