If your loved one was killed in a drunk driving accident or other type of fatal injury that was caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness, Washington law affords some people the right to file a claim against the responsible party in order to recover your damages resulting from your loved one’s death. You will want to discuss your case with a qualified wrongful death attorney to ensure you bring your claim correctly and maximize chances for recovery.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in Washington?
In most cases, the surviving spouse will enlist the help of an attorney to help bring a wrongful death claim. Sometimes the claim is brought by a surviving minor child. Any settlement monies derived from the claim will be for the benefit of the deceased’s survivors. The beneficiaries of these claims can include the surviving spouse or state-registered domestic partner, and children.
According to RCW 4.20.020, if none of the aforementioned parties exist, then the settlement may be dispersed to parents or siblings of the deceased, but only if they were “dependent upon the deceased person for support, and who are resident within the United States at the time of his or her death.”
Two Things You Must Prove
In order to prove a wrongful death claim, you and your attorney will need to prove two elements.
- #1: Negligence – The basis of all wrongful death claims is fault, or negligence. You must be able to show that the willful or negligent acts of another caused your loved one’s death. Driving while intoxicated is considered negligence, as are texting while driving, speeding and failing to pay attention. If the accident was caused by poorly designed or managed roadways, the government body that oversees the roads may be responsible. In drunk driving cases, if a bartender served that person too much to drink, the bar may be considered liable for the accident. There are a lot of potentially liable parties; your lawyer can advise you accordingly.
- #2: Damages – Next, you must show that you sustained actual monetary loss as a result of your loved one’s death. If you and your children relied on the deceased spouse’s earnings and benefits, for instance, that’s viable cause for filing a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death attorney can help gather evidence in order to substantiate your claim.
Types of Compensable Damages for Wrongful Death Claims
There are numerous types of damages that may be compensable in a wrongful death claim, some of which are listed below.
- Ambulance, hospital and other medical bills
- Lost income
- Loss of services and support
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of guidance and counsel
- Loss of consortium (spouse) or destruction of the parent-child relationship
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering the deceased person experienced as a result of the injury and death
It takes a substantial amount of calculation and insight in order to evaluate the value of claims accurately. We encourage you to call our wrongful death attorneys at Deno Millikan Law Firm, PLLC for help. We utilize top-notch experts such as forensic economists to help determine our clients’ total current and future losses. We take future lost income, future loss of promotion and loss of future benefits into account in order to paint a very clear and detailed picture of how great your loss is. This way, you can be awarded damages accordingly.
Speak to a Wrongful Death Drunk Driving Attorney for FREE
Our firm is passionate about helping hurting families pursue closure after having lost loved ones in drunk driving or other types of fatal injuries. We can walk you through each step of the wrongful death claims process and take diligent care of the legal issues so that you and your family can focus on your grief and healing process.
Contact Deno Millikan Law Firm, PLLC in Washington today at 425-259-2222 for a free consultation.