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Seattle wrongful death lawyers

Seattle Wrongful Death Attorneys

Experienced lawyers helping families throughout the greater Seattle area

Few losses are as difficult as the loss of a loved one. When that loss was preventable, or resulted from an act of negligence, it can be even more devastating. Our Seattle wrongful death lawyers will stand with you and fight to hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions, and to get justice for your loved one. At Smith McBroom, we focus on your case so you are free to focus on your family.

Free Case Evaluation

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call 206-677-5941 now or fill out the form above to receive a free, confidential consultation.

What is wrongful death?

In Washington State, wrongful death is when someone dies because of another person's wrongful act, neglect, or other action. This can include intentional actions or negligence. For example, a driver who kills someone in a car accident or a property owner who doesn't fix a walkway that causes someone to fall are both considered wrongful deaths.

To win a wrongful death lawsuit, a claimant must prove that it's more likely than not that the death was wrongful. This is called the “preponderance of the evidence.”

Who may make a wrongful death claim in Seattle?

Here in Washington, usually the personal representative (also called the executor) of the deceased person’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim. If the deceased has a will, they will most likely have named the personal representative there. However, if there is no will or personal representative available, the court can appoint someone. It’s important to note that while a personal representative can file the lawsuit, any damages awarded go to the deceased’s survivor. This can include a spouse, children, or parents of the deceased.

Wrongful death of a child

Although the personal representative generally files a lawsuit, Washington State law allows the parents or guardians of a child to bring a wrongful death claim, as long as the child has no surviving spouse, children, or domestic partner.

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Per Washington State statute RCW 4.24.010

(2) In addition to recovering damages for the child's health care expenses, loss of the child's services, loss of the child's financial support, and other economic losses, damages may be also recovered under this section for the loss of love and companionship of the child, loss of the child's emotional support, and for injury to or destruction of the parent-child relationship, in such amounts as determined by a trier of fact to be just under all the circumstances of the case.

(3) An action may be maintained by a parent or legal guardian under this section, regardless of whether or not the child has attained the age of majority, only if the child has no spouse, state registered domestic partner, or children.

What types of accidents lead to wrongful death?

Various types of accidents and incidents can lead to wrongful death claims. Some common examples include:

  • Car accidents. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of wrongful death. Negligent or reckless driving, drunk driving, and distracted driving can all contribute to fatal crashes.
  • Medical malpractice. Errors made by healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, or hospitals, can lead to wrongful death. This may include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication mistakes, or failure to provide proper care.
  • Nursing home neglect or abuse. Acts of nursing home neglect or abuse by staff members, volunteers, or visitors can put vulnerable adults at risk. This includes medication errors, failure to monitor residents, or other acts of negligence.
  • Workplace accidents. Fatalities can occur in the workplace due to unsafe conditions, lack of proper safety measures, or employer negligence. This includes construction accidents, industrial accidents, and other work-related incidents.
  • Defective products. If a product is defective and causes a person's death, the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer may be held responsible. This can include defective vehicles, pharmaceuticals, or other consumer products.
  • Premises liability. Property owners can be held liable if someone dies because of unsafe conditions on their premises. This might include slip and fall accidents, inadequate security leading to criminal activity, or other hazards.
  • Dangerous drugs. Pharmaceutical companies can face wrongful death claims if their drugs have dangerous side effects that lead to death and they fail to adequately warn about these risks.
  • Intentional acts. Wrongful death can also result from intentional acts, such as assault, homicide, or other criminal activities. In such cases, both criminal and civil charges may be pursued.

Note that the specific circumstances surrounding each case vary. If you believe that a loved one's death resulted from someone else's wrongful actions or negligence, consult with the wrongful death lawyers at Smith McBroom to understand your legal options and pursue a potential wrongful death claim.

Who is liable for my wrongful death claim?

Determining liability in a wrongful death claim involves assessing the incident's specific circumstances. The liable party or parties depend on the nature of the incident that led to the wrongful death. Here are some common scenarios:

  • Individual perpetrators. If the death resulted from a criminal act, such as assault, the perpetrator may be held criminally and civilly liable. Sometimes, third parties such as property owners or businesses may be held responsible if they failed to provide adequate security.
  • Drivers or other involved parties. If the death occurred in a car accident, the liable party could be a negligent or reckless driver. Sometimes, if a defective vehicle or part contributed to the accident, the manufacturer may also be held responsible.
  • Medical professionals. If the death resulted from medical negligence, the healthcare professional(s) involved, such as doctors, nurses, or hospitals, may be held liable. This can include cases of misdiagnosis, surgical errors, or medication mistakes.
  • Long-term care administrators. If a resident dies because of abuse, neglect, or negligence, the facility managers and operators may be liable. This includes owners/operators and staff at nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and more.
  • Property owners. If the death resulted from unsafe conditions on someone else's property, the property owner or occupier may be held liable. This includes cases of slip and fall accidents, inadequate security, or other hazards on the premises.
  • Employers. If the death occurred at the workplace, liability may fall on the employer if the incident resulted from unsafe working conditions, inadequate training, or employer negligence. Workers' compensation laws may also apply.
  • Manufacturers and distributors. If a defective product caused the death, the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of that product may be held liable. This can include defective medical devices, machinery, or other patient and consumer goods.
  • Pharmaceutical companies. If a person dies due to a dangerous drug with inadequate warnings or testing, the pharmaceutical company may be held liable for wrongful death.

What compensation am I entitled to for a wrongful death claim in Seattle?

Compensation for a wrongful death claim in Seattle and throughout Washington can vary based on the specific circumstances of the case and applicable laws. Generally, wrongful death compensation is intended to provide financial relief to the surviving family members who have suffered losses due to the death of their loved one. The types of compensation that may be available include the following.

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Economic damages. These damages are verifiable monetary losses.

  • Medical expenses. If there were medical expenses related to the injury or illness leading to the wrongful death, the family may be entitled to reimbursement.
  • Funeral and burial costs. The costs associated with the funeral and burial arrangements are often recoverable.

Non-economic damages. These damages are subjective, nonmonetary losses, for which the jury will value the loss.

  • Loss of consortium. This includes the loss of companionship, care, and guidance that the deceased would have provided to their family.
  • Pain and suffering. Compensation for the emotional pain and suffering experienced by the surviving family members.
  • Loss of income and support. If the deceased was the primary breadwinner, the family may be entitled to compensation for the financial support they would have received.

Where can I find a Seattle-area wrongful death attorney near me?

Smith McBroom is located at 16400 Southcenter Parkway, Suite #210, Seattle, Washington, 98188. We are conveniently located right off I-5 and I-405 near the Southcenter Mall. There is a bus stop near our office, and we offer free on-site parking.

Wrongful death attorneys serving the Seattle area and beyond

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence or intentional actions, you have the option to seek justice and fair compensation for your family's suffering. A Seattle wrongful death attorney from Smith McBroom can be your advocate during this difficult time, helping you navigate the legal process and pursue the compensation you deserve. Don't wait. If you believe your loved one's death was wrongful, contact our compassionate lawyers as soon as possible. We'll assess your case, explain your options, and work tirelessly to seek the justice and compensation your family deserves. To schedule a meeting with one of our experienced lawyers, call our offices or fill out our contact form today.