Whenever someone passes away prematurely because of injuries sustained in an accident, surviving loved ones often must grapple with significant financial hardship in addition to immense emotional and psychological trauma. Dealing with these losses while also trying to grieve a family member is something no one should have to go through, and it can become especially challenging if you know someone else’s misconduct is directly to blame for your loss.
In a sensitive situation like this, assistance from a Moses Lake wrongful death lawyer could prove vital to protecting your entire family’s financial security and future prospects. While financial recovery cannot completely erase the pain you and your loved ones feel, a personal injury attorney could still help ensure that financial and practical losses do not add to your heartache and stress.
How State Law Governs Wrongful Death Claims
If someone suffers fatal injuries as a direct consequence of another person’s negligent actions, the personal injury claim they could have pursued if they had survived the incident can serve as grounds for a wrongful death claimed filed in their name. As per Revised Code of Washington §4.20.010, the right to initiate this kind of legal action lies exclusively with the decedent’s estate representative. This is generally someone named in the decedent’s estate planning documents but may alternatively be nominated by a court if such documents do not exist.
This representative may pursue compensation through wrongful death litigation on behalf of various eligible beneficiaries of the decedent. As per R.C.W. §4.20.020, when it comes to eligibility for this type of recovery, the first priority falls to either the decedent’s:
- Spouse or state-registered domestic partner
If none of these individuals survive to benefit from a claim, the estate representative may recover on behalf of the decedent’s surviving siblings and/or parents.
Importantly, the three-year filing deadline established under R.C.W. §4.16.080 applies to wrongful death claims just as it does to other personal injury claims, with the applicable filing period beginning on the decedent’s date of death. A Moses Lake wrongful death attorney could explain all these rules in more detail and provide crucial assistance navigating around them when pursuing a claim.
What Damages Could Be Recoverable?
Eligible beneficiaries of a deceased individual may recover for both economic and non-economic effects of their family member’s wrongful death, including:
- Funeral and burial/cremation expenses
- Lost future financial support
- Any outstanding medical bills paid on the decedent’s behalf
- Lost household services
- Lost love, companionship, guidance, and care
- Lost consortium with a spouse
If someone else’s misconduct results in the wrongful death of a minor child, their parents may recover for certain other types of damages, including:
- Healthcare expenses for their child prior to their death
- Lost emotional support and companionship
- Lost future financial support and/or household services
- Destruction of the relationship between child and parent
A wrongful death lawyer in Moses Lake could explain what losses might be compensable in a particular situation during a private initial meeting.
A Moses Lake Wrongful Death Attorney Could Help
Pursuing monetary damages following a wrongful death is never a simple process, either procedurally or emotionally. Having guidance and support from compassionate legal counsel can often make a huge difference when it comes to effectively pursuing a case resolution that meets your family’s needs.
A conversation with a Moses Lake wrongful death lawyer could offer clarity about your rights and what course of action might best suit your unique circumstances. Call today to set up a consultation.