Wrongful Death Personal Injury Attorney

Yakima, Kennewick, Auburn, Tacoma and Seattle

Wrongful Death Attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Law

First of all, if you are researching attorneys for a wrongful death case, our deepest condolences go out to you. There is nothing more tragic than an unnecessary death caused by someone else’s negligence. Not only are you left with the void of a missing loved one, but often there is a substantial financial hardship associated with wrongful death claims. 

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While no amount of money awarded in a wrongful death suit will bring your loved one back to you, or even begin to compensate you for your loss, it can help ease the immediate financial burden of the costs associated with the death, as well as allow for some stability in the future.  Additionally, there is some peace of mind in knowing that justice was brought on behalf of your loved one.

Why Get a Wrongful Death Personal Injury Attorney?

Wrongful death claims allow those close to a deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death. Having an experienced personal injury attorney who is knowledgeable in handling wrongful death claims is very important. These claims require a substantial amount of evidence to prove the negligence of the at-fault party. This can include 911 calls, medical records and other important documentation. 

The job of a wrongful death lawyer can feel intrusive, especially during this sensitive time – making it very important to find a personal injury attorney that is understanding, empathetic, and experienced.  At Ritchie Reiersen Law, you will find our personal injury attorneys are passionate about seeking justice for those who have been hurt through no fault of their own. Call us today at (888) 884-7337 to learn more about what we can do for you.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The Statute of Limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit in Washington is typically three years from the date of the incident; however, that can depend upon a number of factors. Although each case can be different, it is always important to act quickly. We strongly recommend you consult with a wrongful death attorney prior to communicating with the insurance companies. Insurance companies often attempt to settle the case for a sum much smaller than it is worth – you deserve better than the bare minimum.

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The personal injury attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Law have experience working with wrongful death lawsuits. We have local attorneys who are compassionate and who are dedicated to helping you find the justice you seek. While compensation cannot bring your loved one back, it can help you face the future without financial worries that stem from your loss.

Call us today for a free consultation – (888) 884-7337. With offices in the Seattle/Tacoma area, Portland/Vancouver area, as well as Kennewick and Yakima, we can meet you where you are. The future may seem bleak at the moment – but you don’t have to face it alone. Call Ritchie Reiersen Law today to find out how we can help you. 

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Wrongful death claims occur any time a person is killed and it was caused by the negligence of someone else. If someone you love has been the victim of wrongful death, call Ritchie Reiersen Injury Attorneys to help guide you through this traumatic period and discover what you may be able to recover. The most common causes of wrongful death claims in Washington State are:

Car Accidents

Car and truck accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States and throughout the world. Having an experienced wrongful death attorney can significantly strengthen your case.

Semi-Truck Accidents

Semi-Trucks are substantially larger than other vehicles, often weighing hundreds of thousands of pounds. Collisions involving semi trucks typically result in devastating injuries.

Bicycle Accidents

Bicyclists are especially vulnerable to serious injury or death in the event of a collision given the lack of protection a bicycle provides.

Pedestrian Accidents

Like motorcyclists and bicyclists, pedestrian versus vehicle accidents are often fatal.

Drunk Driving Collisions

Alcohol-impaired drivers are a leading cause of wrongful death claims.

Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists, like bicyclists, are very vulnerable to injuries in a collision due to the lack of protection provided by the motorcycle.

Damages Recoverable in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A victim’s surviving family members have a legal right to recover damages when a person is killed as a result of negligent behavior. The most common damages available after a wrongful death occurs include:

Medical bills and Expenses

In wrongful death claims, ambulances and hospitals still expect the bills to be paid even if the victim dies. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can help the surviving family members get these bills paid.

Loss of Consortium

A spouse or child can be compensated for the damages they have suffered from the loss of companionship.

Lost Wages and Loss of Future Earnings

Family members may be able to recover damages for the financial support they have lost. This includes future financial support that they would have relied on had the victim not been killed.

Funeral Expenses

Funeral expenses can exceed tens of thousands of dollars. A wrongful death lawyer can help the family recover the funeral costs.

Pain and Suffering

If the victim did not pass away immediately, an experienced wrongful death attorney can help the family be compensated for the victim’s pain and suffering.

Call Ritchie Reiersen Law today to set up a free consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney.  We have offices in Tacoma, Auburn, Kennewick, Yakima, and Portland for your convenience. We can help you receive the compensation you deserve for the tragic loss you have experienced. There is no money required up front, and you don’t pay unless you win. Call us today and allow us the opportunity to support you through a difficult time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a wrongful death?

Wrongful death is a negligent action of one person that causes the death of another person. A wrongful death lawsuit is based on the premise that the person who died was mortally injured, but also their survivors are left with injuries as well – financial, emotional, and psychological. A wrongful death lawsuit aims to compensate the surviving family members for their loss.

What is the difference between wrongful death and medical malpractice?

Wrongful death suits can be brought against any negligent party who caused the death of another person. Medical malpractice suits can be filed against a medical practitioner for any inadequate medical procedures, including but not limited to action that resulted in the death of an individual. Not all medical malpractice cases are wrongful death cases; likewise, not all wrongful death cases include medical malpractice.

What is required for a successful wrongful death claim to be won?

In order to successfully argue your wrongful death claim, four key points will need to be proven:

  • Negligence – we will have to prove that the death was caused, in part or in whole, by the careless, reckless, or negligent actions of the defendant.
  • Breach of duty – we must prove that the defendant owed a duty to the victim. We will prove how the duty existed (ie motorist has a duty to avoid collisions and obey laws), and that this was breached as a result of their negligent actions.
  • Causation – we will have to prove that the breach of duty was a direct cause of the death of the victim.
  • Damages – the death of the victim will need to generate quantifiable damages. This can include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and loss of potential earnings.
What are some of the common causes of wrongful death?

There can be various causes of wrongful death, but the more common ones are listed below. Regardless of the type of case, all wrongful death cases require the four main elements to be proven in order to be successful.

  • Birth injuries
  • Medical malpractice
  • Motorcycle, semi-truck, or automobile accidents
  • Premises accidents
  • Abuse and neglect at nursing homes
Who can sue for wrongful death?

Wrongful death suits can be filed by a surviving spouse or domestic partner or children of the deceased. If there isn’t anyone in these particular roles, parents or siblings of the deceased may file a claim if they were dependent on them for support. Only one wrongful death claim can be filed, with damages to be split if there are multiple parties to the claim (depending on circumstances).

How is the amount of damages determined in a wrongful death suit?

Determining damages in a wrongful death lawsuit is a complicated process. It begins with the medical and funeral expenses from the injury and death, and can also include:

  • The loss of wages the person would have earned, had they lived.
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased from the time of the accident until the time of death.
  • Compensation to family members for loss of companionship.
Can a wrongful death judgment be discharged in bankruptcy?

This is a grey area of the law, unfortunately. Bankruptcy laws do permit the discharge of negligence damages, such as in a case of accidental death. However, some bankruptcy courts do make the damages resulting from negligence non-dischargeable – typically in cases or reckless endangerment or gross negligence. Note that damages from a DUI cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

How much will a wrongful death attorney charge me?

Wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. Their fees will depend on whether or not your wrongful death lawsuit is won. When you win and are awarded damages, your attorney will receive a portion of that award to compensate them for their time and the expenses they fronted for your case. If you don’t win your lawsuit, you don’t owe them any fees.

The wrongful death attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Law have many years of successful experience and have helped our clients recover over $25 million in damages. We have the passion it takes to protect your rights and help you receive the compensation you deserve. The unexpected loss of a loved one is a devastating road to walk down – but you don’t have to do it alone.

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Figuring out the best course of action after a death of a loved one can be intimidating. Without taking the correct steps to protect your rights, you could miss out on a significant sum of money. Our attorneys will go the extra mile to secure the maximum compensation you deserve. To discuss the specifics of your case during a free consultation, get in touch with our office.