When someone you love has been killed in a car accident, the person or persons responsible should be held accountable for their actions. Fatal automobile accidents take from you and your family the people you love most. The loss is tragic, and the pain can be long-lasting.
In addition to the pain of your loss, you likely will endure financial difficulty as a result of another driver's negligence. Those responsible can be held to account through a wrongful death case. An experienced Washington wrongful death attorney can fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Wrongful Death Actions in Auto Accidents
Under Washington law, a wrongful death occurs "[w]hen the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another his or her personal representative may maintain an action for damages against the person causing the death."
A wrongful death action gives certain family members the legal right to file a claim against the wrongdoers in order to get financial compensation.
Who Is Allowed to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
By law, only certain individuals can file wrongful death claims in the State of Washington. These individuals, called beneficiaries, are certain family members of the deceased:
- The representative of the victim's estate
- Domestic partner
- Child or children (including stepchildren)
If none of these parties are present or exist, the victim's siblings or parents may file the wrongful death claim.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim
Certain elements must be proven to establish a wrongful death claim in Washington. The plaintiff (the individual bring the lawsuit) must prove:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim;
- The defendant's actions or failure to act constituted a breach of the duty;
- The defendant's breach of the duty directly contributed to the victim's death; and
- The death occurred during the incident in question.
Additionally, the plaintiff would have to prove that the defendant failed to drive in a safe and reasonable manner, and that the failure was the cause of the victim's death. This can be proven by showing:
- The defendant violated the law while driving
- The defendant was intoxicated (DUI)
- The defendant was driving while distracted (i.e. texting while driving)
- The defendant was speeding
- The defendant ran a red light or stop sign
- The defendant was driving without proper vehicle lights (headlights, rear brake lights).
These common causes of fatal vehicle accidents may be the basis for a wrongful death claim, but they are not the only ones. To prove each element, the help of an experienced Washington wrongful death attorney is crucial to getting you the financial compensation you deserve.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Damages in a wrongful death case are intended to compensate you for the financial loss associated with the death of your loved one, and may include:
- Burial expenses
- Funeral costs
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of support
- Loss of services
- Pain and suffering (of surviving family members)
- Other economic damages such as medical costs.
Consult a Clark County Wrongful Death Attorney
If someone you love has been the victim of another person's negligent or reckless driving, you are entitled to seek financial compensation for your losses.I represent clients in Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, and the rest of Clark County. Contact Quinn Posner today to schedule a free consultation.