When a loved one passes away due to a wrongful death, it causes tremendous shock and pain. In the aftermath of these tragedies, it may be confusing to decide how to move forward. This is where Herrmann Law Group steps in—to help you legally navigate the next steps.
In order to prove wrongful death in Washington State, several criteria must be met before a lawsuit can proceed:
- Whomever you are suing for wrongful death had a duty of care. A duty of care is a legal obligation, which is imposed on an individual requiring a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others. This means anticipating risks and going to the appropriate lengths to prevent harm. For example: a doctor, airline or anyone who had a legal responsibility to take care so as to not injure or harm another human being due to negligence.
- Duty of care must have been breached and lead to the death of your loved one. This is usually caused by negligence of the other party. For example, the doctor could have negligently performed an action that caused the premature death of your loved one. Or the airline could have negligently forgotten to perform maintenance on the plane. Or the driver who hit your loved one was intoxicated and breached the duty of care he/she had when they stepped behind the wheel of the automobile.
- Surviving family members or loved ones suffered damages. It must be possible to prove that you or your family members suffered damages due to the wrongful death of your loved one. For example, the hospital bills could be in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Funeral costs and loss of wages are also valid reasons for a wrongful death suit.
Are you wondering if you should pursue a wrongful death lawsuit? With our expertise, we can help you come to the right conclusion.
What is the time limit for filing a wrongful death suit in Washington State?
If you wish to file a lawsuit for wrongful death, it must be filed within three years of an event occurring in the state of Washington. This is called the statute of limitations and if you attempt to file a lawsuit after the three-year mark, the court will likely refuse to hear the suit.
Who can file a wrongful death suit?
When filing a wrongful death suit, keep in mind that you are bringing it on behalf of the deceased person. The law also only allows certain people to bring a wrongful death suit. We can tell you whether or not you qualify to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased individual.
Wrongful death suits are civil, not criminal lawsuits. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW 4.20.010) states that a wrongful death suit may be brought about at the same time a case is being tried in a criminal court of law. If the prosecutor is trying the other person (who caused the wrongful death of your loved one) criminally, you can still file a civil suit. Herrmann Law can advise you on the best timing for filing such suit.
If you feel that your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death, contact one of our qualified attorneys immediately. We have sixty years of experience helping victims and the families of victims seek justice for wrongful death in a court of law. Please contact us with any questions.