Assisting Families with Wrongful Death Claims in Washington State
The death of a loved one is a tragic event no matter the circumstances. However, when a family member dies due to someone else’s carelessness or misconduct, you have the right to pursue compensation for your loss.
At Fuller & Fuller, we are more than just lawyers. We are a family, and we pride ourselves on providing experienced legal guidance and compassionate support in your family’s time of need.
Our wrongful death lawyers have extensive experience in cases involving fatalities due to negligent driving, reckless driving, and more. Contact Fuller & Fuller online or call (800) 570-4878 for an initial review of your case. We serve families in Olympia, Tacoma, and other communities in Washington.
Why Hire Fuller & Fuller for Your Wrongful Death Claim
When you lose a loved one, the last thing you are probably thinking about is hiring a lawyer. The initial shock is overwhelming, and the following days pass in a kind of haze as you deal with funeral arrangements and other considerations.
You will experience a range of emotions, from sadness to anger. These feelings may be heightened if the death of your loved one was unexpected, such as in a vehicle accident. When you are ready, you will probably want to talk to an attorney for legal guidance.
During your initial consultation at Fuller & Fuller, our lawyers will listen to your story. We will ask thoughtful questions, and we will provide you with support. Once we know the facts, our team will discuss your legal rights and options.
Examples of Wrongful Death Claims
Fuller & Fuller has extensive experience helping families with a wide range of wrongful death claims.
Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of death in Washington and throughout the country. Our wrongful death lawyers can assist you if your loved one died as a result of a:
- Car accident
- Truck accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Bicycle accident
- Pedestrian accident
- Texting/distracted driver
A variety of factors can result in a fatal vehicle accident. We will investigate to determine how the at-fault driver’s carelessness caused your loved one’s death, from excess speed to distracted driving or drunk driving.
Other Fatal Injury Cases
Auto accidents are not the only circumstances where negligence can cause someone’s death. Serious injuries in a slip and fall accident, for example, can prove fatal.
Slip and fall accidents are governed by premises liability law. Whether the landowner is responsible for the safe condition and maintenance of a property can be complicated, which is why it is crucial to contact a wrongful death lawyer if you suspect your loved one died due to unsafe conditions at a building or property.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case
When a loved one dies, the true value of your loss is incalculable. Although no settlement or jury award will be enough to ease your grief, compensation in a wrongful death claim can help you overcome the financial burdens that are associated with the unexpected death of a family member.
Surviving family members may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death claim for damages such as:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Expenses for burial or cremation
- Loss of support
- Loss of earnings
- Mental anguish
- The pain and suffering your loved one endured
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of parental care and guidance
Building Your Wrongful Death Case
At Fuller & Fuller, we have a family of attorneys working side-by-side on behalf of our clients. We understand the value of family, and we make it our goal to achieve fair compensation for the loss of your loved one.
Wrongful death claims are often complicated. Given the damages involved, insurance companies and other parties are more likely to dispute your case. As a result, diligent preparation is key to a successful outcome.
Our wrongful death lawyers will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death in order to prepare your case. We will examine police reports, collect information from insurance carriers, review medical records and doctor notes, interview witnesses, and more to establish the facts and identify the liable party or parties. We will also work with you and your loved ones about the financial and emotional impact you have suffered as a result of your family member’s passing.
Expert testimony is often necessary in auto accidents and other fatal injury cases. For instance, Fuller & Fuller can arrange for accident reconstructionists, medical experts, financial analysts, and other experts to review the evidence and, if necessary, provide testimony in support of your wrongful death claim.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death in Washington
Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
To bring a wrongful death claim in Washington state, you must be named as the personal representative in the decedent’s will. In addition to executing and administering the estate of the deceased, the personal representative can also initiate legal proceedings on behalf of surviving family members if the negligence of another party resulted in the decedent’s death.
If the decedent didn’t have a will in place when he or she died, the court will name an administrator to serve as the personal representative. Priority is given to family members in the selection of an administrator.
The law affords wide latitude to someone making a will (known legally as a testator) in naming a personal representative. One of the family members above is often named as the personal representative, but this isn’t always the case.
You will need to identify the personal representative and work with them closely in order to pursue compensation for the wrongful death of your loved one. Although multiple family members may be entitled to recovery of damages, only the personal representative can initiate the legal proceedings.
Who Is Entitled to Compensation for Wrongful Death?
Surviving family members who can be awarded compensation for wrongful death are known as beneficiaries.
What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim?
- The liable party or parties owed your loved one a duty of care. The duty owed depends on the circumstances of the accident or injury that resulted in death. For example, motorists have a duty to obey the rules of the road and exercise caution while driving. The owner of a property, meanwhile, has a duty to ensure that conditions on the premises are safe and that lawful visitors are sufficiently warned of potential dangers.
- The defendant(s) breached the duty through negligence. Again, the nature of the breach will depend on the type of accident. The decision to drink and drive, text and drive, and engage in other reckless behavior, for example, would all constitute a violation of duty on the part of a motorist.
- The negligence of the defendant(s) caused fatal injuries. You must present compelling evidence that the defendant’s negligence (or the negligence of multiple parties) directly led to your loved one’s death or injuries that ultimately resulted in his or her death.
- You and your family sustained damages as a result of your loved one’s death. Surviving relatives who are recognized beneficiaries under the statute must demonstrate that they suffered losses due to the untimely passing of a loved one. Damages may be economic (e.g., funeral and burial costs, loss of income, medical bills, etc.) and non-economic (e.g., loss of companionship) in nature.
Proving all of these elements is not easy. Common mistakes in a wrongful death claim include waiting to gather crucial evidence, failing to identify all of the liable parties, and miscalculating the damages you and your loved ones have sustained.
Hiring a wrongful death lawyer is the best way to overcome these challenges. Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC, has the experience, knowledge, and resources to handle your claim effectively. Our firm is led by attorney Marya Fuller, a specialist in accident and injury law who continues a legacy of high-quality and personalized legal service that has made us a trusted advocate for individuals and families in Washington state for more than 45 years.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death Claim?
The success of a wrongful death claim rests on the evidence. You must be able to prove who is at fault, how negligence led to the death of your loved one, and the damages you and your family have incurred as a result.
Our wrongful death attorneys will investigate thoroughly and promptly and collect evidence on your behalf. Each investigation is different, but in a typical case this might involve:
- Visiting the scene of the accident and taking photographs
- Interviewing eyewitnesses who saw the accident, and other witnesses and family members
- Obtaining paper and electronic records
- Expert inspection of the evidence – for example, our team can hire experts to reconstruct the accident if there is a dispute about the fac ts
- Collecting medical records and bills, the autopsy report, and the death certificate
- Examining financial statements showing the earnings, benefits, and other support you may have lost
These steps enable our team to gather evidence of negligence and wrongdoing, as well as the compensation you and your family are entitled to for the wrongful death of a loved one. Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC, will take action against liable parties on your behalf.
Do You Have A Wrongful Death Lawsuit? – Olympia
Wrongful death claims are complicated. Furthermore, surviving family members left reeling by the loss of a loved one are generally not prepared for the challenges of these cases.
Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC, is proud to serve those who have been hurt when they need help the most. This includes not only injured individuals but the relatives left behind when a family member tragically dies as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Reasons to hire our wrongful death lawyers include:
- Extensive knowledge of the applicable laws surrounding wrongful death litigation
- Decades of experience representing families with compassion and sensitivity
- The resources necessary to investigate wrongful death claims and hold those at fault responsible
- Commitment to pursuing maximum compensation on our clients’ behalf; families are often unaware of the full extent of damages that may be recoverable
- We forge personal connections with each client, as well as with their families
Generally, it is in your best interest to get started on a wrongful death claim as soon as possible. Delay could mean that you lose the opportunity to recover fair compensation, as well as the loss of critical evidence.
What Is a Survival Action, and How Is It Different from a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims seek compensation for the survivors of someone who dies due to the negligence of another. Survival actions, by contrast, are claims brought to recover damages that the deceased suffered prior to his or her death.
Recoverable losses in survival actions include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic damages that decedents suffer prior to succumbing to their injuries, if they did not die instantly. The estate may also be entitled to recovery of economic damages such as the cost of funeral services, burial or cremation, lost income, and medical treatment and hospice care prior to death.
Please note that the author believes that the above information was accurate at the time that it was written. The legislature or courts, however, may change the applicable law at any time.
Contact Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Olympia Today
At Fuller & Fuller, we know that grieving families need empathy and compassion. When you hire a lawyer from our firm, you will have a compassionate legal representative who draws on many years of our family’s experience in personal injury and wrongful death law.
Please call (800) 570-4878 or contact Fuller & Fuller online for a review of your case. Our wrongful death lawyers serve clients in Olympia and nearby areas of Washington state, including Tacoma, and other communities.