An Attorney Offering Experienced And Compassionate Wrongful Death Representation
No amount of money can replace what is lost when a loved one dies. But a sudden and unexpected death nonetheless comes with real financial burdens – funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, a loss of lifetime earnings and more. These costs need to be paid, and surviving family members deserve compensation.
If your loved one’s death was preventable and caused by someone else’s negligence, contact Doug Cloud Law to learn how I can help. I have dedicated most of my career to fighting for the wrongfully injured and the families of those who have suffered wrongful death. I will work just as hard for you.
The Basics Of Wrongful Death Litigation In Washington State
The simplest way to conceive of a wrongful death claim is as the continuation of a personal injury matter. The differences between the two are the degree of harm that the victim suffers and who serves as the plaintiff.
Any negligence-related scenario that would qualify for a personal injury claim (if the victim had lived) could be the basis of a wrongful death claim. This includes car accidents, defective products, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and neglect and more. Claims can also stem from intentional acts of violence like assault or even police misconduct and brutality.
In personal injury cases, the victim serves as the plaintiff. Because they obviously cannot do so in a wrongful death matter, a surrogate must take their place. In Washington, the only person with legal standing to bring a claim is the personal representative of the deceased victim’s estate. The claim is brought on behalf of the victim’s surviving family members.
Numerous Parties May Be To Blame For Your Loved One’s Death
There is a fine line between an accident that results in catastrophic injury and one that ends in death, and the circumstances are often the same. These incidents are often the result of a chain of circumstances and the negligent actions of more than one party. Consider the following two examples:
Motor vehicle accidents: A vehicle collision can be caused by an unsafe vehicle design or a manufacturer error. It can be caused by inept maintenance by a car repair firm. It can be caused by the joint negligence of several drivers. An auto accident can also be caused by an unsafe highway design or improper maintenance of the streets and highways by states, cities and counties, as well as the negligence of both the injured party and the other party or parties to a collision.
Injuries or deaths caused by dangerous and defective products: Product manufacturers are the obvious place to start an investigation. Typically, injuries to consumers are caused by faulty product design or problems with the manufacturing process. Others in the supply chain may also be liable, however. An otherwise safe product can be damaged in the possession of a retailer who sells the product to the unwitting. A failure of a product manufacturer and retailer to warn a consumer of known or foreseeable dangers inherent in the design of a product can also lead to catastrophic injury or death.
It can be difficult and time-consuming to investigate the combined negligence of several parties or entities. It requires forensic and logical evaluation by the lawyer with the assistance of forensic experts in multiple fields. But it also requires a lawyer who can figure out the likely cause of an injury when multiple causes may have made the injury inevitable. This is the kind of investigative work I do, backed by more than four decades of legal experience.
Considerations And Complexities In Wrongful Death Claims
When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, it can be difficult to even contemplate legal action. You may already be overwhelmed with practical matters like probate and estate administration, which are often necessary first steps in appointing an estate representative (if your loved one died without a will).
Unfortunately, you cannot afford to wait too long before taking legal action. The statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits in Washington is just three years from the date of death. To maximize your legal options, it’s a good idea to consult with a skilled attorney as soon as reasonably possible. Throughout my career, I have been honored to represent grieving families as they attempt to seek some measure of justice and compensation following a loved one’s death.
I will do everything I can to support you during this difficult time, and I will work closely with both estate representatives and family members to keep everyone informed and up to date on the progress of the case.