Who Is Entitled to Wrongful Death Benefits?

Accident attorney

If your loved one died due to someone’s negligence or intentional act, you may wonder who is entitled to wrongful death benefits. Immediate family members may be able to receive compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. It won’t fully make up for your loss, but the recovery can help you move on with your life. These lawsuits can also hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.

The wrongful death attorneys at Strong Law understand the stress and pain you’re going through. You may have lost a family member without warning. Now there’s a huge gap in your life. We can help you get through this terrible time in your life. We treat our clients with compassion while relentlessly pursuing responsible parties.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Under Washington State law, this lawsuit can be filed when a death is caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another. You would need to prove that the person causing the death negligently or intentionally harmed the victim.

After someone passes away, an estate is created through the local Superior Court. This is a legal entity created to handle the debts and assets of the deceased. A personal representative is named by the court to be responsible for the estate. One of the person’s jobs is to represent the estate in legal actions, including a wrongful death lawsuit. It’s this personal representative who files the wrongful death lawsuit, not family members.

The lawsuit can recover economic and non-economic damages, such as money spent on final expenses and the loss of income that would have been provided by the deceased. Family members can receive compensation for the loss of the relationship.

If the victim filed a personal injury lawsuit before their death against the party who caused their injuries, that legal action could continue after he or she passed away. This is known as a survival action.

Are Wrongful Death Cases Limited by the Cause of Death?

As long as a negligent or intentional act caused the death, there may be a basis for a wrongful death case. If the person was killed while on the job, there could be a workers’ compensation claim. If someone other than the employer was also at fault, there may be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against them.

Wrongful death cases include situations where the person’s death happens at the time of the accident or shortly after. They can also cover injuries that caused the victim to die prematurely, months or years after the accident or intentional act.

Wrongful death cases include:

  • Vehicle accidents: The victim may have been hit by a car or truck. If the person died in a single-vehicle crash, the cause could be that another driver caused the deceased to swerve out of the way or off the road, leading to a deadly collision with an object. A defective part, negligent repair or shoddy maintenance also may have caused a crash.
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents: Victims are often struck by motor vehicles or forced off the road, causing fatal injuries.
  • Premises Liability Accidents: The victim could slip and fall or be struck by an object. There may be a cause of action against a property owner if they failed to take action to prevent crimes on the property and the deceased was a crime victim.
  • Medical Malpractice: A medical professional’s negligence caused the person’s premature death. This could be due to a missed diagnosis, the wrong diagnosis, surgical or medication errors. Hospitals or medical practices could be defendants if they knew an employee was not treating patients properly but allowed it to continue. If it leads to a death, a pharmacy which provided the wrong medication or the wrong dose could be liable.
  • Drowning or Boating Accidents: Unsupervised children may drown in a swimming pool. Someone piloting a boat negligently by going too fast, not following safety rules, or while intoxicated and causing a death might be sued.

Who Gets Wrongful Death Benefits?

State law limits who can benefit from a wrongful death claim. The deceased’s spouse, state-registered domestic partner, child, or stepchild can receive damages. If no such person is alive, then a parent or sibling would receive the proceeds of a settlement or verdict. Wrongful death benefits go to the same people who would benefit from a survival action. If you don’t have one of these relationships with the deceased, you won’t benefit from a case.

Wrongful Death Attorneys You Can Trust

No matter how or why your loved one died, you can benefit from the knowledge and experience of our wrongful death lawyers in Tacoma. After we’re retained, we will investigate what happened, gather critical evidence, and establish what caused your loved one’s death and who is responsible.

Our attorneys can make a critical difference during this difficult time in your life. We will deal with insurance companies and pursue litigation while you focus on getting your life back together. Strong Law will work hard to get you the compensation and closure you deserve.

Strong Law has offices in Tacoma, Portland and Salt Lake City. If you want to learn more about the law or move forward with your wrongful death case in Tacoma, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Strong Law. Our wrongful death lawyers can get you pointed in the right direction during your free consultation. Call 206-741-1053 today.