Wrongful Death Lawsuits of Vancouver

Have You Lost a Loved One Due to Someone Else’s Negligence in Vancouver?

Wrongful death lawsuits provide a legal avenue to seek accountability and justice for your family during a difficult time. Let’s explore what wrongful death entails, including the legal considerations and other aspects related to wrongful death lawsuits in Vancouver.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death occurs when the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of another party cause a person’s death. This legal concept allows surviving family members or beneficiaries to seek fair compensation for their financial losses, including emotional suffering, loss of financial support, and funeral expenses.

To establish a wrongful death claim, it must be proven that the responsible party owed a duty of care to the deceased, breached that duty through their actions or negligence, and directly caused the death. Some common examples of wrongful death actions include:

  • Criminal Activities: Wrongful death may result from someone else’s intentional actions, such as murder or manslaughter.
  • Medical Malpractice: Death resulting from medical malpractice may occur when a healthcare professional fails to provide the necessary standard of care or makes a preventable error that leads to a patient’s death.
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: Death from motor vehicle accidents occurs when a negligent driver causes fatal accidents like car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, or pedestrian accidents due to reckless driving, drunk driving, distracted driving, or other violations of traffic laws.
  • Product Liability: A defective product, such as faulty automobile parts, pharmaceutical drugs, or unsafe consumer products, may cause someone’s death.
  • Workplace Accidents: Workplace accidents occur when an employee dies due to negligence or violation of safety regulations by the employer or co-workers; for example, construction accidents, retail industry fatalities, etc.
What is Wrongful Death?

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and Who Can File in Vancouver?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal claim filed against a party whose negligent or intentional actions have caused the death of another person. In Vancouver, Washington, specific individuals are eligible to file a death lawsuit when the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of a negligent party causes a loved one’s death.

“The eligible beneficiaries can be categorized into two tiers:”

The first tier of eligible beneficiaries includes the surviving spouse, children, state-registered domestic partner, or stepchildren of the deceased. [1] For this tier to recover damages, they must demonstrate that they have suffered both emotional and financial harm due to the wrongful death. It can include loss of companionship, loss of financial support, and the emotional pain and suffering caused by the death.

The second tier of eligible beneficiaries consists of the parents of the deceased. [1] For this tier to recover damages, they must show that they were dependent on the deceased for financial support, such as being elderly or disabled, and that they have suffered emotional distress due to the loss of their child.

Damages Awarded in Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Vancouver, Washington

Monetary damages that can be awarded in death cases vary depending on the circumstances and the extent of the damages suffered. These may include financial compensation for the following:

  • Economic Damages: Compensation for financial damages incurred due to the death, such as medical expenses, funeral costs, burial expenses, and loss of financial support.
  • Non-Economic Damages: Compensation for intangible losses, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship or consortium.
  • Punitive Damages: In some instances involving egregious misconduct or recklessness, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the at-fault party and deter similar behavior in the future.
  • Loss of Future Income: Compensation for the income the deceased would have reasonably earned over their lifetime had they not died prematurely.
  • Property Damages: Reimbursement for any property damage resulting from the incident that led to the wrongful death.
Damages Awarded in Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Vancouver, Washington

Statute of Limitations for Filing Wrongful Death Claim in Vancouver, Washington

The Statute of Limitations determines the timeframe within which beneficiaries must initiate legal proceedings after the death of a loved one due to the negligence or intentional harm caused by another party.

The wrongful death statute in Vancouver, Washington, is three years, which means that a legal claim must be initiated within three years of the death to preserve the right to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. [2] However, it can vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. 

Contact Goldberg & Loren, a trusted law firm in Vancouver, Washington, to take the proper legal action in your loved one’s death due to negligence of another party.

FAQs

A death civil lawsuit is a legal claim brought against an individual, company, or entity whose negligent, reckless, or intentional actions caused the death of another person.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit). The plaintiff must establish that the defendant's wrongful actions or omissions directly caused the death and that the damages claimed are justified.

In Vancouver, Washington, the time limit for filing a death claim is three years from the date of the deceased person's death. However, certain factors may affect the deadline, therefore,  consult with a wrongful death lawyer to understand the specific time limitations in your case.

Sources:

[1] RCW 4.20.020: Wrongful death—Beneficiaries of action. (n.d.). https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=4.20.020

[2] RCW 4.16.080: Actions limited to three years. (n.d.). https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=4.16.080

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