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How Your Attorney Values a Wrongful Death Case

Life is precious and priceless. It is not really possible to put a dollar value on a human life. However, the only way our legal system can compensate us when we lose a loved one is financially. And so, if someone is killed in a car crash due to the reckless or careless behavior of another person, all we can do is try to set a financial value to provide some form of compensation for that terrible loss.

Who Can Sue in a Seattle Wrongful Death Case?

To begin with, we first need to determine whether the family members who lost a loved one are legally allowed to sue under the law. In Washington State, there are groups of people who can sue based on their familial relationship. Those people are:

  • Spouses and Domestic Partners
  • Children

If there is no spouse/domestic partner or child, then the next family members who have the legal right to sue are:

  • Parents
  • Siblings

The Value of the Case

It is perhaps better to ask how Seattle wrongful death lawyers value a case as opposed to how we value a life. There is no way to truly value the loss of a loved one. However, the law allows for those who are eligible to recover for both financial and emotional losses that occur when a close family member dies.

Losses

In valuing your case, your attorney will look at various types of damages. These include:

  • Lost Earnings – The amount of money the deceased would have likely earned, over their lifetime.
  • Medical Expenses – Any costs related to medical care of the victim due to the crash.
  • Physical Damage to Property – This includes the victim’s car, property in the car, and any other physical property that was damaged.
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses – Even a simple burial can be expensive, and these damages are recoverable
  • Loss of Consortium – Family members and loved ones can suffer non-economic loss, which is the emotional pain and suffering of no longer having their loved one with them.

Additional Factors

In addition to the types of damages potentially available to you and your family, your attorney will look at several factors to help reach a potential value for your case. These include:

Negligent party’s insurance – In car crashes, normally it is the insurance companies that pay any settlements or verdicts. Your lawyer will first look at how much insurance the driver who caused the accident had. Then your lawyer will look and see if your loved one had Underinsured motorist insurance. Underinsured motorist pays out on top of the other person’s insurance. If the responsible driver has substantial assets, it is also possible to go after those assets for compensation, if the insurance is not enough.

Age of victim – One’s age and where they are in their career has a big role in the value of a case. Someone who is very young had many years to live, but they may not have much in the way of lost earnings. Someone who is older may not have long to live, but if they had a high salary, their lost income potential can be very high.

Circumstances of death – if the victim survived for any period, even moments, their pain and suffering is relevant to calculating the value of the case. However, that is a different type of case called a survival action. If a loved one was present at the time of the accident and unfortunately saw their loved one’s death, that plays a role in the value of the case as well.

Contact Us for Assistance

The pain suffered due to the death of a loved one in a car crash is incomprehensible. In most cases, surviving family members find themselves unable to think of what to do next. This is why it is so important to contact an experienced Seattle personal injury attorney. Once you reach out to us, we can guide you through the next steps. This includes managing the case, setting the case’s value, seeking just compensation for your loss.

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  • "Successful defense: A family member was charged with a misdemeanor and then another later on. Ms. Hart was able to successfully defend them, and my family member wound up with no criminal record. She was easy to work with and very competent in my opinion. "  -Richard

  • "This was my fist time ( hopefully my last ) Melissa was with me every step of the way, she help me get the trust and confidence I needed and it all turned out good at the end and am very grateful for that.........THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP"  -Bas

  • "outstanding attorney! I found Melissa to be a true legal expert in the area of auto accidents. I have no doubt she got me the best possible outcome and reward for my recent two collisions..."  -Billy

  • "This review is extremely tardy, but VERY well deserved. In the spring of 2015, Melissa represented me in a delicate matter, and she was superb. Melissa not only knows her field, but she also TRULY CARES."  -Steven

  • "Very knowledgeable and super helpful: Melissa was recommended to me for assistance by my chiropractor and she was wonderful. I had a very successful consultation phone call and she helped me to organize and resolve my challenges."  -Jordan

  • "I would highly recommend Melissa to anyone needing a lawyer. My son had been in/out of jail for the last few years when he was arrested on felony drug charges and placed in King County jail..."  -Kimberly

  • "Great Lawyer: Melissa did a great job on my case, working with me every step of the way and keeping me informed. She was great and I would hire her again if I needed to (hopefully I won't need to)"  -anonymous

  • "A Lawyer With A Heart ❤️ : Melissa came in highly recommended to me by a friend. I have never done this process before and my stress level was to the max, because they waited the very last minute to proceed with my lawsuit..."  -Erica

  • "Exceptional Traffic Collision Lawyer: I would recommend Melissa Odama Hart to anyone who has been in a collision, whether you are at fault or not at fault. She has exceptional legal knowledge and judgment in collision law..."  -Amanda

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