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155 NE 100th St., Suite 210 | Seattle, Washington 98125
206-402-5214
Wrongful Death

Serious car accidents can sometimes lead to the death of a loved one. In some cases, when you lose a family member due to the careless behavior of another, you may have the right to file a wrongful death suit. Our Seattle personal injury attorney can assist family members with determining their rights and helping them find out if they have a case. Contact us to learn how we can help.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a claim against someone who can be held liable for a death that they caused due to their negligent or intentional behavior, such as in a deadly car crash. Wrongful death cases are brought in civil court, and in Washington, there is a three-year statute of limitations on filing such a suit. This means that lawsuits must be filed within three years or the right to sue is lost forever.

It is important to contact an experienced Seattle car accident attorney, as soon as possible. That way your attorney can be certain to protect your rights, and if appropriate, file a suit for you before the statute of limitations has passed.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

In 2019, Washington passed a new law regarding filing suits for wrongful death damages. The law is very specific on who can sue. The law creates two tiers of claimants. The first tier consists of a spouse or domestic partner, and any children. The second tier consists of parents or siblings, but only if there is no one in the first tier. This means that if you lose your adult child, but that child has a spouse or children, you may not file a wrongful death claim. However, if your adult child has no spouse or children, you may file such a claim.

The law allows for four types of wrongful death and survival actions:

  1. General Wrongful Death Action: a personal representative of the deceased may bring a suit on behalf of beneficiaries. A jury may award actual financial losses, as well as an amount for other losses, such as support, love, and affection.
  2. Wrongful Death of a Child Action: A parent(s) or legal guardian may sue for the loss of a child, whether that child was a minor or an adult, as long as that parent had significant involvement in the child’s life, providing emotional, psychological, and/or financial support. A jury may award for medical bills, and other intangible losses, such as the loss of a child’s love and companionship.
  3. General Survival Action: Any suit a deceased person would have brought, had they not passed away, can be brought by their estate. Recovered losses may include earnings, medical and funeral expenses, pain, and suffering.
  4. Special Survival Action: A personal representative of the deceased may sue for personal injuries that resulted in the decedent’s death, recovering damages on behalf of beneficiaries. Losses, awarded by a jury, are specified to be economic losses, as well as non-economic damages, limited to the decedent’s pain and suffering, anxiety, emotional distress, or humiliation.

What Comes Next?

If you have suffered the traumatizing death of a loved one due to a car accident, contact our Seattle wrongful death law firm. Our attorneys are experienced in handling these claims. We will help you navigate the complexities of your case, answer any questions you have, and help you deal with the difficulties ahead. While no amount can ever replace your loved one, obtaining just compensation, and holding at-fault parties responsible, can go a long way in assisting a family’s journey forward.

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An attorney will review your case within 24 hours, and we will reach out with next steps.

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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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    155 NE 100th St.
    Suite 210
    Seattle, Washington 98125
    Phone: 206-402-5214
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