A guide to filing for wrongful death benefits
There are a few life experiences as difficult as losing a loved one. Unfortunately, dealing with the death of a friend or family member is unavoidable. However, there are situations in which a premature death could be avoided.
If your loved one’s passing was brought on by the recklessness or negligence of another party, the situation may become even more emotionally taxing. Not only are you left dealing with the pain and grief associated with your lost loved one, but you’ll likely also have to maintain financial security in a new and unexpected lifestyle. For this reason, the law aims to protect individuals in the situation. In these cases, you have the right to work with a wrongful death attorney to file a claim seeking compensation from the liable party.
For many people, this type of legal proceeding is not only unfamiliar, but it can also be difficult. To better prepare for the process ahead, consult the guide below, which aims to provide clarification on wrongful death suits.
What you need to know to sue for a wrongful death
Who is allowed to file a wrongful death claim in Seattle?
Because wrongful death suits are so personal and complex, the law provides strict regulations individuals must adhere to and satisfy before they can collect compensation. For example, there are very strict guidelines outlining who is eligible to sue for wrongful death benefits.
In Washington, there are three categories of eligible claimants. The first is an individual that was either the registered domestic partner or spouse of the deceased. The next group of eligible claimants covers children (either biological or adopted) and stepchildren. The third and final category is actually a caveat based on the former two categories. Parents or siblings of the deceased may file for wrongful death benefits, but only if there were no surviving relatives in the first two categories or if they can prove that they were financially dependent upon the deceased. If they cannot prove either of these two requirements were met, they will likely not be able to collect compensation for wrongful death benefits.
What kinds of benefits are awarded in a wrongful death suit?
Typically, benefits awarded in any kind of personal injury claim are provided in one lump sum settlement. This compensation is determined by evaluating the expenses and emotional suffering brought on by the accident to determine a value for the claim. With a wrongful death suit, your lawyer will consider a broad range of factors to determine what you are eligible to collect.
The first and most common factor considered is the deceased’s funeral. Your lawyer will consider the cost of the service, along with expenses associated with a casket or urn, cremation services, a burial plot, a headstone, and any funeral home expenses.
Next, your attorney will look at any medical bills you incurred while the deceased was still alive. For example, if your loved one was injured in a car accident and required in-hospital care prior to their passing, your lawyer will likely include these bills in your claim, including time spent in the hospital, transportation to the facility, and any medication or equipment for which you were charged.
Finally, your attorney will consider how the deceased’s passing impacts your future quality of life and household income earnings. If the deceased was the primary breadwinner in the household, the lawyer will calculate the loss of household income as part of your wrongful death suit.
Although no amount of money will ever replace having your loved one back in your life, filing for wrongful death claims will help make the immediate and long-term future a bit easier. Collecting compensation from the liable party, you’ll be able to focus on grieving and honoring the life lost, rather than focusing on the financial strain.