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Kent Wrongful Death Lawyer

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The death of a loved one always seems to come too soon and frequently leaves long-lasting emotional scars from the vacancy left behind. In some cases, misconduct or negligence of another may rob you of a close family member. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you may be able to file suit against the responsible party for wrongful death. With the help of our Kent wrongful death lawyers, you can gain compensation for lost wages, funeral expenses, and lost companionship.

Each year our Kent wrongful death attorneys help recover millions of dollars for our clients. We know money won’t solve everything, but it can help you to start to put the pieces of your life back together. If you need help, contact Caffee Accident & Injury Lawyers right away to discuss your options at (206) 312-0954 or by fill out our online contact form.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death

A wrongful death claim can occur as a result of various situations, including the following:

  • When the Perpetrator Intentionally Kills the Victim – A defendant can be tried criminally for this, but they can also be tried in civil court.
  • Medical Malpractice Resulting in Death- If a doctor misdiagnoses a medical condition or a test, is careless, or creates the wrong treatment plan, a wrongful death action may be possible.
  • Car Accident Fatalities Involving Negligence- Car accidents injuries caused by negligence or under the influence drivers can result in the death of a passerby
  • Defective or Unsafe Product Fatality– A manufacturer may be liable for a death caused by an unsafe or defective product.

Types of Wrongful Death Claims

Some common types of wrongful death claims in Washington include the following:

  • Intentional: a family member files a wrongful death lawsuit after a loved one is murdered or killed during an assault.
  • Negligence: a family member files a wrongful death claim when a negligent action such as a driver disregarding road rules or texting and driving causes an accident resulting in death. Slip-and-fall accidents, dog bites, and construction accidents may also fall under the negligence category
  • Malpractice: a family member files a wrongful death claim when a loved one dies from a negligent action in a hospital, dentist’s office, or other medical setting. Medical negligence differs from other forms of negligence because it requires proof the medical professional performed a level of care that didn’t live up to the acceptable standard.

Understanding the Four Key Elements of Wrongful Death Cases

To create an effective wrongful death claim, the victim’s family must prove certain elements. To prove wrongful death, you must prove that the victim’s death occurred because the other party was behaving negligently. Showing negligence involves the following:

Duty & Breach of Duty

To successfully gain the compensation you deserve by proving the defendant was negligent, you prove that the defendant had a duty of care to the decedent and they breached that duty.

In a medical malpractice case, this would mean showing that the victim and the doctor had a doctor-patient relationship, and the doctor was negligent in his care. You must establish how there was a duty and how the defendant breached it.


The victim’s family must also prove that the defendant breaching the duty caused the victim’s death. If a doctor is negligent but the decedent passed away for other reasons, you won’t have a successful wrongful death suit. There must be causation.


The victim’s fatality must generate quantifiable damages to create a solid wrongful death case. This usually includes the following:

  • Burial costs
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of potential earnings
  • Loss of inheritance and guidance

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to Washington State laws, the following people can file a claim:

  • A parent or legal guardian
  • Spouse
  • A child older than 18, including stepchildren.

If the victim in the wrongful death case didn’t have a spouse or children and their parents are no longer around, other relatives that were financially dependent on the decedent may be able to file a claim.


Who Is Responsible for a Wrongful Death?

In wrongful death cases, you may file a lawsuit against various persons, government agencies, and companies. It varies depending on the circumstances. Some of the options include the following:

  • At-fault drivers or their employers
  • The builder/designer of faulty roadways
  • The manufacturer or distributor of dangerous parts
  • A doctor who caused your loved one’s death

Washington State Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims

The statute of limitations is the time frame in which you can file a lawsuit. After this time period expires, you will no longer be able to file a claim. The state of Washington has a three-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. This means that if you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you have three years from the death of your loved one to file a lawsuit. 

It is important to note that there are some exceptions to this rule. One of the most common exceptions is known as the discovery rule.

Under this rule, the time period for filing a wrongful death claim may not begin to run when the plaintiff knew or should have known through the exercise of reasonable diligence, that the death of their loved one was caused by the defendant’s negligence. The goal of this rule is to prevent defendants from escaping liability by claiming that the plaintiff did not file their claim within the statute of limitations when the plaintiff couldn’t have known about the negligence. 

For example, if a patient dies due to complications from surgery, their loved ones may not be aware that the doctor was negligent in their care. However, once an investigation reveals that the doctor made a mistake, the clock starts ticking on the filing of a wrongful death claim. 

This rule can be difficult to understand and apply in practice. If you have lost a loved one and you believe that their death was caused by someone else’s negligence, it is important to speak with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. 

What Damages Can Loved Ones Recover After a Wrongful Death in Washington State?

In the state of Washington, there are two general categories of damages that loved ones can recover after a wrongful death: economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are intended to compensate the victim’s loved ones for any financial losses they have incurred as a result of the victim’s death. These damages are those that have a specific dollar value attached to them, such as:

Loss of financial support: The deceased’s loved ones may be able to recover damages for the loss of financial support that they would have received from the deceased if not for the death. This may include loss of earnings, future earnings, and benefits such as health insurance. This can also include loss of inheritance.

Medical Expenses: This typically includes medical expenses related to the decedent’s passing, burial expenses, and funeral expenses. 

Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify, as there is no dollar value that can easily be attached to them. They are awarded as a way to compensate the victim’s loved ones for any non-financial losses they have incurred as a result of the victim’s death. This can include the following:

Loss of companionship and love: The deceased’s loved ones may be able to recover damages for the loss of companionship, love, comfort, affection, society, and moral support that they would have received from the deceased if not for the death. 

Loss of services: The deceased’s loved ones might also be entitled to damages for the loss of services that the deceased would have provided if not for their death. This can include things like childcare, housekeeping, and lawn care. 

In Washington, a plaintiff can also attempt to cover pain and suffering and fear of death on behalf of the decedent when attempting to recover non-economic damages. 

What’s the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Case and a Survival Action?

Understanding the difference between a wrongful death case and a survival action case can help loved ones left behind to make an informed decision about the best way to proceed after the death of a loved one from another party’s negligence. While both types of lawsuits help the bereaved family to financially recover, the purpose and processes are different.

A wrongful death claim is a legal action meant to compensate family members for the economic losses they’ve suffered and will continue to suffer due to losing the loved one’s economic contributions to the family as well as their emotional support, companionship, and guidance. A close family member such as a spouse, parent, or adult child files the wrongful death lawsuit as a personal representative of the family.

A survival action is one filed on behalf of the deceased person themselves, rather than the family. It’s meant as an action the person would have filed against the at-fault party had they survived their injury. This type of lawsuit seeks compensation for pain and suffering experienced before the death as well as any medical expenses and lost income experienced between the accident and death. The family members receive the financial settlement or award that the decedent would have gained had they survived. The executor of the decedent’s estate typically files a survival action on their behalf and the amount gained may be subject to Washington’s inheritance laws.

Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

If you are successful in your wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover the following types of damages:

  • Medical costs that the victim’s family had to pay before death
  • The deceased person’s pain and suffering before the fatality
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of inheritance or expected income
  • Loss of nurturing, care, love, and companionship

What Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Do For Me?

When a loved one dies wrongfully, in a way that could and should have been prevented, the loss is devastating for those left behind. While dealing with shock and grief, it’s extremely difficult to take on a legal challenge without help. An experienced wrongful death lawyer understands the trauma to the family and the grave nature of this type of lawsuit. No one can bring a lost loved one back, but they can make it easier for the family to move on by doing the following:

  • Diligently investigate your case to prove liability
  • Collect evidence that the wrongful or negligent action directly caused your loved one’s death
  • Carefully draft a demand letter to the at-fault party and their insurance company
  • Navigate the legal system carefully, ensuring that all paperwork is properly filed in a timely manner and demand prompt responses
  • Keep you informed of every step of your case and what to expect next
  • Work aggressively to achieve justice for your loved one through the maximum possible settlement or court award in your wrongful death case.

Your wrongful death attorney will not only handle your case with compassion but will also fight passionately for full compensation for your loss. 

Our Kent Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help | Contact Caffee Accident & Injury Lawyers

If your loved one dies after an injury that occurred as a result of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death suit. Remember that the credibility and quality of the evidence matters more than the quantity. For this reason, you must hire a skilled and experienced Kent wrongful death lawyer.

When you hire Caffee Accident & Injury Lawyers, you’re hiring a team of legal professionals that care about your case as if they were dealing with the loss of their own loved one. We will do our absolute best to build a case that meets the burden of proof and gains your deserved compensation.

Contact Caffee Accident & Injury Lawyers right away to set up a free consultation by calling us at (206) 312-0954 or by filling out our online contact form.