Seattle Wrongful Death Lawyer

When a loved one is taken too soon, it is always hard to accept. But when their death is the result of someone else’s negligence or actions, it an unimaginable burden. In addition to the overwhelming grief, loss, and anger, the financial stress and strain can make you wonder how you’re going to keep your head above water.

We know that seeking compensation is often the furthest thing from your mind after a fatal accident takes someone you love from you. Though no amount of money can make up for the untimely death of your loved one, you can seek compensation that will allow you to grieve without worrying about your financial situation and hold the negligent party accountable.

If your loved one was killed in any kind of accident caused by another party’s negligence or intentional misconduct in the Seattle area, you cannot delay in retaining legal counsel. It will be important for you to have a lawyer who has experience handling wrongful death claims so you can recover all of the compensation you are entitled.

The The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee will be able to investigate your claim and work to secure the evidence needed to hold the negligent party accountable. Our wrongful death attorneys can explore all of your legal options with you when you call (206) 899-5415 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.

Do I Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer?

Wrongful death claims can be extremely challenging to pursue, and you will want to work with an attorney simply to make sure that you are taking the right actions. People who attempt to file claims on their own may encounter any number of issues that can lead to claims being denied or dismissed.

In many cases, the negligent party will have an insurance company that is unlikely to accept liability for a person’s death immediately. Often, insurers will go to great lengths to find reasons to attribute the cause of an accident to the actions of the deceased person.

You should not try to discuss compensation or your loved one’s accident in general with an insurance company until you have legal representation. Some insurers may offer you a lump-sum settlement quickly, but you should know that whatever you are offered will likely be much less than what you deserve.

A lawyer will know exactly what your case is worth and have the experience negotiating these agreements to help you recover as close to that amount as possible. People who accept settlements without consulting attorneys often learn that their awards will not cover many of their future needs, and those costs then have to be paid out of pocket.

Why Choose the The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee to Handle My Case?

The The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee understands how the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one is an unparalleled disruptive force in the life of every member of a family. Our firm is committed to helping you get justice for your loved one’s death.

The National Trial Lawyers has named Jeffrey R. Caffee one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the county every year since 2013. Mr. Caffee was honored by The International Academy of Trial Lawyers in 2009 with an Award for Advocacy for distinguished achievement in the art and science of advocacy, and he received the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Trial Academy Scholarship in 2011. He is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, and the King County Bar Association.

A major advantage of working with the The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee is that we will provide legal representation on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will not have to worry about paying us anything until you obtain a financial award.

Our firm’s goal will be to get you a settlement that provides for every expense you have incurred or will incur as a result of your loved one’s death. When an insurance company is unwilling to provide an appropriate level of compensation, then we will immediately file a lawsuit.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases We Handle

A wrongful death may be intentional, such as an assault or a murder, or it may have been accidental, such as some kind of negligent action like a motor vehicle accident or medical malpractice. The families of people who are killed can often face enormous financial strain because of the sudden deaths, and wrongful death lawsuits can help these people recover the damages they need and deserve.

Wrongful deaths can stem from purposeful acts to accidental ones. The most common causes of accidental deaths generally include but are not limited to:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Dog bite accidents
  • Scooter accidents
  • Ride-share accidents

When a wrongful death is the result of an intentional act, then the responsible party will often face criminal charges. Revised Code of Washington § 4.20.010 specifically allows a civil action for wrongful death to be maintained as criminal action against the offender, but these are two separate actions.

The distinction is important because a criminal offense needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a significant burden. A civil case only needs to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, a far lower standard.

It may be possible for a person to avoid a criminal conviction but still be found civilly liable for a death. One of the most infamous examples is the case of former pro football star O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted of murder in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman but was later found liable for their wrongful deaths and ordered to pay $8.5 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages to the families.

Seattle Wrongful Death Statistics

The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention reported that accidents were the fourth leading cause of death in Washington in 2014. Accidents accounted for 2,997 deaths in the state that year, including 698 firearm deaths and 979 drug poisoning deaths.

Data from the 2015 Annual Collision Data Summary from the Washington State Department of Transportation shows that a person died in a vehcile crash every 16 hours. The 499 fatal collisions resulted in 551 fatalities and included 263 driver fatalities, 115 occupant fatalities, and 100 nonmotorist fatalities. There were 100 fatal collisions in King County alone.

Commercial vehicles or heavy trucks were involved in 38 fatal collisions according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The Washington State 2016 Traffic Safety Annual Report from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission reported that heavy trucks were responsible for 43 fatalities in 2015 and 36 fatalities in 2014.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Washington had 51 fatalities involving large trucks in 2016. FMCSA’s Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts reported that 4,440 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in 2016.

Contact a Seattle Wrongful Death Attorney Today

Was your loved one killed in any kind of accident caused by another party’s negligence in Seattle? It is important for you to understand that you only have a limited amount of time to take legal action, so you will want to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

The The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee knows that many families are not prepared to make court appearances, and they handle all of the requirements so you can take all the time you need to grieve. Call (206) 899-5415 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

FAQs

Frequently
Asked
Questions

While wrongful death actions are not specifically addressed in Washington state law, the “any other injury to the person or rights of another not hereinafter enumerated” provision detailed in the Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.080(2) generally applies to wrongful death claims and limits a person to three years to file a claim. The one major difference between a wrongful death claim and a traditional injury claim is that the limitations period begins on the date of a person’s death, which may be several days, weeks, or months after the date of their fatal accident. The statute of limitations may be tolled, or delayed, in some cases. For example, the Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.180 allows for a limitations period to be delayed if a defendant leaves the state or becomes concealed within it. Another possible way of delaying the statute of limitations in a wrongful death case is related to the so-called “discovery rule,” under which a person will have three years to file from the date that they discovered the actual cause of death. The discovery rule may be employed in a case in which scientific evidence reveals a negligent party several years after an accident originally occurred.

Wrongful death cases are often resolved through settlements that are intended to provide the beneficiaries with all of the appropriate compensation. A wrongful death will occasionally go trial, and a plaintiff can be awarded different kinds of damages if they can prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. Frequently awarded damages in wrongful death cases may include funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, mental anguish, medical bills, loss of counsel, and loss of consortium.

Washington state law allows for a wrongful death case to be filed by a deceased person’s representative, surviving spouse, or surviving children. In many cases, the personal representative is a spouse or child. A personal representative may need to be appointed in some cases. When none of these parties exist, then a case can be filed by the deceased person’s parents or siblings. Surviving parents or siblings do not need to have been completely dependent on the deceased, but they must have some kind of substantial financial dependence at the time of death. Whether a case is filed by a deceased person’s representative, surviving spouse, child, parent, or sibling, the action is always for the benefit of the personal representative, surviving spouse, or child.

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The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee has years of experience handling all manner of injury cases. Our Seattle wrongful death attorneys care about you and want to help you through the overwhelming challenges that you face as a victim of another person's negligence. Our firm is available at (206) 899-5415.