wrongful-death

Kennewick Wrongful Death Lawyers

Compassionate counsel for families throughout WA

There’s nothing more traumatic than a call from a police officer, a relative, or a friend saying your loved one died. When someone else’s negligence is the cause of that death, that person or entity must be held accountable. There’s no amount of money that can ever replace the life of a loved one, but it can ensure that your family is safe in the future and prevent other families from suffering the same grief.

At Telaré Law, our Kennewick lawyers respect your need to mourn. We take on the burden of your case so you can focus on healing. We fight to settle wrongful death cases for the insurance policy limits, but we always prepare cases to try before a jury when insurance companies fail to offer all that they should. We have the skills and resources to hold national companies and global corporations accountable. Contact us today to get started.

What is a wrongful death claim?

There are two types of claims that can be filed when a loved one dies due to the negligence or fault of others:

  • A wrongful death claim. When someone in your family dies to the “wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person,” the personal representative of the estate can file a claim for the economic and non-economic damages to the family members.
  • A survival claim. This is a personal injury claim that can be filed if the death of your loved one is not instantaneous. If, for example, your loved one was hospitalized a week before dying, then the estate of the decedent can seek damages for the decedent’s pain and suffering, medical bills, and other types of damages.

In many accident cases, such as most vehicle accidents, the death occurs at the scene of the accident. In other cases, such as a failure to diagnose cancer, the decedent may live a long time with cancer before dying.

Normally, the wrongful death claim and the survival claim are brought at the same time.

What makes wrongful death cases different?

Wrongful death cases are different than other personal injury cases. Not only can they be more painful and emotional, but the way we handle them in court is different, too. The reasons for this can include:

  • There is no way to speak with the victim. Your loved one cannot testify if there is a trial. We need to prove fault and losses in other ways, such as through the testimony of witnesses, examination of the physical evidence, and a thorough review of how the fatal incident occurred.
  • There may be a pending criminal case. We work closely with the prosecutors and police. A conviction in a criminal case usually helps resolve your civil wrongful death case, but it is not necessary.
  • Your need to mourn. It’s extremely difficult to think about asserting your legal rights when all you can think about is that your loved one has died. We understand and respect your need to mourn while pursuing your claim.
  • Opening of Estate. An added layer to the wrongful death claim process is that an “Estate” in the name of the deceased must be opened. Often, there is no will to indicate who the deceased desired to serve as Personal Representative/Executor. We can assist in navigating this mandatory alternate filing process to make it easier for everyone involved. Given our experience handling such claims, we can assure you all the added process will be done quickly and correctly.

Team Telaré understands that these types of cases may require a different approach in settlement negotiations vs. a jury trial, too. Rest assured that while we are aggressive in pursuing these claims, we never lose sight of the fact the victim is not some nameless face in a crowd. He or she was an important part of your life, you story, and your plans for the future. You can trust us to treat you and your loved one with dignity, compassion, and respect.

What are the most common fatal accidents?

At Telaré Law, our Kennewick wrongful death lawyers represent families when a loved one dies due to:

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Kennewick?

In wrongful death cases and survival cases, the claim is filed by the personal representative of the estate. If there is a will, then the executor files the claim.

In wrongful death claims:

  • If an adult dies, the beneficiaries, based on Washington state law, are:
    • The spouse
    • A state registered domestic partner
    • A child or children, including stepchildren

If the above beneficiaries don’t exist, then the parents or siblings of the decedent are entitled to wrongful death benefits.

  • If a child dies, a parent or legal guardian can file the wrongful death claim, provided the child wasn’t married, didn’t have a domestic partner, and didn’t have children. Generally, the parent or legal guardian must have provided the child with financial support and/or emotional and psychological support at or near the time of death. Parents of minors generally qualify. Parents of adult children need to show they meet this condition.

In survival actions:

The beneficiaries are the people identified in the decedents’ will. If the decedent did not have a will, then the intestate laws of Washington determine the beneficiaries.

What damages are available in a wrongful death claim?

In wrongful death cases, if the victim is an adult, the damages include:

  • The funeral and burial expenses, and last medical bills
  • The value of the financial support the decedent would have provided for his/her family
  • The value of the household services the decedent would have provided the family
  • Loss of consortium for spouse or a domestic partner
  • The value of the love, care, guidance, and emotional support the decedent would have provided the family members

When a child dies, the damages are:

  • The child's health care expenses
  • The loss of the child's services, financial support, and other economic losses
  • The loss of love and companionship of the child, loss of the child's emotional support, and injury to or destruction of the parent-child relationship

The damages in a survival action are the same as they are for any personal injury action. The only difference is that the lifetime of the victim is known in advance. Damages include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income and benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Knowledge of imminent death
  • Loss of consortium (relationship damages)
  • Property damage

How much time do I have to file a wrongful death claim in Kennewick?

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is three years. Please don’t wait the three years. Any delay can hurt your case. We need to examine the physical evidence and speak with witnesses as quickly as possible.

There may be other deadlines that are very short, such as the notice requirements if a claim is filed against the Washington Department of Transportation.

Do you have a wrongful death lawyer near me?

At Telaré Law, we have an office at Kennewick at 819 South Auburn St. We have another office at Richland. We see clients away from the office when necessary.

Contact Team Telaré today to learn more about wrongful death claims in WA

At Telaré Law, we have earned the respect of former clients, the insurance industry, and the legal community for our skill and persuasiveness. We’ll answer your questions and work with your estate representatives. Our Kennewick wrongful death lawyers fight to obtain the maximum recovery for our clients.

To discuss your right to compensation when a family member tragically dies, call us at 509-737-8500 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We represent wrongful death clients on a contingency fee basis. We help families in Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, Walla Walla, and all Southeast Washington.