Bellevue Wrongful Death Attorney
Turning Tragedy Into Justice - Trusted Bellevue Wrongful Death Lawyers
At Lehmbecker Law, we transform personal loss into paths toward justice. With decades of experience in this complex area of law, our skilled Bellevue personal injury attorneys have developed a reputation for their relentless pursuit of justice for clients who have lost a loved one due to another's negligence.
Our team's comprehensive legal knowledge, combined with our empathetic and personalized approach, shows in our track record of success. Over the years, we have secured significant verdicts and settlements for our clients, helping them navigate the path to financial stability and emotional closure during their most difficult times.
At Lehmbecker Law, we're more than just your attorneys; we're your advocates, your confidants, and your unwavering support system. We are committed to seeking the compensation you deserve and ensuring your loved one's legacy remains intact.
What Constitutes Wrongful Death?
"Wrongful death" is a legal term referring to situations where one party's misconduct, reckless behavior, or negligence causes another person's death.
In some circumstances, surviving family members have the legal right to sue the responsible party for the financial and emotional harm they have suffered. A case falls under these wrongful death laws when "the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another".
While these cases are broad-ranging, attorneys often work on the following types of wrongful death suits:
- Motor vehicle accidents: These can involve cars, motorcycles, trucks, bicycles, or pedestrians. If the accident was caused by another driver's negligence, such as distracted or drunk driving, it could be considered a wrongful death.
- Medical malpractice: This can include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, failure to diagnose, or improper treatment. If a healthcare professional's negligence leads to a patient's death, the family may have a wrongful death claim.
- Workplace accidents: Wrongful death resulting from workplace accidents takes a particularly distressing turn when they transpire on non-employer-owned job sites or due to the negligence of parties beyond co-workers. Among these incidents, construction site accidents stand out as distressingly common, particularly when involving subcontractors. In these scenarios, the nuances of compensation become intricate, as individuals affected may not receive recourse through standard workers' compensation channels. Instead, resolution often lies within the realm of the business's commercial insurance policy.
- Product liability: If a product is defectively designed, poorly manufactured, or lacks proper warnings, and a death occurs as a result, it could lead to a case against the manufacturer.
- Premises liability: If a property owner fails to address hazardous conditions, leading to a fatal accident, it could result in legal action against the negligent party.
Each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances to be evaluated. At Lehmbecker Law, we are committed to thoroughly investigating your loved one's death and seeking justice for families who have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Bellevue, WA?
A personal representative, also known as an executor, of the deceased person's estate can file a wrongful death claim. This person is usually named in the deceased's estate plan or will. If the deceased did not have a will or estate plan, the court might appoint a personal representative.
The personal representative files the claim on behalf of the survivors. In Bellevue, as well as the rest of Washington State, only certain individuals are legally allowed to recover compensation following the loss of a loved one:
- The surviving spouse
- A state-registered domestic partner
- Biological or adopted children
If the deceased person was unmarried and had no children, then their parents or siblings may be able to seek damages, especially if they were financially dependent on the deceased.
Special Rules for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim for a Child
While it is typically the personal representative who initiates a wrongful death lawsuit, Washington Revised Code Section 4.24.010 does permit a parent or legal guardian to file a claim for their child's death if their child had no surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children.
The rules for this exception are as follows:
- For minor children: A parent or legal guardian who has consistently provided for the child's financial needs may either start a wrongful death lawsuit or participate in an ongoing one for a child under age 18;
- For adult children: A parent or legal guardian can launch or join a wrongful death lawsuit if they have maintained significant involvement in their adult child's life. The term "significant involvement", according to Washington law, is characterized by the provision or receipt of emotional, psychological, or financial support, either near the time of the tragic event leading to death or at the time of the death itself.
It's important to consult with a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney to understand your rights and eligibility to file a claim. The team at Lehmbecker Law is experienced in handling wrongful death lawsuits and can provide the guidance you need during this difficult time.
What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Bellevue?
In Washington State, a wrongful death claim generally must be filed within three years of the deceased person's passing. If the case is not filed within three years, the court will likely decline to consider it.
However, certain circumstances can affect this deadline, which makes it essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to ensure you don't forfeit your right to compensation. For example, if the death occurred due to medical malpractice, different time constraints may be applicable.
Compensation in a Washington Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Compensation in a wrongful death case, also known as damages, may cover a wide range of losses. The amount of compensation can vary greatly based on the specifics of the case.
In general, damages may include:
- Medical bills and expenses related to the deceased's fatal illness or injury;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Loss of the deceased person's expected income;
- Loss of any inheritance as a result of the death;
- Value of the services that the deceased would have provided;
- Pain and suffering or mental anguish suffered by the surviving family members;
- Loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the deceased would have provided;
- Loss of love and companionship.
Unlike most states, Washington does not generally allow for punitive damages in wrongful death and personal injury cases. However, each case is unique, and our attorneys at Lehmbecker Law will work diligently to seek the maximum compensation for your loss.
The Process of a Wrongful Death Claim
Navigating a wrongful death claim can feel overwhelming, particularly while you're dealing with the emotional toll of losing a loved one. At Lehmbecker Law, we aim to alleviate that burden by handling all the legal aspects of your claim. Here's a general overview of how a typical wrongful death case progresses:
Our process begins with a free, no-obligation consultation. During this meeting, we will discuss the details of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal options.
If we take on your case, our legal team will conduct a thorough investigation. This includes collecting and reviewing medical records, police reports, video footage, and any other relevant evidence. We may also work with experts to establish the cause of your family member's death and determine liability.
Filing the Lawsuit
Once we have collected sufficient evidence, we will file wrongful death claims against the responsible party or parties. This process includes drafting and submitting a document known as a complaint, which outlines the basis for your claim.
During the discovery phase, both sides exchange information relevant to the case. This can include witness testimony, expert reports, and other documents. Our legal team will handle all discovery requests and ensure that your interests are protected throughout this process.
Negotiation and Settlement
Most wrongful death cases are resolved through a settlement rather than going to trial. This involves negotiating with the defendant's insurance company to agree on fair compensation. Our attorneys have extensive negotiation experience and will strive to secure the best possible settlement for you.
If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your case may go to trial. At trial, both sides present their case, and a jury makes the final decision. Our trial lawyers are seasoned professionals and are prepared to represent your interests in court to seek justice for your loved one.
Collection and Distribution of Award
If a settlement is reached or a jury awards damages, we will assist in collecting the award and ensure that it is distributed according to the law and your best interests.
Throughout this process, our goal is to handle all the legal complexities so that you can focus on healing. Rest assured that Lehmbecker Law is here to fight for you every step of the way.
Lehmbecker Law: A Team of Passionate Wrongful Death Attorneys
At Lehmbecker Law, we understand that there are numerous law firms you could choose to represent you in your wrongful death case.
Here's what sets us apart:
You're more than just a client to us. At Lehmbecker Law, our commitment is not only to win your case but also to provide support, guidance, and understanding throughout the process.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Bellevue Wrongful Death Lawyer
Have questions or need legal advice? Don't hesitate to reach out to a wrongful death lawyer in Bellevue, Washington. We're here to help.
Get a Free Consultation from a Wrongful Death Attorney in Bellevue
Begin your journey toward justice with a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact our Bellevue wrongful death lawyer today.
Results-driven: At Lehmbecker Law, we're focused on results. Our team is experienced, tenacious, and driven by a strong desire to help our clients achieve justice. We have a proven track record of success in securing favorable verdicts and settlements.
No win, no fee: We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means that we only get paid if we win your case. This fee structure ensures that anyone, regardless of their financial situation, can access high-quality legal representation.
Community reputation: Lehmbecker Law is deeply rooted in the Bellevue community, with an office located in Downtown Bellevue since 1986. We're not just your attorneys — we're your neighbors, and we're committed to making our community safer by holding the responsible party accountable.
Aggressive advocacy: We're relentless in our pursuit of justice for our clients. Whether we're negotiating with an insurance company or arguing your case in court, we bring an aggressive, unyielding approach designed to secure the maximum compensation for your loss.
Contact Bellevue Wrongful Death Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Start your journey to recovery and justice today. Contact Lehmbecker Law for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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How long does a wrongful death case take?
The length of a wrongful death case depends on many factors, including the complexity of the case, the willingness of the parties to settle, and the court's schedule. Some cases may conclude within a few months, but complex cases or those that go to trial may take several years to resolve. At Lehmbecker Law, we strive to resolve cases as efficiently as possible while protecting our client's interests and fighting for the best possible outcomes.
What costs are associated with filing a wrongful death lawsuit?
The costs associated with a wrongful death lawsuit can include:
- court fees
- costs for obtaining medical records
- expert witness fees
- attorney's fees
However, at Lehmbecker Law, we operate on a contingency fee basis for these cases. This means that you don't pay anything upfront, and we only get paid if we secure a settlement or award for you. We believe that everyone should have access to legal representation, regardless of their financial situation.
What is the most you can sue for wrongful death?
How much compensation you can seek varies widely based on the specifics of the case. Factors considered include the deceased's earning potential, their age at the time of death, the number of dependents they had, and the circumstances of the death. Moreover, some states have caps or limits on the amount of money that can be awarded in wrongful death lawsuits. Washington State does not have a cap on damages for wrongful death cases. However, this could potentially change in the future, and it's always recommended to consult with a local attorney to get the most accurate and current information.