Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things a person will encounter in life. In an ideal world, wrongful death lawsuits would not need to exist. Unfortunately, the actions of others can cause your loved one’s life to end too soon. Experiencing such a loss is life altering and intensely profound. If you lost someone because of another person’s negligence, you can consult with a Bellevue wrongful death lawyer and take legal action to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and begin the healing process.
What Constitutes Wrongful Death?
Under Washington State law, wrongful death occurs when a person’s life is taken due to the wrongful acts, neglect, or default of another person. Negligence can happen in any setting, and it can be the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit. Negligence is the failure or inability to take the reasonable care necessary to prevent injuries or fatalities to another. Negligence is involved in all kinds of scenarios. Examples of negligence include, but are not limited to:
- Construction accidents
- Dog bites
- Defective products
- Burn accidents
- Vehicle crashes
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
Wrongful deaths are often caused by someone’s negligence. Wrongful death, however, is not a criminal offense. Criminal liability for killing someone includes murder and negligent homicide. If the alleged criminal is facing criminal charges, you can still bring a wrongful death claim against them in civil court. This is true even if the person is not convicted of criminal wrongdoing.
In a criminal case, criminal liability must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, civil liability must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. Put another way, the burden of proof is much higher for a criminal case than it is for a civil case. In a civil wrongful death case, the plaintiff only has to prove that it is exceedingly likely that the defendant killed someone wrongfully.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case in Bellevue?
Washington State has specific rules and guidelines that allow certain people to file wrongful death actions. Different rules apply to adult and child deaths. The following are the rules governing who can bring a wrongful death case:
Wrongful Death of an Adult
The person representing the deceased’s estate may bring the action for the estate and for the benefit of the deceased’s family. If none of these people survived the decedent, the wrongful death action benefits “parents, sisters, or brothers, who may be dependent upon the deceased person for support, and who are residents within the United States at the time of their death.”
Wrongful Death of a Child under Eighteen
A parent who has regularly and recently contributed to the support of their minor child may bring a wrongful death lawsuit; however, some restrictions apply. Marital status is not a factor when the decedent is under eighteen. This means that if only one parent files, the other parent must be notified of the lawsuit.
Contact a Bellevue Wrongful Death Lawyer at Premier Law Group Today
You do not have to navigate the complexities of a wrongful death claim all by yourself. Premier Law Group has experienced and passionate wrongful death attorneys that want to help you with your wrongful death lawsuit. We understand that losing a loved one due to the negligence of another person is a devastating experience. We are empathetic professionals who want to help you bring closure to your family and honor your loved one. If a loved one has died on account of someone else’s negligence, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We have offices in Bellevue, Federal Way, and Renton, and we help people in the greater Seattle area. For a no commitment, no-cost consultation, you can contact us online or call (206) 880-7518.