Whenever a loved one dies, it is hard to know where to begin the process of moving forward and trying to figure out all the things that need to be done. It can be even more difficult when the death is sudden and is the result of someone else’s carelessness. When someone is killed by another’s carelessness, also known as “negligence”, the deceased person’s loved ones may have a claim for wrongful death.
On Mother’s Day, a mother lost her husband and infant daughter when a driver crossed the yellow line and entered their lane of travel in Whatcom County. The mother, who was traveling in a separate vehicle, was also injured in the collision. When she is released from the hospital, she will have the unimaginable task of trying to move on with her life without her husband and daughter. But where and how to begin to do so is probably not something that has ever even crossed her mind. So what do you do when you lose a loved one due to the negligence of someone else?
Your best bet may be to contact an attorney. Depending on the circumstances of the death and your relationship with the deceased, you, or your loved ones, may be able to bring a wrongful death claim.
Those individuals who can legally bring a claim for wrongful death are called “beneficiaries.” Only certain beneficiaries can bring claims for wrongful death, so it is important to get in to speak to an attorney to determine whether you have the requisite relationship with the deceased that will give you standing to bring a wrongful death claim.
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to recover economic (lost wages, medical bills, etc.) and non-economic (loss of relationships, mental anguish, pain and suffering, etc.) losses or “damages.” Not all of these types of damages are available to every beneficiary in every case, so it is important to speak to a personal injury attorney who knows the ins and outs of the wrongful death statutes in order to ensure that you are seeking appropriate damages based on your relationship to the deceased and facts surrounding the death.
In addition to the actual wrongful death claim, there may be benefits available to help with things like funeral expenses. Specifically, if your loved one had personal injury protection (PIP) they will likely have a funeral expenses benefit that will pay for some of the costs.
In order to determine what benefits may be available to you or whether you have standing to bring a wrongful death claim, please call our office for a free no-obligation consultation.