Spokane Wrongful Death Attorney By Your Side

The wrongful death cases we handle are significantly different from other personal injury cases for numerous reasons. They tend to be more emotionally charged and in Washington there are complex laws quite different than ordinary personal injury cases that govern the type and amount of recoverable damages.

More importantly, it is my belief that to represent a person who has died, I have to get to know that person. This requires a complete investigation into the person’s life, meeting their friends and family and in some cases trying to recreate special moments in that person’s life.

Calculating damages usually requires hiring a team of experts to calculate what the deceased might have earned over their life had their life not been taken from them. For instance, in 2013 and 2014 we resolved two significant wrongful death cases. The first involved a young man who committed suicide hours after being turned away from a hospital where he voluntarily went to get help. At the hospital, he denied any plans to kill himself but he also told the hospital that he “did not want to exist anymore.” He was found hanging in his garage a few hours later. In the other case, a beautiful young girl’s life was just beginning when she was killed in a motor vehicle accident.

In both cases, we had to hire experts to prove what these young people would have earned over the remainder of their lives. In the case of the suicide, we also had to hire experts to explain to the hospital that turning away their patient was unreasonable behavior.

If the death involves a bread-winner, the stakes can be very high.

Why you Should Hire an Attorney

The laws governing wrongful death cases are complex. Usually the case may only be pursued by a court ordered administrator of the estate, which requires going to court even before the case gets started. Establishing the damages is complex and requires hiring a team of experts – cost that our law firm advances. Many aspects of wrongful death suits are time sensitive and it is important that they are taken care of quickly. In both of the cases discussed above I was notified within hours of the death and that made all of the difference. In another wrongful death case, I was hired in 2013, more than two years after the death. Valuable evidence was lost and mishandled in that time – which could cost the heirs millions of dollars.

Statutes of limitations apply too. In one of the above wrongful death cases, it was alleged that the United States government was the cause. I have also represented a family in a wrongful death case against Spokane County. Many claims have different time limits and requirements to perfect a claim. I have represented deceased children whose parents were divorced. The parent that acts first may end up controlling the outcome of the lawsuit. Evidence also needs to be preserved, experts hired and other time sensitive steps taken.

What are Wrongful Death Cases?

Wrongful death cases include automobile accidents, airplane accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, workplace accidents and much more. The damages that are recoverable and the people entitled to recover vary from case to case.

Damages may Include:

  • Expenses for the care, treatment, and hospitalization of the person who died
  • Sorrow, mental anguish, and loss of companionship
  • The expected loss of net income of the person who died
  • The expected loss of services, protection or care which the person who died provided to the beneficiaries
  • Loss of victim’s future earnings until the time of retirement
  • Loss of medical benefits, pension, and 401(k) as a result of the death
  • Compensation for any property damage caused by the accident that caused the death of the loved one
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reasonable funeral expenses

As an experienced attorney in wrongful death cases, I understand the emotion and needs of victims of a wrongful death. A wrongful death is the most personal of personal injury cases. I have the experience to help anyone through this trying time.