Losing a loved one is a devastating experience that can leave families feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. If you are in Washington and have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for your loss.
One of the most critical components of any wrongful death case is determining the damages that should be awarded to the plaintiff. In this blog post, we will discuss how damages are calculated in a Washington wrongful death case.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action taken by the surviving family members of a deceased person against the party responsible for their loved one’s death. In Washington, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed if the deceased person’s death was caused by another person’s negligence, wrongful act, or default.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Washington?
In Washington, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the deceased person’s spouse, children, or parents. If none of these individuals are living, then the lawsuit can be filed by the deceased person’s personal representative.
What Damages Can Be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff can seek compensation for a variety of damages, including:
- Economic Damages: These are damages that are meant to compensate the plaintiff for financial losses resulting from the death of their loved one. Economic damages can include lost wages, medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and any other expenses related to the deceased person’s death.
- Non-Economic Damages: These are damages that are meant to compensate the plaintiff for non-financial losses resulting from the death of their loved one. Non-economic damages can include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and any other emotional or mental anguish caused by the loss of a loved one.
How Are Damages Calculated in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Calculating damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be a complex process. The amount of damages awarded will depend on several factors, including the deceased person’s age, earning potential, and the extent of their injuries. To calculate the damages, the court will typically consider the following:
- Economic Losses: To determine the economic losses, the court will look at the deceased person’s income and projected earnings, as well as any medical expenses and funeral costs associated with their death.
- Non-Economic Losses: To determine the non-economic losses, the court will consider the emotional and mental anguish experienced by the surviving family members, including the loss of companionship, support, and guidance.
- Punitive Damages: In some cases, the court may award punitive damages to punish the party responsible for the deceased person’s death for their egregious behavior.
It’s important to note that Washington state law places a cap on the number of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. The current cap for non-economic damages is $1.1 million, which means that the total amount of damages awarded to the plaintiff cannot exceed this amount.
It’s crucial to file a wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations, which is three years from the date of the deceased person’s death in Washington. Failing to file within this timeframe can result in the case being dismissed, and the plaintiff being unable to recover damages.
Wrongful death lawsuits can be emotionally and legally complex, and it’s important to have a qualified attorney by your side to guide you through the process. Understanding how damages are calculated in a Washington wrongful death case can help you prepare for what lies ahead and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your loss.
Paukert & Troppmann, PLLC is a law firm based in Washington that specializes in wrongful death cases. Our experienced attorneys have a deep understanding of how damages are calculated in these types of cases and can help you navigate the legal process.
Here’s how we can assist you:
- Review the case: Our attorneys will review the details of your case and gather all necessary evidence to determine the full extent of your damages.
- Calculate economic damages: We will work with financial experts to calculate the economic damages, which include lost wages, medical expenses, and funeral costs associated with the death.
- Calculate non-economic damages: We will also consider the non-economic damages, such as the emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and other losses you have experienced as a result of your loved one’s death.
- Establish liability: Our attorneys will investigate the case to establish the liability of the party responsible for your loved one’s death. We will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult with experts to build a strong case on your behalf.
- Negotiate with the insurance company: We will negotiate with the insurance company to seek a fair settlement that covers all of your damages.
- Represent you in court: If necessary, we will represent you in court to fight for your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your loss.
At Paukert & Troppmann, PLLC, we understand the devastating impact that a wrongful death can have on a family. That’s why we are committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive legal representation to help you navigate this difficult time. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.