My Spouse Died in a Trucking Accident. What Are My Rights?
If you lost your spouse in a trucking accident, you may still be struggling with the aftermath of his or her death. You may suffer from severe losses, both economic and noneconomic, and struggle to recover. Under Washington law, you can work with a Seattle truck accident lawyer to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the people and entities responsible for your spouse’s death and receive a settlement to compensate for your losses. However, wrongful death claims are subject to regulations established by the state of Washington.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Washington?
You can file a wrongful death claim in Washington civil court if someone else’s wrongful act led to your spouse’s death. You may be able to hold multiple parties at fault for your spouse’s trucking accident death, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the manufacturers of a defective part, or a government entity, depending on the circumstances of your case. Your attorney can help you determine liability.
You can only file a wrongful death claim if you are the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, you are the spouse of the deceased, or you are the deceased’s child. Since your spouse died in the trucking accident, you have the right to file a wrongful death claim on his or her behalf. If you were not legally married to your spouse, you have to be his or her state-registered domestic partner. You have three years from the date of death to file the claim; if you fail to file within this time period, the court will refuse to hear your case.
Proving Wrongful Death in Truck Accident Cases
To receive compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, your attorney will need to prove four elements in your case.
- First, your attorney must prove that the at-fault party owed a duty of care to your spouse. This element will usually involve proving that the driver had a duty to drive safely on the road or the company had a responsibility to maintain their vehicles.
- Next, the court will require proof that the at-fault party breached the duty of care. For example, your lawyer can prove that the driver failed to follow traffic laws, that the truck had a defect, or the company failed to perform regular maintenance.
- Then, your attorney must prove that this breach of care caused your spouse’s death. This will require evidence to prove that the at-fault company caused the accident.
- Finally, the attorney must prove that you and your spouse suffered injuries and damages as a result of the accident, the breach of care, and death.
Wrongful Death Damages in Seattle Truck Accident Lawsuits
You can collect multiple forms of damages in Seattle truck accident wrongful death claims. You will have to provide documentation proving your spouse’s damages to the court to receive them. Your attorney can help you calculate your potential damages and present the evidence to the jury to secure your settlement.
- The medical bills your spouse incurred because of the accident, prior to his or her death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Costs associated with repairing your spouse’s vehicle or other property damaged in the truck accident
- Pain and suffering that your spouse experienced prior to his or her death
- Lost wages and income that your spouse could have provided if he or she did not die in the truck accident
- Intangible damages, such as the loss of care, consortium, and companionship that you and your family suffered as a result of your spouse’s death
An attorney can help you determine your damages and collect evidence to prove your wrongful death claim. If you have not yet contacted a Seattle personal injury attorney, schedule a consultation as soon as possible.