If you recently lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence, you might be able to recover damages by filing a wrongful death claim. Your first step will be to talk to a wrongful death attorney to determine if your case meets all the required elements. For an established wrongful death firm that provides top-notch counsel in Oregon and Washington, contact Willis & Toews, PLLC, for a free consultation.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
Our firm has a passion for helping grieving families throughout Washington and Oregon pursue justice and restitution when they’ve lost loved ones because of someone else’s carelessness or negligent actions. We can assist with any accident, including the examples below.
- Auto accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Dog attacks
- Slip and fall accidents
- Work-related and industrial accidents where someone besides the employer or a fellow employee contributed to the injury
- Defective products or parts
- Accidents on commercial or private premises, such as building fires, roof collapses, etc.
Elements Required in a Wrongful Death Claim
Not all deaths justify a wrongful death claim. There are specific elements that must be present, including the four listed below.
- Duty of care – You must be able to show the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care. For instance, manufacturers owe their customers a duty to produce safe products.
- Breach of duty – You then must show the defendant somehow breached their duty, i.e., acted in an unreasonably negligent or careless manner. Following the above example, you might have to show that the product was defective or dangerous (and the manufacturer knew or should have known about it).
- Causation – Next, you’ll need to show that negligence was the direct cause of your loved one’s death, e.g., the defective product caused your loved one fatal harm.
- Damages – You’ll need to be able to show that you suffered financial damages in order to collect restitution. In other words, your loved one’s death must have caused actual and provable losses.
Types of Damages to Which You May Be Entitled
There are numerous compensable damages in a wrongful death claim. Below are a few examples.
- Medical bills your loved one accrued prior to death
- Wages and benefits you’ve lost as a result of your loved one’s passing, including future losses
- Funeral expenses
- The pain and suffering your loved one underwent prior to death
- Loss of care, companionship, advice, counsel and other intangible losses that you’ve suffered
- Emotional damages you’ve sustained because of your loved one’s death
In Oregon, punitive damages may be available to punish the defendant for blatant or severe negligence. You’ll want to consult a local wrongful death attorney to calculate the value of your claim and to help collect the evidence to substantiate your case.
Being Conscientious of Time Limits on Wrongful Death Claims
Every state provides time limits or statutes of limitation on wrongful death claims. You’ll need to begin taking legal action before the time expires, or you’ll forfeit rights to compensation. Therefore, it’s important to move forward quickly. First, if you wait too long, evidence might be lost or destroyed. Also, any unexpected bumps in the road potentially could stall your case and cause you to overstep time limits. Plus, the sooner you file, the sooner you can obtain the settlement monies you and your family need and deserve.
For more information, call our wrongful death lawyers today at 509-529-0908.