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If your family recently suffered the loss of a loved one in an accident, the sense of helplessness might be overwhelming. Although there is no cure for grief, acting with an injury attorney to hold the negligent parties responsible for the fatal accident could provide you with the financial compensation you need to get through this challenging time.

A Tacoma wrongful death lawyer could explain how to hold these parties accountable for paying monetary damages. While no amount of money will eliminate your suffering, it could provide your family the financial security to move past the tragedy and build the lives your loved one would have wanted.

Wrongful Death Claims Explained

A fatality would be considered wrongful, under the law, if it was caused by someone’s careless, reckless, or criminal acts. A wrongful death action is a civil proceeding that results in an award of damages or financial compensation. There are no criminal penalties attached to liability in a wrongful death case.

In a wrongful death claim, the surviving family members must prove that the defendant’s conduct caused the accident that killed their loved one. The behavior does not need to be criminal to be negligent; the family only needs to demonstrate that the defendant did not exercise reasonable care and that this lack of care led to the decedent’s death.

Wrongful death actions often result from motor vehicle accidents and violence, but other situations could merit bringing one of these lawsuits. Discussing the circumstances of a loved one’s untimely death with a compassionate Tacoma attorney could bring clarity about whether a lawsuit is appropriate in their specific case.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death actions can be complex because the person who brings the lawsuit might not be the only person who benefits from the settlement or award. A decedent’s personal representative is the person who files a wrongful death lawsuit seeking damages. The decedent’s beneficiaries are the people who have a legal right to a portion of the estate, based on the details of a will.

Determining the Personal Representative

The decedent’s spouse or registered domestic partner is typically the personal representative in a wrongful death action. A decedent’s child or stepchild could take on the role if no spouse or domestic partner survives the decedent. If an adult decedent did not leave behind a spouse, domestic partner, child, or stepchild, the late plaintiff’s parent or sibling could be the decedent’s personal representative.

If a child dies in an accident, either or both parents could bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The relationship between the parents is not relevant; they could be married, divorced, or never previously married. However, if a parent never contributed to a child’s support, that parent is ineligible to file a wrongful death claim. A knowledgeable lawyer in Tacoma could help a family determine exactly who could file a wrongful death claim since this can be one of the most challenging aspects of a case.

Trust Your Case to a Tacoma Wrongful Death Attorney

A traumatic, unexpected death in the family is always a devastating blow. If someone’s negligent or criminal acts led to the loss, your family might suffer even more deeply.

Holding the responsible parties accountable could provide a measure of emotional relief, and monetary damages could provide your family the financial means needed to move forward. Contact a Tacoma wrongful death lawyer today to speak with a compassionate team member about the loss of your loved one.