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Certa Law Group

Seattle Law Office

1455 Northwest Leary Way

Seattle, WA 98107

Phone: (206) 838-2500

Hours of Operation

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Tuesday: 9AM – 5PM
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Friday: 9AM – 5PM

Seattle Wrongful Death Attorney | Certa Law Group

At Certa Law Group, we help the families of wrongful death victims bring the responsible parties to account and get compensation for their pain and suffering.

The sudden death of a family member can turn your whole world upside down.  

In addition to the grief and suffering that come with losing a loved one, you may be facing financial hardship due to unexpected medical and funeral expenses, loss of earnings, and more. 

While we cannot turn back time or make the pain go away, a Seattle wrongful death attorney from Certa Law Group could help you get just compensation.

About Certa Law Group: The Place to Find a Trusted Seattle Wrongful Death Attorney

Certa Law Group is a boutique law firm. Our experienced attorneys, Pellegrino “Pino” Certa and Cheryl Farrish specialize in personal injury law and only represent personal injury victims and their families. Between the two of them, Pino and Cheryl have over 30 years of experience winning maximum compensation for their clients. 

The Certa Law Group attorneys have over 30 years of experience winning maximum compensation for their clients. 

Our practice is based in Edmonds. We work statewide and represent people in various courts in the Seattle area and throughout Washington. We will give you the undivided attention of a powerhouse legal duo supported by a team of brilliant and dedicated paralegals. 

Together, we will ensure that the parties responsible for your loved one’s death are held to account and you get the compensation you deserve.

Wrongful Death Accidents in Washington 

Unfortunately, wrongful death accidents are a fairly common occurrence in our area. 

In Washington state, there were 3,569 deaths caused by preventable or accidental injuries in 2019 alone, making these the fourth most common fatality type after cancer, cardiovascular conditions, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

That said, not all unintentional injury deaths will be considered wrongful. For that, certain legal conditions must be met.

What Qualifies as Wrongful Death? 

While the death of a loved one is never “right,” in legal terms, a wrongful death can only be a fatality caused by the negligence of another person or business. Deaths where no one was at fault are not considered wrongful under personal injury law. 

The vast majority of wrongful deaths in our practice are usually caused by:

  • Motor vehicle accidents – car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents
  • Product liability – defective or malfunctioning products
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect – abuse, malnutrition, infections, and lack of proper care
  • Medical malpractice – surgical, medication, and treatment errors, misdiagnosing a condition, and birth injuries.

Wrongful Death FAQs: What to Know Before Filing a Lawsuit

When clients first come to us in the aftermath of a fatal accident, they are confused, scared, grief-stricken, and overwhelmed – and they have many questions. Below you can find the answers to some common queries we get. 

However, keep in mind that these are for informational purposes only: there is a lot more to personal injury law. Besides, your claim will likely turn on the unique circumstances of the case. To get a detailed and accurate overview of your legal options, consult with a Seattle wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. 

Who May Sue for Wrongful Death in Washington?

According to Washington law, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by the deceased’s:

  • Surviving spouse
  • State-registered domestic partner
  • Child or children 
  • Parents, siblings, or other dependents who were U.S. residents at the time of the death

What Compensation is Available in Wrongful Death Cases?

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to claim compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, including:

  • Medical expenses, such as medical transportation, hospital stay, the cost of any medications and treatments, prosthetists, and mobility devices
  • Funeral, burial, or cremation expenses
  • Loss of earnings
  • Loss of property
  • Loss of companionship
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of marital consortium

How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?

To prove wrongful death in Washington state, you must show the defendant or defendants were negligent. Negligence has three main aspects:

  • The defendant(s) owed the victim a duty of care. A duty of care may arise in a wide array of situations. Drivers, for instance, have a duty to obey traffic rules and protect other drivers and pedestrians. Businesses and healthcare professionals owe a duty of care to their customers and patients, respectively. 
  • The defendant(s) breached that duty due to carelessness or recklessness. A driver that gets behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a business that fails to recall a dangerous product would be breaching their duty of care.
  • The breach of duty was the actual cause of death. This is known as the but-for test, i.e., but for the business failing to recall the product, the victim would not have sustained the injuries that lead to their death.

It is important to note that all three factors must be present to establish wrongful death. So, for example, if the death were not caused by a defective product but by the victim’s failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, there would be no negligence and, by extension, no wrongful death. 

What Happens If the Victim and the Defendant Were Both at Fault?

The events that lead to fatalities are rarely black and white and with only one party to blame. Sometimes, the victims are at fault, too. We call this comparative fault.

Washington is a comparative fault jurisdiction. That means the court will look at whether the deceased played a part in the accident. If the court finds the victim was, say, 20% at fault, the claimants will usually only recover up to 80% of the amount they requested.

Washington is a comparative fault jurisdiction. If the court finds the victim was 20% at fault, the claimants will usually only recover 80% of the amount they requested.

How Much is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth?  

It is hard to say without context. The exact compensation you may get depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The injury type 
  • The age of the deceased
  • The number of beneficiaries 
  • Whether the cause of death is contested
  • Who caused the death and whether they were insured
  • The comparative fault of the defendant and the deceased
  • The expenses and monetary losses incurred after the accident
  • Whether the dispute settles out of court or evolves into a full-blown trial
  • The amount of fear and pain suffered by the victim in the moments leading to their death

The best way to find out how much you may be able to claim in damages is by talking to an experienced wrongful death attorney in Seattle. They can explain your options and advise you on the next steps to take.

Talk to a wrongful death attorney today →

What Types of Insurance May Cover Wrongful Death Compensation?

Depending on the circumstances, some insurance benefits you may be able to claim in a wrongful death case include:

  • Survivor benefits
  • Funeral benefits
  • Business insurance 
  • Umbrella policies
  • Personal insurance coverage
  • Motor vehicle insurance 
  • The defendant’s personal and business assets 
  • The victim’s underinsured or uninsured motorist insurance 

Your attorney will be best placed to advise you on which types of insurance coverage may apply in your case and how to claim them.

What is the Washington Statute of Limitations?

Under Washington law, the deceased’s family has up to three years from the date of death – not from the date of the injury – to file a lawsuit. If they file after that period, the court will most likely refuse to admit the case. 

Under Washington law, the deceased’s family has three years from the date of death – not from the date of the injury – to file a wrongful death claim.

Three years may seem like a long time, but you should not wait until the last minute. The more you wait, the likelier it becomes that important evidence may get destroyed, lost, or simply disappear. You will also be giving the other side more time to prepare their defense. All that could negatively affect the outcome of your lawsuit, even if you file on time.                      

To ensure you do not miss this and any other important deadlines, be sure to consult with a wrongful death lawyer in Seattle as soon as you can after the accident.

Have You Lost a Family Member in a Wrongful Death Accident? Take These 3 Steps Now

You should take these three steps right after the death of a loved one. 

  • Collect all the evidence you can get your hands on. This includes the deceased’s death certificate, as well as any medical and police records, receipts, photographs, or other documentation. 
  • Check the statute of limitations. In Washington, you have three years from the date of death to file a claim. However, the sooner you do so, the better.
  • Talk to a wrongful death lawyer in Seattle. You should talk to a qualified legal professional right away. 

Do You Really Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?

In short, yes. Representing yourself is usually a bad idea. Washington’s wrongful death law is complicated. There are many rules – and multiple exceptions to the rules – that only an experienced legal professional will be able to navigate with confidence. Going it alone will severely decrease your chances of success and getting maximum compensation.

But there is more to it than simply knowing the law. Emotions run high in wrongful death cases. You and your family may find it hard – and even impossible – to remain calm, collected, and objective. Keeping a cool head is a must when dealing with what can be a small army of opposing counsel and insurers whose only job is to minimize the amount of damages you can get. 

How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help

An expert Seattle wrongful accident attorney will know not only the relevant law but also how to counteract the strategies defendants and their insurance companies use to lessen or dodge compensation payouts altogether.

An expert wrongful accident attorney knows how to counteract the strategies defendants and their insurance companies use to dodge compensation payouts.

A qualified lawyer can also help you present your arguments in the best light and ensure you get the highest possible compensation.

Why Choose Certa Law Group?

If you are considering a wrongful death claim, you do not want just any lawyer by your side. The stakes are too high – the financial future of your family may be on the line.

What you do want is an experienced Seattle wrongful death attorney who knows the ins and outs of personal injury and wrongful death law and the Washington legal system. 

Our Certa Law Group lawyers have over three decades of combined experience in successfully handling wrongful death suits. We appreciate the uniquely challenging position you are in and will always treat you with understanding and compassion while aggressively pursuing the highest possible settlement. 

Need a Seattle Wrongful Death Attorney?

We at Certa Law Group can help. 

We cannot bring your loved one back. However, we will use our legal expertise to hold the responsible party to account and make sure that you and your family get the compensation you deserve. 

Get a free case evaluation today.