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Washington Wrongful Death Lawyer

Washington wrongful death lawyer

Losing a loved one is one of the most painful experiences anyone can endure. The grief and emotional turmoil can be overwhelming, especially when the loss is sudden and unexpected. If you believe someone else’s negligence or misconduct caused your loved one’s death, you might have a wrongful death claim. At D’Amore Law Group, our Washington wrongful death lawyers understand the complexities and sensitivities involved in wrongful death cases. We are here to provide the compassionate and knowledgeable support you need during this challenging time.

Understanding Wrongful Death in Washington

A wrongful death occurs when the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another causes a person’s death. Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 4.20.010 governs wrongful death claims in Washington state. This statute allows the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party. Essentially, a wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim, but since the injured party cannot bring the claim themselves, it is brought by their estate.

Not all deaths are wrongful, so it is a good idea to consult a wrongful death lawyer in Washington who can help you understand the strengths of your case. Several elements must be present to have a valid wrongful death case in Washington.

Duty of Care

The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased, which means they had a legal obligation to act in a particular manner to prevent harm.

Breach of Duty

The defendant breached that duty through negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. This breach can take many forms, such as a driver running a red light or a doctor failing to diagnose a serious condition.


The breach of duty directly caused the death of the deceased. The party claiming wrongful death must show that the defendant’s actions (or lack of actions) were a significant factor in the death.


The death resulted in quantifiable damages, such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, and loss of companionship. These damages can be both economic and non-economic.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Washington?

In Washington, the wrongful death statute specifies who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Generally, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate must file the claim. The deceased’s will typically names this representative. If there is no will, the court may appoint a personal representative. 

The following individuals may be eligible to benefit from a wrongful death claim:

  • Spouse or domestic partner. The surviving spouse or registered domestic partner has primary standing to file a claim.
  • Children or stepchildren. The deceased’s children, including biological and legally adopted children, can be beneficiaries.
  • Parents or siblings. If no spouse, domestic partner, or children exist, the deceased’s parents or siblings may be eligible to file the claim. This often applies if the deceased was a minor or had no direct descendants.

Understanding who can legally file a wrongful death claim can be complicated, but it helps ensure that the right parties seek justice and compensation for their loss. Your wrongful death attorney in Washington can help determine if you or another family member is best suited to file the claim.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Washington

The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Washington is generally three years from the date of the deceased person’s death, as stipulated in RCW 4.16.080. This time limit ensures that cases are brought to court within a reasonable timeframe, allowing for evidence preservation and witnesses’ availability. It also provides a sense of legal closure and certainty for all parties involved. Failing to file a claim within this period typically results in the forfeiture of the right to pursue legal action, making it crucial to act promptly.

Benefits of Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim

Filing a wrongful death claim can provide several benefits during this difficult time. First and foremost, it can offer financial relief. You may receive compensation for medical expenses incurred before death, funeral and burial costs, loss of income, and loss of future earnings. This financial support can help alleviate the economic burden that often accompanies losing a loved one.

Additionally, bringing a wrongful death claim can provide a sense of justice and accountability. Holding the responsible party accountable for their actions can bring some measure of closure and help prevent similar tragedies in the future. It also emphasizes the value of your loved one’s life and the impact of their loss on your family.

Compensation in a wrongful death claim can vary based on the circumstances but may include:

  • Economic damages—tangible financial losses such as medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost wages;
  • Noneconomic damages—encompass intangible losses like pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress; and
  • Punitive damages—in cases of gross negligence or intentional harm, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter future misconduct.

There are a lot of factors that go into determining how much you can collect for wrongful death, including your relationship to the decedent and dependency on them both financially and otherwise. It is important to work with an experienced Washington wrongful death lawyer who can help you determine the actual value of your claim. 

Why You Should Hire a Washington Wrongful Death Lawyer

Navigating a wrongful death claim can be complex and emotionally draining. Hiring a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer in Washington can provide several advantages. An experienced attorney understands the legal intricacies and can guide you through the process, ensuring you meet and observe all legal requirements and deadlines.

A lawyer will thoroughly investigate to gather evidence and build a strong case. Evidence includes collecting medical records, police reports, witness statements, and expert testimonies. By meticulously assembling the necessary evidence, your attorney can establish a clear link between the defendant’s actions and your loved one’s death.

Attorneys are also skilled negotiators who can handle discussions with insurance companies and opposing parties to secure a fair settlement. Insurance companies often attempt to minimize payouts, but a dedicated lawyer will advocate for your best interests and strive to obtain the compensation you deserve.

If your case goes to trial, having a dedicated Washington wrongful death lawyer to represent your interests is crucial. They will present a compelling case on your behalf to achieve a favorable outcome. The legal system can be daunting, but with the support of an experienced attorney, you can navigate it more confidently and effectively.

Reach Out to D’Amore Law Group

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, it’s crucial to consult with a compassionate and experienced Washington wrongful death lawyer. At D’Amore Law Group, we are committed to providing the support and legal representation you need during this challenging time. We will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, and let us help you navigate this difficult journey.

Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse

Experiencing sexual abuse or knowing someone who has endured it is profoundly traumatic. The journey to healing is complex, and part of this journey may involve seeking justice through the legal system. Understanding the statute of limitations on sexual abuse is crucial in determining whether you can pursue legal action. This blog aims to provide compassionate and informative guidance on this critical topic.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse?

The statute of limitations for sexual abuse refers to the legally defined time within which a survivor can file a lawsuit against the perpetrator or responsible parties. These statutes ensure that cases are brought to court while evidence is still fresh and provide a sense of closure for both plaintiffs and defendants. However, due to the unique nature of sexual abuse and the challenges survivors face in coming forward, many jurisdictions have recently expanded or eliminated these limitations to offer survivors more time to seek justice.

Why Sexual Abuse Statutes of Limitations Exist

Statutes of limitations help ensure that evidence remains intact and reliable over time, which is critical for a fair trial. These time limits provide a degree of certainty for both parties, encouraging timely resolution of claims. They also prevent the indefinite threat of legal action, which could unfairly burden individuals and institutions.

Expanded Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Cases

Recognizing the unique circumstances of sexual abuse, many jurisdictions have extended or abolished the statute of limitations for these cases. This change acknowledges several key factors.

Delayed Reporting

Survivors often need time to process the abuse and may not be ready to report it immediately. Extended statutes allow them to come forward when they are ready.

Childhood Trauma

Children may not understand or be able to report abuse until they are older. Many laws now account for this by starting the clock on the statute of limitations once the survivor reaches a certain age, typically 18 or 21.

Discovery Rule

Some jurisdictions implement the “discovery rule,” which allows the statute of limitations to begin when the survivor becomes aware of the abuse and its impact rather than when the abuse occurred.

Differences Between Civil and Criminal Cases

Understanding the difference between civil and criminal cases is vital for survivors considering legal action. D’Amore Law Group focuses on civil cases, which offer survivors a path to seek compensation and hold perpetrators accountable.

Civil Cases

The survivor initiates civil cases to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, therapy costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The key aspects of civil cases include:

  • Purpose. The primary goal is to compensate the survivor for their losses and to hold the perpetrator or other responsible parties accountable.
  • Statute of limitations. The statute of limitations on sexual abuse in civil cases varies by state. Some states have extended or removed these limits, allowing survivors more time to seek justice.
  • Compensation. Civil cases can result in monetary compensation to help the survivor recover financially and emotionally. This compensation can cover therapy, medical treatments, lost income, and other related expenses.
  • Lower burden of proof. In civil cases, the burden of proof is “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning it is more likely than not that the abuse occurred. This is a lower standard than in criminal cases.

Sexual abuse survivors have the option to bring a civil case against their abusers but are not required to. A civil case is not dependent on the results of a criminal case. 

Criminal Cases

The state pursues criminal cases to punish the perpetrator. These cases can result in imprisonment, fines, or other penalties. Key aspects include:

  • Purpose. The primary goal is to punish the perpetrator and protect society.
  • Statute of limitations. Criminal statutes of limitations vary by state and the severity of the crime. Some states have no statute of limitations for severe crimes like child sexual abuse.
  • Compensation. Criminal cases do not directly compensate the survivor but may include restitution.

In many instances, both criminal and civil cases are appropriate. Your attorney can help you understand the nuances of the court system as well as the strength of your case. 

Why Pursue Justice Through the Legal System?

Taking legal action can be an essential part of the healing process for many survivors. Here are some reasons to consider pursuing justice through civil action.


One of the primary reasons to pursue justice through the legal system is to hold the perpetrator accountable. By bringing a civil case, you can ensure that the person who caused you harm faces the consequences of their actions. Civil cases can also extend to institutions or organizations that may have been negligent in preventing the abuse. Accountability not only brings a sense of justice to the survivor but also helps to prevent further abuse by highlighting systemic issues and encouraging institutions to adopt better safeguards.


Financial compensation is a crucial aspect of civil cases. Survivors of sexual abuse often face significant expenses related to medical treatments, therapy, and other forms of support needed for recovery. Compensation from a civil lawsuit can help cover these costs, providing essential resources for healing. Additionally, financial awards can compensate for lost wages if the abuse affects the survivor’s ability to work. This compensation is not just about money; it’s about helping survivors rebuild their lives and regain stability.


The process of taking legal action can be empowering for survivors. It provides an opportunity to reclaim control over their lives and narratives. By standing up and pursuing justice, survivors can experience a sense of empowerment and closure. Legal action allows survivors to have their voices heard, often for the first time in a public or formal setting, which can be a critical step in the healing process. This empowerment can help mitigate the feelings of helplessness and powerlessness that often accompany experiences of abuse.

Awareness and Prevention

Pursuing justice through the legal system can have broader societal impacts by raising awareness about sexual abuse. Legal cases, especially those that receive public attention, can highlight the prevalence of abuse and the importance of addressing it. This can lead to increased public awareness, changes in laws and policies, and the implementation of preventive measures. By holding perpetrators and negligent institutions accountable, legal action can contribute to a safer environment for others, potentially preventing future abuse.

Seeking Legal Advice

Even if you are unsure whether the statute of limitations on sexual abuse has expired, it is crucial to reach out to an experienced attorney. Legal professionals can thoroughly assess your case and guide you through the complex legal landscape. They can help you understand your rights, explore your options, and take the necessary steps to seek justice and compensation.

Contact D’Amore Law Group

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse, contact D’Amore Law Group. Our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys are dedicated to helping survivors navigate their legal options and pursue justice. Don’t let uncertainty about the statute of limitations on sexual abuse deter you from seeking the justice and compensation you deserve.

For personalized and confidential legal advice, contact D’Amore Law Group today. We are here to support you every step of the way.


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