If a person passes away because of an injury, his or her survivors and a Wrongful Death Attorney in Tacoma can often bring a lawsuit. There’s another legal case as well, referred to as a survival action, and there are significant differences between the two. The laws of the state govern both actions, and these laws authorize the types of damages to be given to the deceased person’s estate. While wrongful death laws allow the person’s estate to receive damages, survival laws allow the estate to receive what the person would have gotten if they did not pass away.
Wrongful Death Claims
Even though the state’s laws govern these lawsuits, every jurisdiction has its own procedures. However, there are several common issues.
- Who can file a claim on the estate’s behalf
- How one is appointed as an estate representative
- What kind of damages are available in wrongful death cases
Who May File on the Deceased Person’s Behalf?
The estate representative will file the wrongful death claim and, in most cases, the representative is a close relative such as a parent, child, or spouse. Generally, the person’s family agrees on the appointment, but if the person didn’t leave a will or there are family issues, an agreement may not be attainable. In such cases, disputes are resolved by court action.
Appointment of the Estate Representative
The estate representative is appointed by the court handling estates and wills, commonly referred to as probate court. If someone objects to the appointment of a particular person, the court holds a hearing and decides who should represent the deceased person’s interests.
Damages available in wrongful death cases differ by jurisdiction, but they are generally financial and awarded to the estate beneficiaries such as spouses and children. The primary type of damages is the loss of support for dependents for the period into the future where the deceased would have provided support.
Current survival laws allow the estate to receive damages incurred by the deceased from the time of the injury until death. These damages can include those for pain and suffering as well as lost earnings. However, if the deceased person died immediately, the Wrongful Death Attorney in Tacoma would only be able to fight for provable damages for pain and suffering.