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Seattle Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

'Survival actions vs. 'wrongful death' in Seattle

The death of a loved one in an accident can take quite a toll on a Seattle family. The sudden absence of a husband, wife, child or parent can mean great emotional and mental suffering, as well as potential economic problems caused by the loss of an income or medical costs associated with attempting to save the individual's life. When such a death is caused by the negligence of someone else, and thus may have been preventable, the effects can be even more pronounced.

In Washington State, there are statutory legal grounds that families can use to potentially recover compensation when a loved one is killed by another's carelessness. However, those contemplating such a course should understand that there are two main ways of pursuing such a course. One is through a wrongful death lawsuit, and the other is through the use of a so-called 'survival action.'

Suspect in fatal hit-and-run arrested

Readers of this blog know that Washington state law provides that those who are injured in a car accident can recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit if the accident was caused by another driver's negligence. In the case of a fatal accident, the immediate family may be compensated for their damages through a lawsuit based on the legal theory of wrongful death.

But what happens if the injured or their family members can't find the negligent driver? In other words, what happens in the case of a hit-and-run?

How motorcyclists are vulnerable on the roads

A previous post here discussed how to proceed following a motorcycle accident. It is important to understand the common causes for motorcycle accidents and what dangers motorcyclists may encounter that are less likely to affect most drivers of cars and trucks on the roads.

What is "comparative negligence" in a Seattle car wreck?

Previous posts here have discussed the basics of negligence and the elements that are usually necessary to prove in order to recover from a liable party in a personal injury lawsuit resulting from a car accident. Our readers may remember that the final element in this list is usually that of damages. That is, the plaintiff must be able to show what injuries were caused by the defendant's negligence, and that te plaintiff has suffered some loss due to the injuries. If the remainder of the case is proved, the amount of damages just needs to be calculated and the verdict rendered.

However, there are some potential roadblocks to collecting damages in a civil negligence lawsuit. We previously discussed mitigation, and how plaintiffs are supposed to take action to ensure that their injuries or other damages do not get worse than they have to be. However, there is another, potentially more impactful, doctrine that can affect the amount of damages a plaintiff may receive in Washington.

How do you begin a lawsuit in a Seattle motorcycle accident?

Previous posts here have discussed some of the basics of the law with regard to people who have been injured in motorcycle accidents in the greater Seattle area. Previous posts have touched on the theory of negligence, and the elements that are usually required to create a case that an individual's injuries were caused by someone else's carelessness. When this can be shown to the satisfaction of a judge or jury, the individual who was injured may be entitled to payments in compensation for injuries.

Before a lawsuit gets to that point, however, and even before settlement discussions are had with the other party, a formal lawsuit must be lodged with the proper legal authority. In this post, we will look at the procedural process of the beginning of a civil lawsuit in order to better understand how such actions wind their way through the judicial system.

Are "non-economic damages" capped in a fatal accident?

A previous post here discussed the difference between "economic" and "non-economic" damages in relation to civil actions for personal injury and wrongful death. Our readers in Seattle might remember that economic damages refer to relatively objectively quantifiable injury, such as recovery for medical costs associated with an accident, or actual lost wages due to inability to work as a result of the injury. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to more subjective claims, such as compensation for pain and suffering, or loss of companionship or consortium.

Washington, like many states, places a statutory limit, or "cap," on the amount of non-economic damages a plaintiff can receive based upon a fatal accident. This limit is found by multiplying the constant .43 by the life expectancy and average annual wage of the victim. Included under this cap are so-called "derivative" claims, such as loss of consortium, destruction of a parent-child relationship or loss of companionship. These claims are derivative because they are lodged by people other than the injured party. The statute specifies that the life expectancy is to be determined by using the actuarial tables published by the state's commission on insurance, but shall be no less than 15 years.

Seattle can be dangerous for older pedestrians

Seattle is an amazing city in many ways. It has major sports franchises, beautiful scenery, waterfronts and outdoor activities within a close proximity, and is known for its environmental consciousness. One way that many of the city's residents demonstrate this dedication to ecological health is by walking to their destinations instead of driving vehicles with internal combustion engines which burn fossil fuels whose by-products contribute to air pollution and climate change. Sometimes, this dedication comes at a price, however, because while many people walk, there are still a great number of vehicles on the roads that can pose a threat to pedestrians.

Recently, a 78-year-old woman was injured when she was struck by a car on Ranier Avenue. According to police, she was crossing the street in a crosswalk when a Lincoln Town Car making a turn hit her. The woman was sent to the hospital, where it was reported her injures were life-threatening. The man who hit her, aged 35, was evaluated by authorities at the scene of the accident, but was not found to be under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

Wildfire smoke choking Washington communities

air quality.pngFrom Bellingham to Vancouver, in Seattle and Everett, and even as far east as Spokane, Washington's air quality is currently the worst in the United States. We are literally being choked by the smoke from Canadian wildfires. The air quality is so bad that it's not just sensitive groups who are affected. Everyone is suffering adverse effects from the thick layer of smoke covering our state.

Defending the rights of ordinary people since 1998

_MG_0037.jpgI am a personal injury lawyer. I say it proudly. For more than 20 years I have defended the rights of ordinary people against big insurance companies, big corporations, and big government. In many cases, I am the only resource a person has to get justice following a loss. I represent honest people in an honest way, and I make sure that the truth is not twisted to deny my clients fair compensation for their losses.

Macklemore involved in head-on crash with drunk driver

macklemore.pngAny time you use the roads, you place your safety in the hands of other drivers. No matter how careful you are, you can't control the actions of everyone else on the road. Drunk drivers create a hazard for all of us. Not even celebrities are immune from the danagers of drunk drivers.

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