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The basic elements of wrongful death

The world can present a lot of dangers to humans. Humans are quite fragile without certain protections. While car companies try to make motor vehicles safer, people are still put at risk when they get behind the wheel. Truck accidents, pedestrian accidents and other fatal motor vehicle accidents are frequent and devastating.

When facing the loss of a loved one, people may not know how to react. However, Seattle residents should understand that they may have the right to file a wrongful death suit. A wrongful death suit can help to compensate the families of fatal car accidents.

In order to file a wrongful death suit, four elements must be met. First, there must be a human death. Second, the person's death must have been caused by the negligence of another. This can be the negligence of a company -- such as a truck company -- or an individual, like another driver. In some cases, intentional harm can be substituted for the negligence requirement.

Third, the family of the person killed must have suffered financially. This means that the family must have suffered actual damages as a result of the person's death. This could be from funeral costs, lost wages, medical expenses before a person died or other similar costs.

Finally, a personal representative must be appointed to the decedent's estate. This person is responsible for bringing the wrongful death suit against the negligent party.

In many cases, the family is often very emotional following their loss. Therefore, they may not be in the best place to handle the legal technicalities associated with a wrongful death suit. Instead, an attorney can handle these issues so that the family can focus on their own healing.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Wrongful Death Overview," accessed Dec. 15, 2014

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